Jack White Labels Music Festivals “A Necessary Evil”

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Jack White Labels Music Festivals “A Necessary Evil”

With the bulk of today’s news weighted towards music festival activity – including Splendour In The Grass co-founders joining Falls Festival, Laneway announcing their 2013 dates and teasing a “mega dream lineup”, along with Soundwave announcing the first Sidewave shows with Linkin Park and Stone Sour - there’s one musician for whom music festivals aren’t such a big deal.

Blunderbuss maestro and former White Stripe, Jack White, who was recently Down Under for Splendour In The Grass and his own headlining tour, has acknowledged that music festivals are not his ideal setting.

The BBC reports that the Raconteur/Dead Weather maestro has called music festivals “a necessary evil in the business,” comparing them to a lame party. “Everyone’s drinking and lazing in the sun and walking around and that’s a fun thing for them but it’s not interesting for me.”

“I don’t get excited about festivals — they’re not my favorite place to play,” White told the BBC in a recent interview. Though the performer admits that they offer “exposure to people who would never come and see you and [organisers and bookers] offer bands a lot of money so they can’t say no… they’re not my first choice to perform music.”

“I’m not trying to be negative, it’s just never been too exciting for me,” says White, who indicates that he’s always preferred playing club dates and more intimate venues.

SPIN point out he told comedian Marc Maron, host of the popular WTF podcast, as much. Explaining he prefers clubs over large-scale events, “festivals have never been my favourite place to play… it’s not a good environment for any kind of performance.”

It’s not the only thing that White is particular about when it comes to his live performance, his recent visit to Australia also strongly urged attendees to keep their phones in their pockets.

His shows in Melbourne and Sydney for his current tour of his solo debut, Blunderbuss, featured signs at the entrance encouraging punters to “please leave your phones in your pockets/purses and enjoy the show live and in person.”

White began a ‘one-man crusade’ against such “gadgetry” at his concerts, saying that the smartphone is killing the live music experience (something we whole-heartedly agreed with in our opinion piece on the topic), but he’s not the only one.

British ska/soul revivalists The English Beat experienced similar problems on their recent Australian tour, with frontman/band manager Dave Wakeling issuing a statement calling for the ban of smartphones for the remainder of their visit.

The ban came after the group played two nights at Sydney’s Factory Theatre (which you can read the review for here) as part of their first ever visit Down Under, where “the first few rows of punters held up their camera phones the entire show” read Wakeling’s statement.

Meanwhile, Jack White’s going to have to just toughen up over his distaste for festivals and large-scale music events with the recent announcement that he’ll be extending his touring duties to the UK and Ireland, playing some of the country’s biggest stages.


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