The Personal Touch: How Musicians Choose Their Festivals

Have you ever wondered how musicians choose their music festivals? There are so many organizations that want famous musicians to play at their venues. For Sufjan Stevens, it took him eight years to finally respond to a request to play at the End of the Road festival in London. But what was unusual is that this request came in the form of a handwritten letter from the founders of the festival, Sofia Hagberg and Simon Taffe. This single sheet of paper was handwritten with a pen and was only 10 lines long. The letter is an invitation to Stevens for him to perform at the End of the Road festival. It also indicates that the festival is an intimate occasion set in the beautiful Victorian pleasure gardens, which have parrots and peacocks moving freely all around. Now eight years later he is ready to play there after giving the following response, “Better late than never.”
Stevens is not known for playing festivals, which is likely the reason why he didn’t initially respond to the letter. Many artists don’t play festivals because they feel their music will get lost amongst the large crowds and the variety of other bands playing at the same festival. There is no personal association with the festival like there is with concerts that are exclusive to one band. Of course, some bands don’t care about this and just consider festivals something to add to their touring schedule. For awhile, Stevens was thought to be this way but it looks like he is going to play the End of the Road festival after all.
Musicians are all different and that is a good thing. Sometimes their views and ways of doing things will change over time. It is just a part of getting older and realizing that their fans want to see them play anywhere. Stevens probably came to the conclusion that people would go to the festival just to see him, which would be a great honor for any musician who has people devoted to their music that much.
If there is a lesson to be learned from Stevens’ story with the festival, it is that festival operators and owners should not be afraid to ask musicians to play at their festival. It doesn’t matter how cynical you are about the musician because they will likely change their mind after enough time has passed. Either that or they could respond right away and accept your invitation. All you have to do is put forth the effort and ask them.

Published by NoisyP

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