Age restrictions have always been a touchy topic with EDM fans. It makes total sense when a club is restricted to 21+ because of alcohol sales, but a festival is much different. The size and scope of a festival can be so vast that with Beer Gardens and specific drinking areas, you could go the whole day without seeing a drop of PBR or Budweiser (except for the stage sponsors, of course). That doesn’t even touch on the subject of 18+ festivals though, let alone all age festivals.
With two large festivals already imposing new age restrictions, namely Electric Forest and Ultra Music Festival, you could say that it’s a growing trend. Now, you can add Spring Awakening to the list.
“SAMF truly appreciates the support from our younger fans, but we believe the festival is an experience for adults. This difficult decision was made to promote safety amongst our fans and ensure the best experience from our attendees and future attendees. We encourage everyone to attend the festival when they reach the appropriate age.”
– SAMF, in a presale email to newsletter subscribers
The scene at the Chicago-based EDM festival, which will occur June 12-14 at Soldier Field, will have a much different crowd this coming year. A very possible reason for the change is that the company that has been running SAMF since 2011, React Presents, was bought by SFX Entertainment earlier this year. The media juggernaut which has been buying up stake in the EDM scene for the past couple of years likely wants a tighter hold on the people coming into and enjoying their festivals. Part of the reason could also stem from a React Presents show featuring Skrillex at Navy Pier where more than a dozen fans were hospitalized; the show was 16+.
Good news though, the younger crowd can still look forward to Lollapalooza, which has always been all ages.