It seems like we've been here before: On Saturday afternoon, Club Dada will be taken over by 13th Floor Music for a "music fest" that includes 15 local bands. As you may recall, a very similar thing happened last Saturday, when King Camel Productions put on its own little showcase. This is not a bad thing, of course; the more music we're able to go see for a decent price the better, not to mention that both lineups have been pretty damn great.
But there are a lot of shows going around these days labeling themselves festivals. How are we to know which are legit festivals and which are just really rad parties being thrown by some generous local promoter? Like, what's even real anymore? Fear not. We have the answers for you.
1. Did you pay an arm and a leg to get in?
If you did, you're at a music fest. If you paid anywhere under $20 to get in, you're at a party. Thank the promoter for not trying to take advantage of you.
2. Is this event going on in more than one venue?
If it is, you're at a festival. Most venues don't have the capacity for more than one stage going at a time, with maybe being able to max out at two if they use their patio like Dada does. This is why the usually excellent Parade of Flesh's Spillover qualifies as a fest: they use every inch of Dada and have extra stages in other venues.
3. Are all the bands locals? If yes, are there more than 20 or so?
If it's an all-local ordeal there had better be at least 20 acts performing for it to pass as a festival. This is why 1919 Hemphill can get away with calling all their large events festivals, as they book pretty much every band within 200 miles.
4. Are you outdoors?
If so, you're at a fest, unless you're just on a venue's patio.
5. Are you paying way too much for beer even though there's a beer sponsor?
You most likely are if you're at a festival, and you only have like two options to choose from. I'm still not sure how these sponsorships are supposed to work if Dos Equis is sponsoring, and we're still all paying $6 a cup.
6. Is there a band playing who's on tour with another band playing an event?
This is a classic road agent move: You get your bands out on the road, and pick up a festival date between shows to get your acts a fest date for an easy payday. If there are more than four bands at the show who are doing this you are definitely at a festival.
7. Are there people there just to see the headliner?
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This pretty much sums up every festival. There's always someone there who has heard of none of the bands except for the headliner, and are pissed they have to deal with the other acts in order to see them. If you're at a party, folks probably give a shit about the whole lineup.
8. Are there more than three food vendors on-site? Same for charities, clothing vendors and people giving out freebies.
An easy way to pad a fest's bottom line is to charge food, art and other vendors for the right to come in and sell things to the masses. These are festival staples, because if only four people are trying to make money off you, it's a failure.
9. Are there exasperated people running around with walkie-talkies?
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This is a festival staple. There must be at least 12 people way out of their comfort zone jabbering into a walkie-talkie for it to be a fest.
10. Is this being put on by Spune?
If it's a festival in DFW it almost has to be.
13th FLOOR MUSIC FEST with Dead Flowers, Goodnight Ned, Cody Jasper and more takes place at 3 p.m., Saturday, September 6, at Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., dadadallas.com, $13