Binge-worthy Music Festival Movies


Joanne Elves

Like any season from ski season, golf season, baseball, football…any of them, any aficionado gets itchy feet as the season comes closer. So, it’s no surprise that festival lovers are anticipating the season. Who will be on the line-up at your favourite festival? Only the organizers and the singer’s agents know for sure.

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Until the artists are booked, and the posters are printed we are stuck in limbo. But that doesn’t mean we can’t relive the heady days of festivals of the past? Get out the bucket of popcorn, sprinkle on the flavouring of your choice and of course, get the bucket of brews too. We’ve got a line up of the top five festival movies to binge watch here.

Woodstock is 50 years old this summer

It was 1969 in the Catskill Mountains of New York where a dairy farmer said it would be okay to have a music festival on his land. It was perfectly shaped to have the audience sit on a gently sloping hill to look down to a pond for a backdrop for the stage. The festival organizers told the farmer they expected 50,000 people.

But as Joni Mitchell sang a year later; “By the time we got to Woodstock, We were half a million strong.” Just under 200,000 advanced tickets were sold but every hippy heard about the event and descended on Max Yasgur’s farm. The fences and security could not stop the masses that poured in and so did the rain. It was a mess of mud, drugs, alcohol and more drugs. The greatest names in rock music rolled across the stage at every hour of the day. By the time the three-day event wrapped, the landowner oddly was not bitter. He was quoted as saying it was a victory of peace and love.

In 1970, the Woodstock documentary won awards for everything right up to a few Academy Awards. Many other movies and documentaries were made. Our favourite clips from the event found on You-tube are below.

Jefferson Airplane band members were obviously exhausted when they hit the stage at 8:00 am on Sunday morning but Grace Slick is amazing no matter what.

Jimi Hendrix playing The Star Spangled Banner was the wildest metal-mash of the anthem ever but the crowds and the fans still love it 50 years later. See if you can sit through all four minutes.

If you can find the entire Woodstock documentary, enjoy the time travel.

Summer solstice and burning a man

Let’s set the stage. Somewhere on a beach near San Francisco 33 years ago, a few friends started a bonfire ritual on summer solstice. They burnt a 2.5 metre-tall wooden man as a spontaneous act of “radical self-expression” and the Burning Man Festival was born. It has gone through variations and shifts of venues but now it is annually held in the Black Rock Desert and the city of Burning Man pops up with a crowd capped at 70,000. Each year, the nine-day gathering is all about ten principles expressed in art, communal efforts and self-expression. And no money. Serious. You bring in what you need to survive on, use, or trade. Then take it all when you leave. It’s definitely not for everyone. Especially those who hate dust.

The festival hoax

We saw the build-up for this festival for months and from the get-go, we had doubts.  It was billed as a luxury music festival where the who’s who of arts and entertainment would perform on a private island in the Bahamas. Social Media influencers including the Kardashian family were hired to promote the event, models danced all over the pink beaches of the Bahamas in the ads. Businesses and festival goers tossed money at the promotors to secure their participation in the event.

Party-goers had no idea that the event was failing from day one. Those that actually got to the island of Exumas were met with basically nothing that was advertised – and rain. Only one local band played while partiers fought for tents to sleep in. By morning, people were heading back to Miami – probably to find a lawyer.

Documentaries were made about the failed event. Check out Netflix for Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

Every April 1st, WestJet does an April fools joke and this year it’s a hoax of the hoax. Take a look…

Let’s step away from reality into Wayne’s World

Remember Wayne’s World 2? It vaguely resembles a combination of Burning Man and Fyre. The dream concert is set in a desert and bands don’t show up. Weird coincidence considering it was released in 1993. You could say the 95-minute-long movie broke even. The budget was $40 million, and it brought in $48 million at the box office. But like many cult films, its after the run in the theatre when it makes its full impact.

Sit back and see if you can count all the movie stars and musicians that are featured in the film. Everyone from Drew Barrymore to Charlton Heston, to Steven Tyler and the entire Aerosmith crew are featured.

Honourable Mention

Don’t end the binge-fest without considering Gimme Shelter about the Rolling Stones’ concert that went very wrong. Seriously…who would ever dream of hiring a biker gang to do security?

Inspired to head out to your favourite festival? Share this page with your friends!

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