Review: The Pop Festival

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The Pop Festival – Edited by George McKay

The Pop Festival: History, Music, Media, Culture

George McKay
Street: 05.21

This is a book for history buffs, cultural academics, musicians and those diehard music fans who set out every summer to attend festivals like Coachella or Lollapalooza. As a history nerd myself, it was fascinating from a social perspective to see how festivals have changed over the last 60 years within the social climate of wherever they were being held. Assembled from 14 essays that run a time span from the 1950s until now and cover ground in the U.K. as well as the U.S., The Pop Festival is the most comprehensive collection explaining the underlying nature of music festivals. From humble beginnings of community folk festivals to political movements and to the evolution of the EDM festivals of our time, there is something that will intrigue everyone in here. The essays are each fairly short with their own distinct tone and voice, so each story and era feels self-contained. Yet, they weave together a vivid story of where we’ve been, with eyes on where we are now. Fun fact: Did you know that the term “raver” was being used all the way back in the ‘50s? For many more insights into how we got where we are today, this book will sometimes read a little like a text-book, but you will learn some interesting tidbits to impress your friends with on your road trip to your next show. –Rachel Jensen