In last decade, music festivals have grown into a major moneymaker in a competitive industry that sees hundreds of such events each year in the U.S. There are the big ones, like Coachella, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, Summerfest, Spring Awakening— all with big-ticket prices, multiple stages, camping options and tons of performers.
The origins of music festivals date back to ancient Greece, where such events often involved competitions in music, arts and sports. Modern music festivals in the U.S. grew out of the establishment and ethos of Woodstock. Though it was not the first event of its kind (the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals, Milwaukee’s Summerfest and the Monterey Pop Festival predate Woodstock), the 1969 event holds a mythical place within American pop-cultural history. Festivals have since evolved from the DIY, communal spirit of Woodstock, growing into mainstream businesses that reap profits and embrace corporate sponsorships, as more than 32 million people attend them each year, according to Billboard.
Here are some photos of my experiences at just a few of the many festivals accessible from my otherwise uneventful home in the midwest.