The inevitable passing of time has brought the people of the northern hemisphere to the most lively of seasons; Summer. As much as I hate summer for the truckloads of ignorant tourists that it brings to my hometown, it also brings something that I perennially look forward to; Summer brings people outdoors, which in turn brings music festivals outdoors. This year in particular, my attention turns to a traveling festival that sports a high number of good pop punk bands this year; Warped Tour.
The subject of this week’s editorial isn’t directly Warped, but the festival happens to be a good jumping-off point. As I have previously stated, I tend to form strong opinions, but one thing must be made clear; I only form my views of individuals based on their actions toward me. It has become increasingly evident that festival goers don’t share this practice, opting rather to form broad opinions of an entire fanbase.
Last year, pop punk fans were the subject of these shallow judgments. I witnessed discussions on message boards in which multiple people stated that they would be attending the sets of pop punk bands just to physically hurt the fans of the genre. This got on my nerves, not just because of the absurdity of someone attending a band’s set solely to ruin the fantastic time that a group of fans was having, but also because I couldn’t stand that these “tough guys” decided that fans of certain bands needed to be taught a lesson for not liking the same type of music they did.
I won’t deny that I absolutely despise certain types of music. The fact that dubstep, most other types of electronic music, Christian metalcore, and most metal make me want to stab my ears is undeniable. However, music happens to be something that one forms opinions on based on taste. This is even evident in my own family. I’m your stereotypical posi-punk college kid. My sister enjoys Florence and the Machine and bands of the sort, and my mother likes nothing more than Celtic Woman. The fact stands that we find a way to get along, and you won’t find me persuading either of them to listen to my music because their tastes differ from mine.
The point is that I’m fine with people not liking the type of music I enjoy because I understand that different people have different personalities that lead to different artistic preferences. This is, in part, why I agree with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Snyder v. Phelps. I despise the Westboro Baptist Church’s views and their methods of expression, but I respect their right to freedom of expression as much as I respect that of my own family. This article, however, is not about politics, so I digress.
This year, the subjects of many fans’ rage are the followers of a “band” called Blood On the Dance Floor, which I agree should never be taken as a serious group. Though I can’t stand BOTDF, I see no reason to attend the band’s set simply to ruin someone else’s day. I’ve seen people threatening to do just this, to “send a message” to Kevin Lyman that this type of band does not belong in the festival.
I cannot and will not stand for this. I may think that BOTDF is a terrible band and agree that Warped should never have added them to the line-up, but I can’t form an opinion on an individual that I haven’t yet met. For this reason, I will simply avoid the band’s performance and put together a schedule that I’m already having difficulty creating because of the multitude of good bands on the tour this summer.
What I’m trying to get across is that it’s fine for someone to dislike a band or a genre, but it gives you no right to dislike or disrespect fans unless those fans have been disrespectful to you. I can’t stand bands like The Devil Wears Prada, but some of my best friends are huge fans, and if I formed my opinion of them just from the music they listen to, they would be long gone by now. So folks, if you don’t like a band’s music and want to pass judgment on their fans, don’t hate the player, hate the game.