A new website called Fest300 has launched what they decided as the top 300 festivals in the world, from the Netherlands’ Amsterdam Dance Event to Charlbury, England’s Wilderness Festival. According to a press release, the list was determined by “the Fest300 team… [who] curated 270 top-tier festivals but the final 30 were suggested by festival-goers themselves in a crowdsourced campaign held in November.” You can view the entire list here.
While the site does not rank their selected festivals from 300 to 1 (their explanation: “Each of the 300 festivals stands on equal footing and offers the potential for connecting with a like-minded community”), it does break down the events in a variety of categories such as “Wild Parties,” “Religious Celebrations” and others. But if you sort by best “Music Festivals,” you may find yourself disappointed. Listed are the blatantly obvious ones such as Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and Coachella, plus a few hipper events like Pitchfork Music Festival and Moogfest, but it’s clear there is a significant lack of punk rock and its associated subgenres represented. Where is Chicago’s Riot Fest or New Jersey’s Skate And Surf Fest? Where is Gainesville, Florida’s the Fest or Montreal’s Pouzza Fest? Where is Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest or Los Angeles’ FYF Fest? How could they leave out the U.K.’s Slam Dunk Fest? What about up-and-coming festivals like Michigan’s Bled Fest or Cleveland’s Spring Fling? How about Warped Tour, you guys? The fucking Warped Tour isn’t on the list of the best 300 festivals in the world. Say what you will about the ever-evolving lineup, but anyone who doesn’t consider Kevin Lyman’s punk rock summer camp as one of the best 300 festivals in the world at any given time isn’t a person worth paying attention to.
As with all lists, there is obviously a certain level of subjectivity in the choices. (I mean, should we be surprised that Burning Man made the cut when the guy who founded Fest300 is on their board?) But clearly this is one website who has dramatically overlooked a huge chunk of what inspires youth culture. We’re not all here to rave until the sun comes up or take funny-looking pills or pretend to enjoy awful indie rock in 100-degree heat; many of us just want to go see some great bands who don’t view themselves as any better than their audience and sing along as loudly as we can. Clearly, Fest300 doesn’t understand that, but we probably shouldn’t have expected them to, anyway.