Festivals vs. After Parties
- By Joyce Edwards -
- Aug 20, 2012
As I turned the gold plated corner of Hard Rock Hotel Chicago’s staircase I realized that I was painfully underdressed in wrinkled red shorts for the Lollapalooza after show that featured Polica, Childish Gambino and Little Dragon. With salty cakes of dry sweat accenting my totally haggard ensemble, I was immediately greeted by a team of make up artists eager to save a festival vagabond with lots of red lipstick.
The dimly lit series of rooms scattered with famous people presented an exciting and stark contrast from my years of festival going, and I soon began to mentally compare both the advantages and disadvantages of seeing a band perform in either setting. With musical heart strings taut in either direction I’ve decided to explore what’s better; getting your lipstick smacked off your face in a mosh pit, or having the Olsen twin’s makeup artist perfect your pout when seeing a band perform?
Though I’ll spare you the imagery of my tender feet and raging sunburn, the endurance of the festival left a visible imprint as a reminder of how amazing, yet taxing the previous days had been. My first stop was the ladies room to wash my hands and check out my new rouge kisser, however, I was surprised to see swarms of women waiting for swag bags rather than darting to the stage. Such priorities soon became apparent as I found my friend and I among the minority seeking out a spot to catch Polica hit the stage.
Earlier in the day, the second a performer struck the first chord there would be an eruption of praise amongst a crew of anxious fans. Though it’s valid to acknowledge the immense amount of people in attendance at Lolla, it was still disappointing to stand next to people who were yapping loudly while trying to enjoy the shows. While my immediate periphery was surrounded by disinterest, a few feet yonder actor Joe Manganiello of True Blood and Magic Mike fame was passionately mouthing every lyric with gusto. His irreverence was refreshing and proved to be unrelenting having seen him doing stripper body roles earlier in the weekend at Die Antwoord.
The perks of an after show were obvious to me with free drinks, free trinkets, and the chance to bump into Kelly Osbourne, but the biggest draw was definitely the ability to catch three solid shows in close proximity and with little waiting. After long beverage lines and long distance sprints between stages during the festival, staying put in a smallish room full of showered people was a beautiful thing.
Hygiene and glitz had an apparent role in the after show, but it also made me appreciate the gritty, somewhat sentimental, charm of catching a show at a festival and having it be both a physical and mental experience. Most everything other than lounging in one spot takes a lot of effort at a festival, and once you commit to getting up close it becomes a personal investment to be there. There’s no better place to gush about Jack White’s new album or thrash around with other fans of your same caliber, and the result is an enhanced concert experience. Generally the bands sense this crowd involvement too, and rather than casually sip drinks like at the after show they tend to want to commit to a solid performance.
Ultimately, I recognized really quickly that people had clearly made a choice; either go to the festival or the after party but definitely not to both. Despite the pros and cons of both festivals and after shows, I think that Joe Manganiello had the best disposition in both scenarios. Regardless of his environment he truly had a great time making those around him laugh with raunchy dance moves and intently seeking out shows that he really wanted to be at. Overall, Manganiello’s attitude best demonstrates that regardless of the atmosphere sometimes it all depends on your ability to have the most fun possible in any situation. I definitely think that he and I were on the same page.
This guest blog complies to Virgin.com terms & conditions.