Festivals have always held a special place in people’s hearts. All over the world they bring the numbers in to revel in the fun times. Even in Texas (despite being seemingly reviled throughout the internet) people flock here by the thousands whenever they get the chance. And why not? People are friendly, prices are reasonable and there’s always something going on. In fact, here in Austin there’s a new, spiffy racetrack that folks have taken a shine to, plus we have a few get togethers throughout the year that regularly draw international crowds. Two of the largest, South by Southwest (SXSW) and Austin City Limits (ACL) take place during the Spring and Fall, respectively. It just so happens that ACL starts this weekend. It’s widely considered one of the largest music fests in the US and will no doubt bring in a smegload of money for the city during its two weekend run. So, the questions posed are as followed: Am I excited? Not really. What good does it do me as a local? Nothing. Do I always ask myself questions like this? Sometimes.
It just so happens that the band that sings my all-time favorite song will be at ACL Fest this year. Seriously. It’s like the coolest song ever. Anyway, they’re going to be there and will I be able to fulfill a lifelong dream by being able to see them live? NO. That’s because in order to see the high profile bands, you need a wristband which costs a ridiculous amount of money. No matter how long I’ve loved this song, it’s not worth me spending an electric + water bill payment to see them perform it live. Sorry. I can’t do it. Why do they do this to people? It has gotten progressively worse for an individual such as myself over the last few years. About five to ten years ago, I could go to either SXSW or ACL and see all the cool bands for around a $100. That is certainly not the case anymore. Someone has figured out they can charge whatever they want and some (hipster) will pay it. I’m not entirely sure it’s the city of Austin, but someone has cornered this market and is running with it. How many other cities have done this? My guess is a lot.
Anyhoo, it’s always a boon to the local economy, but is there a long term payoff for the short term pain that the festival is in town? Maybe we don’t always see it, but it’s there. Everything from parks and trails to keeping up city buildings and roads, the money is put to good use. But, the real question is does benefit the local consumer? Specifically, does it help YOU put money in your pocket having these festivals in town? Sure, it might raise your property value as a homeowner living in a desirable area, but it also raises property taxes, so those would offset each other. So, yeah, no real help there. There’s also quadruple traffic and longer wait times at every restaurant downtown. I don’t even venture towards that part of town when I know there’s something big going on. So I would say, no, it doesn’t help the individual per say. It helps the community but I don’t think it does much good for the local resident in immediate terms. But I do admit over the long term however, it could be a great help. If the festivals are a success then, over time, it can greatly affect the value of your home. The more people that want to be in your area, the more people will want to buy your property. Cool beans. If that’s the case, I should be set. Totally.
What do you think about Festivals in your local area? Yea or Nay?