Everfest and Fest300 have crafted a crucial guide for festival-creators and attendees alike in the form of a ranking list called the Fest300. While the list is useful, we have to ask, what does it mean to craft a truly unique experience in an era that feels seemingly inundated with festivals promising the best time possible?
We sat down with Eamon Armstrong, who attends festivals on behalf of Everfest, across the globe to find the best events to make it on the list, to learn about what stands out for him in festivals, and how we can all seek to find the best events for our time and money.
Banner Photo credit: Jakob Kolar
When I decide to attend a new festival, it's because its reputation has preceded it. The most exceptional events have been lovingly curated over many years and have grown into something truly spectacular. Indeed, the great thing about an annual gathering is that it can be iterated upon over time via a positive feedback loop between producers and attendees. These days I prefer smaller, participatory gatherings that give me the best opportunity to connect with exciting new people. While I would never trash a party that invites me and so I only give negative feedback privately. When asked to share what makes an event epic, I judge according to the following criteria:
I personally love to festival outdoors. It doesn’t matter if it’s the dusty desert, a steamy jungle, or the rolling hills of the English countryside – a prime locale and how it is framed by the production team creates a template for an immersive wonderland.
What my friend Tyler Hansen of Kulturehaus calls “2am Gold.” I love to lose myself in wacky, weird, immersive art performances that come alive, break down barriers to connection and give permission for spontaneous play.
I’m so lucky that I've gotten to abroad. If you have the opportunity, it is a treasured experience. Celebrate with another culture- you will fall in love.
At the end of the day, we pay for an experience, and these experiences cost more and more. As much as I love a rockstar headliner, good production value requires balance. Attention to detail from marketing to safety to exodus really makes it worth a hefty spend.
The very best festivals are those that foster a year-round community and give their attendees the joy of belonging to something bigger than themselves. I’ve personally found that gatherings which encourage value-driven partying and codes of principles create the strongest communities. Whether we’re ShipFam or Shambhalovelies, when we strive to create a utopian ideal together for just one weekend out of the year, we feel a sense of belonging that lasts beyond the festival.
More information about Everfest can be found here.