I’d been thinking about those challenges—high gas prices, expensive van rentals, unpredictable ticket sales, health and safety concerns—long before I started interviewing musicians for the story. And I’ve been thinking more about those issues as countless bands hit the road to Austin for the music portion of SXSW, which kicked off Monday.
And, closer to home, I’m thinking about it as this city’s phalanx of summer festivals begin to announce their lineups; Lollapalooza, one of three corporate events blocking accessibility to Grant Park for 84 days this summer, will announce its slate of acts Tuesday. I’m no fan of Lolla, a festival that’s tailored to highlight bands like Måneskin (if they’re not on this year’s lineup, I’ve just got more questions about Lolla’s identity) and whoever Perry Farrell is jamming with right now. I also know a festival of the size and magnitude of Lolla can offer emerging bands a rare guarantee they can build a tour around, which generally makes me more anxious about the power Lolla’s organizers have.
I suspect I’ll have more thoughts on this in future newsletters. Meanwhile, if you haven’t read my touring story and have time to read several thousand words about the challenges musicians face on the road now, dive in.