Just a few years ago, it was a rarity to find the media following Kim Kardashian and other A-list celebrities to secluded music festivals for instance, Coachella or Bonnaroo. Ten years ago, many of these festivals were unheard of by the general public and lacked any type of mainstream media coverage whatsoever. Imagine if the glamorous Elizabeth Taylor attended Woodstock in 1969, and all of the camera flashes followed her every move as she danced in the mud and took another hit of acid. The very thought is laughable; and although celebrity festival-goers are most likely not taking drugs, working the cameras as they appear to be normal, music-loving patrons at festival events is a trend of increasing popularity.
Perhaps it is not the celebrities who are new to the music festival scene, but rather it is the cameras that are the newcomers. Today, photography is now more portable than ever, so the media loves to follow celebs as they indulge in a brief moment of normalcy among a sea of thousands of regular people. Similarly, super stars love free publicity. The proof is in the pictures. Most recently, it was a photo of Kim Kardashian donning a see-through blouse at Bonnaroo 2014, screaming for media attention as usual. However captivating, Kim’s chest and the lack of fabric covering it cannot be the center of media concentration at every music festival. It is doubtful that the reality star would have been present for this event had her new husband, Kanye West, not been performing that evening.
Aside from the cheesecloth-clad Kardashian, contemporary boho-chic fashion is a huge part of music festivals; A-listers who attend Coachella like actress Vanessa Hudgens and super model Alessandra Ambrosio know this and expect to be followed by the media. It is a place where they can sport the latest bohemian trends and be seen by the media. Some of the most popular styles include big, floppy hats, maxi skirts, crochet shorts and leather boots. The media in turn distributes these styles to people across the globe, grasping the attention of millions of people. These boho-chic fads are nothing like what Kim Kardashian recently wore to Bonnaroo, but again, reflect big-name celebrities enjoying music while making a fashion statement to the world. This is all thanks to their media followings.
Other extremely famous celebrities prefer to make their music festival presence known to the media in other ways. In 2010, actress and musician Zooey Deschanel performed live at Bonnaroo with She & Him bandmate, Matt Ward. The media and fans buzzed about her performance, and cameras snapped photos with little talk about what she was wearing that night as she took the stage at the Tennessee music festival.
With the media capturing celebrity faces in the crowd of music festivals on a regular basis, it is no wonder that public awareness of previously unknown music festivals is changing. A-list celebrities like Kim Kardashian and their media followings have made music festivals more popular than ever. Line-ups are becoming increasingly mainstream, with well-known artists such as Kanye West headlining the shows. Ticket sales are becoming more competitive, with a single ticket for Coachella 2015 going for as high as $550. Not only has the media given celebrities like Kim Kardashian free publicity by following them to music festivals, it has popularized the festivals as well. It is now considered quite glamorous to hang out in the heat and dust for a week straight, and people everywhere are paying a pretty penny to do so.
By Sarah Gallagher