Live streaming music festivals: the new norm


In April, Coachella kicked off the 2022 music festival season successfully with a sold out crowd in attendance. This is the first year that large outdoor gatherings will be “back to normal” since pre-Covid.

 In 2020 everything was canceled, and in 2021 not all of the annual festivals were back. As covid-19 rates decrease and mandates are removed from daily life, the question arises: are music festivals back to normal?

The answer is yes and no. 

Last year, Coachella was streamed for free on YouTube, and honestly it seemed like a much better option than attending in person. From the comfort of their home, viewers could watch acts who played at the same time, and they could re-watch a set from their favorite musician or musical group as much as they wanted for the following 24 hours. 

Music fans who did attend had to deal with the scorching sun, the usual price gouging for foods and drinks, and if two artists/bands were playing at the same time you had to make the tough decision on which to see and which to miss.

Attending concerts live in person definitely isn’t going away, but live streaming concerts and music festivals will be a new alternative for people that don’t want to or can’t attend in person. For me, I’m leaning towards the latter over the former.

As music lover, I’ve attended Vans Warped Tour, Bumbershoot, Taste of Chaos, Summer Camp Music Festival, Pitchfork Music Festival,  Broccoli City Festival, Riot Fest, North Coast Music Festival, Robot Mosh Fest, Identity Festival, and 50 plus other concerts in the Chicagoland area.

I love live music because the atmosphere and energy at them is unlike anything else. 

I had just finished sixth grade and my dad bought me tickets to my first ever concert; the Pop Disaster tour with Green Day and Blink-182 headlining. That experience left such a good impression on me that for the next ten years I saved and spent the majority of the money I made at my summer jobs on concerts and band t-shirts. Concerts were reasonably priced and I was able to take the blue line “L” into Chicago at least once a month with my group of friends.

Now, those days are gone. Over the past ten years, circumstances have changed drastically. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still tons of awesome artists and bands performing that I’d love to see, but realistically, I’m not able to attend everything I want to anymore. 

The costs of attending live shows are slowly outweighing the positives, so when I learned I was able to watch this year’s Coachella for free I was pumped. I was able to watch my favorite sets of the weekend by Disclosure, Giveon, and Flume multiple times, but I was also able to catch a bunch of artists I never heard of before, like Emotional Oranges, Danny Elfman, The Maria’s, and Black Coffee. 

At the end of the two weekends I was able to see everything I wanted to, and I was able to experience the joy of discovering new music. Watching an edited live stream of a music festival for free was not something I thought I would enjoy as much as I did. It was stress free, I didn’t have to pay anything and honestly, I loved it. So what exactly are the pros and cons of in person versus streaming?

Attending live music in person is a once in a lifetime experience that will leave fans with everlasting memories, but it also gives them time to let loose and get away from all the chaos in the world, which is something we all need after the past few traumatizing years.

For the average person though, the high cost to attend live music means it’s not always possible to have the funds to go to everything they want. From expensive tickets and travel costs to overpriced concessions, the costs to attend live music appears to increase each year. 

Let’s not forget the gross bathrooms, battling the elements such as rain, cold temperatures, high winds and extreme heat, and just the overall physically-demanding aspect of standing and walking for extended periods of time.

Opting for the live stream gives fans the ability to watch live music from the comfort of their home while they eat and drink anything they want, and as much as they want. For a much more reasonable price, fans able to get sight of the band without people blocking their view, and they don’t have to worry about the weather. Fans can also do other things while they watch or listen to the music, and with free time being such a scarce commodity, what’s not to love about that?

Students here appear split on whether paying for a live stream admission is worth it. Current student Teresa Beale said, “It would have to depend on the artist but most likely no.”

However, another  student, Edward Byrd said, “I think so. As long as it was cheaper than the general admission price.” It seems like people are open to the idea but there’s still some hesitation towards it.

While attending concerts and music festivals is something I strongly advocate music fans to do, and with the current state of the economy streaming live music from their home can be just as good, if not better. Change is a constant in life and we have to be willing to adjust with things over time. The option of streaming live concerts and music festivals will be the new norm going forward and I’m all for it. 

Lollapalooza is scheduled to occur July 28-31, and was streamed on YouTube last year, but this year fans must have an account with Hulu watch the festival.

Planning ahead allows concert goers to enjoy the experience more. Below is a useful checklist below for those planning on attending any concerts live in person this summer:


Money Backpack or Fanny Pack Hand Sanitizer
Phone Hat, Bandana, Scarf or Neck Gaiter Water Bottle        
Portable Phone Charge Sunglasses & Sunscreen Blanket
Wet Wipes or Tissues Comfortable Footwear Layered Clothing    
Screenshot of Venue & Stages     Emergency Contact Card Friends