So, I managed to get a press pass for the CMJ festival. If you’re unfamiliar, the CMJ festival is a music festival which takes place in New York for five nights. Hundreds of bands come and play in dozens of small clubs throughout the city. And I have a press pass! Which means I can go to any show I want, more or less, for free!
Actually, not so much.
The CMJ Festival was tailor made for me and a few short years ago, this press pass would have been the greatest prize in all the world. I would have gone to every single show I could, stayed up well past 2-3 in the morning, had a hundred beers and would still get up the next morning for work and another night of doing it all over again.
I haven’t gone yet and it’s night two. I’m not going tonight. What did I do instead? I came home popped open a can of PBR, heated up a smart one and am watching the World Series, which is easy because I have no rooting interest.
I can sit here and just enjoy some well played baseball without resorting to becoming a crazy person because David Wright struck out with men in scoring position.
What’s happening? I’m going to attempt to figure that one out.
1.) For starters I find it overwhelming. There’s so much going on and even with the press pass you may not get into a show due to venue capacities and that’s annoying.
2.) It’s expensive. Sure the passes make getting into the show free, but once you’re in the venue you’re susceptible to over-priced watered down drinks. Now, I know what you’re saying mom, “Patrick, you can go to a show and not drink.” “Oh yeah. Really? Impossible.”
3.) Hipsters. ‘nuff said.
4.) It’s hard for me to commit to see bands I’ve never heard of. I used to relish discovering new bands – it was great. Now, I want to know some songs and if not there had better at least be some buzz. Last year, Bon Iver managed to set in motion his selling out Town Hall for two nights thanks to some killer, much buzzed-about CMJ performances. People were talking about them before they happened. I haven’t heard boo about any of these bands.
5.) I live in Astoria. The Lower East Side is basically the farthest place away in the world, so if I leave at 2am, the earliest I’m getting home is 3.
6.) I’m getting old. I’m 28. I’m still pretty young and I will go out on a Tuesday or a Thursday until real late, drink a whole mess of beers - no problem. But that’s one night. Not five. I can’t swing five anymore.
You know what though, It’s actually not that bad. And even if I don’t see one CMJ show, I got a really nice CMJ tote bag. It’s big and it says CMJ on it, so it looks like I went. Which means I’m still pretty cool.