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Music Festivals Are Gross!

I have SiriusXM, and since my music tastes run toward alt rock, I listen to Alt Nation often. This time of year, the on-air talent (can we really call them DJs anymore?) are always talking about how such-and-such band is playing at this festival or that festival, and they hype these events to the point where I get sick of hearing about them.

Truth be told, I’ve never been crazy about music festivals. I’m not crazy about crowds – I even have to psych myself up when I have tickets to a sporting event. I’ve been to a few festivals in my day, however, from Christian music events and conferences to a couple of trips to Music Midtown in Atlanta. I’m also not a fan of having to sit through a bunch of mediocre bands to hear the one or two acts I wanted to see.

(Author’s note – the featured image here is from the Passion Conference. I’ve been to a couple of these events, and they’re not like most music festivals. The photo I used just happens to be the closest one I could use to convey what I wanted to express here.)

A big reason for my aversion to music festivals is that they’re just plain gross. People become slobs when they’re in large crowds. There’s trash everywhere, and have you ever used a porta-potty in the summer heat? No fun at all.

Festivals have historically been gross. Think about the mud at Woodstock back in 1969, and consider all the jokes about bad acid. Those jokes were based in truth.

And now we have more proof positive. Apparently there’s a spike in herpes cases after this year’s Coachella Festival. The self-reporting herpes tracking app HerpAlert reports a “massive” outbreak of the disease in California. (I’m stunned that such an app even exists.)

“In all, 1,105 herpes cases were reported in the Coachella Valley area and in the nearby cities of Los Angeles and San Diego,” the New York Post reported. The number is a record for HerpAlert. The next largest number of claims in Los Angeles occurred the day of and the day after the Academy Awards, back in February. Even then, though, HerpAlert received a grand total of 60 inquiries.

Ew. A side note here: HerpAlert users pay $79 to report the disease, which means that the makers of the app raked in a cool $87,295 from Coachella alone. Hooray for capitalism!

Of course, the phenomenon of partying with a bunch of strangers in California in the springtime helps breed the unhealthiness.

Coachella “is a perfect place for the herpes virus to pop up,” one official told the paper. The event typically draws around 250,000 over the course of two spring weekends, and attendees are known to hook up (of course), but also routinely share makeup, cigarettes, and drinks. Participants also get more than the typical amount of sun exposure and less than the typical amount of sleep, which can make them more susceptible to contagious illness.

What’s the lesson here? Music festivals are gross, and people are pigs when they’re in large crowds. It’s one more reason to avoid these events – even if you didn’t want to avoid them before.

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