Music festivals have become rampant in recent years. In the tradition of Woodstock, festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella have taken to rural areas near live music industrial cities and, for one to two weekends a year, turn it into a metroplex of music, corporate flogging and overpriced water bottles. All cynicism aside, a large cast of new festivals has risen in the last decade or so producing on smaller scales but proving to be just as relevant. Backwoods Fest looks to separate itself from the barrage of these festivals this year by auctioning off the headliner spot for the festival to the highest bidder.
As reported by Consequence of Sound, the Backwoods Music Festival started out as a local non-profit initiative that brought together Americana, Jamband and indie music together. Over the last year, they have seen a expansion as more cross over artists have been booked. Located in Stroud, Oklahoma, the festival is setting a new kind of precedent for music festivals by allowing artists to bid for a headlining slot. The fellow headliners include Porter Robinson, Infected Mushroom, Keller Williams, Papadosio, and Com Truise to name a few.
It will be interesting to see if this creates a trend in the music festival world and what kind of events will follow. The bidding offer is currently at $145,000 and while it’s not likely that an up-and-coming artist will have the kind of financial gain to bid that kind of money for exposure, this could potentially lead to an intriguing chain of events. Is there any chance we start to see bands create quick kickstarters to try to raise the money to bid. With the auction ending April 5, there isn’t much time to do so, but you never know. Furthermore, it would be interesting to see if a record label or some other corporate sponsor snags the bid in order to market one of their artists. Personally, it would be great to see a high profile artist get the bid and use the opportunity to give a struggling band a chance to shine although there’s potential a story like that would end up in another viral article that your friend’s mom would post on Facebook stating it will “restore your faith in humanity.” That is neither here nor there; the idea is innovative and no matter who ultimately takes the bid, it’s a win-win situation for the Backwoods Music Festival and could potentially be a new trend amongst the music festivals in years to come.