Welcome to the festival explosion.
Lilith. The Warped Tour. Smokin' Grooves. The Furthur Fest. Since last
year's death of the mother of all festivals, Lollapalooza, the
babypaloozas have multiplied and taken over the concert-going market.
One of them, though, has been around since the good old days - 1992 to be
exact. The HORDE Tour was formed by the band Blues Traveler to showcase
live music. Past year's headliners include Dave Matthews Band and Neil
Young. This year's line up, coming to Darien Lake on Aug. 7, stars the
likes of Barenaked Ladies, Ben Harper and Alana Davis, along with the guys
who started it all.
We spoke by phone recently to Blues Traveler guitarist Chan Kinchla about
one of the band's recent gigs and the festival phenomenon.
Did you enjoy playing at the Tibetan Freedom Concert?
Chan: We were on the second day, and the first day, about
half the show got rained out. All the bands got shoved in and put on that
Saturday, so we got the whole weekend shoved into one day, which was
awesome - it was an absolute full-on affair.
Sean Lennon snapped at a reporter who asked if the crowd was
there for the cause or the music. What do you think?
Chan: I think they're there for the music, but I think
that positive aspect of what music can do is, it brings people in and
raises awareness. Throughout it all, there's tons of literature, people
keep talking about it, they have speakers on between bands... It raises
enough awareness so that people don't take our policy for China without
paying attention to it - they might look twice at it - which in turn
embarrasses and puts more pressure on our government to be a little more
responsible in dealing with it.
How do you feel about all of the different music festivals
that have popped up in the past few years?
Chan: I think it kind of exploded and oversaturated last
year. Lollapalooza finally closed down... I think it just got to the point
where concerts have gotten so expensive to go to that people only have
enough money to go to a few every year. Tours that have survived have
their niche that they've kind of stumbled into it. People just want to see
something that's their cup of tea.
What niche do you think HORDE fills?
Chan: Ideally, real live music fans that are there to
really concentrate on live music performances as opposed to bands that may
have radio status or a type of image or attitude they're portraying -
bands that have a very strong musical approach.