The GoGlobal Blog

Author: Evan Harms

Feel free to follow my adventures as I fall face first into the tourism of The Hague, Netherlands.
How to Choose Your Summer Music Festival

How to Choose Your Summer Music Festival


Spring is upon us, and as such, so is music festival lineup season.

If your favorite music festival hasn’t released its lineup schedule already, it will in the next month or two rest assured.

But what about those who don’t have a favorite festival? How do you choose between two festivals that have almost identical lineups?

If you don’t already know, there’s so much more to music festivals then just the lineups they host.

You need to take into account the culture of each festival, and the spirit that drives it.

If you want to make the most of your music festival filled summer you have to pick a festival that not only matches your music taste, but also your personality.

I’ve collected a wide range of information detailing my personal accounts and opinions of festivals I’ve attended, and festivals that some of my closest friends have gone to.

If you’re hoping for a cold analysis of each festival then you’re reading the wrong article.

This is a tutorial to help those who have no idea what they’re getting themselves into and need a guiding light before taking the musical plunge.


Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL

“Lollapalooza is a great place to start your festival career, a real beginner experience.

Ok so that’s no way to sell a festival, I know, but bear with me ok? Lollapalooza isn’t a festival I would undersell or oversell by any means.

It was the first musical festival I ever went to so it’ll always have a special place in my heart.

It’s an exciting feeling. You’re surrounded by downtown Chicago, but not to the point of being claustrophobic, and you have a great breeze coming nonstop from Lake Michigan.

What should you expect at Lolla?

Lollapalooza is a great place to start your festival career, a real beginner experience.

It always has a popular lineup, and the people there are pretty spread across the spectrum of personalities you’d see at a music festival.

You’ll see a healthy dose of ravers, frat boys, mid-life crisis dads, high school kids, and then some normal everyday people thrown in the mix.

It’s enough diversity to keep Lollapalooza from skewing into one type of audience direction, but enough that you’ll feel at home no matter what type of festival goer you identify as.

What’s the venue like? Should I have safety concerns at all?

The venues and stages are gigantic so you’ll never have to worry about being to far back, but there’s also plenty of room at each stage to lie down at the back of the ground and mellow out to your favorite band.

The police and security presence is very comforting. They’re there to help you, not to ruin your life, so just don’t mess with them and they won’t mess with you.

Personally, I’m over the whole Lollapalooza hype fest that happens every year. It was a great first experience but my tastes have become more experienced now.

Bottom Line: If you’re new to the whole festival thing, have about $500 bucks sitting around, and don’t mind some debauchery, Lollapalooza is probably the festival for you.

Cheap and Similar Alternative: North Coast (Illinois)

Lollapalooza’s 2015 lineup has not been released yet, but you can listen some of my favorite tunes and bands from their 2014 lineup here.


Bonnaroo – Manchester, TN

“Also, the toilets were surprisingly top notch, had no fear of pooping or getting herpes.”

 Ahhh Bonnaroo, home of the hippies and land of the free. Bonnaroo gets a lot of bad rep for being a smelly, hippie ridden, and overall dirty festival, but it is all that and so much more.

Bonnaroo, or Roo (as it is lovingly called), is a magical land filled with some of the friendliest festival goers you will ever meet.

Honestly, I have some great memories of getting lost from my friends and for making new friends out of complete strangers.

Everyone is seemingly there for the same reason: good vibes and good music.

Two years ago I attended Roo with my good friend, Alejandro and he’s been in love with the place ever since.

What did you like most about Bonnaroo?

“The atmosphere, people, and festival grounds were incredible. Just such a cool vibe, everyone was extremely friendly. You could talk to anyone about anything.

Not really judgmental, not to many frat bros, real people that were really nice. Also, the toilets were surprisingly top notch, had no fear of pooping or getting herpes.”

What kind of advice would you give newcomers to Roo?

Bonnaroo is focused on the camping and immersive atmosphere that few festivals obtain. You go for 4 days, camp out surrounded by strangers, and go see your favorite bands throughout the day.

But wait, there’s more! There are also art exhibits, comedy shows, food vendors from around the nation, beer tastings, and the list goes on.

I remember this encampment next to mine, back in 2012, spending the entire 4 days building this open-air library and phone charging station for anyone to use. They made tire swings and cots for folks to enjoy, and man was it popular.

So what’s it like to go to the Roo for the first time?

“Surreal, like a kid at a toy store,” says Alejandro. “So many cool things and so many people.

I wish I had more time to explore and do everything that they had to offer. One day I’ll actually make it to the comedy tent for once! You just can’t find time to do everything.

Bottom Line: Bonnaroo will set the standard for your music festivals. It has an almost religious following amongst it’s goers, and is easy for any music lover to enjoy. As long as you like camping, Roo is for you.

Cheap and Similar Alternative: All Good Festival (West Virginia)

Bonnaroo’s 2015 lineup has been released! It’s pretty stacked and promises to be a grand time for all. Here are a few of my favorite tracks and bands to watch out for there, you can listen here.


Coachella – Indio, CA

“Sometimes it felt more like a fashion event than a music festival.”

 So now we begin to delve into uncharted festival territory for me. Coachella is a festival that I’ve always heard about, but never had the money to attend.

It’s set in glamorous California, and from what I’m told, the people organizing this festival know exactly what they’re doing.

The grounds are located on a gigantic polo field, so it’s really easy to get around and probably only a 5 minute walk from one side of the venue to the other.

I really have to back off of this discussion, however, and leave it to my close friend Jonny Swift, keyboardist and producer for local Chicago Electronic Rock band “Super Hairy,” to describe because anything I tell you at this point is just conjecture.

What did you like most about Coachella?

“We liked a lot about Coachella! We had an awesome time.

The lineup and music were great, some of our favorites were Pretty Lights, TNGHT, Purity Ring, C2C, Alt-J, Yeasayer, Hot Chip, the fact that it’s in SoCal in the desert surrounded by mountains, and so much more.

The food was delicious and siphoned off into one section of the festival grounds, although expensive, the art installations and decorations were really cool, there was a giant ferris wheel you could ride, and all in all the festival was just organized really well.”

Did you dislike anything though? I’ve heard some wicked rumors about the atmosphere.

“We disliked a few things actually. The drinks were extremely overpriced, the check-in people at the gates to the festival were very strict and thorough and rough and searched everything, the porta pottys were always disgusting and never stocked with toilet paper, I don’t think they cleaned them once all weekend, and overall the crowd was kinda rude.

Not a very friendly crowd at all, and it seemed like a lot of people weren’t there for the music, but just to try to see celebrities and get into the fashion scene.

That’s one of the main things I didn’t like- sometimes it felt more like a fashion event than a music festival.

Other than that, the only other thing I can complain about is that our camping site was a decently long walk to the festival grounds- about a 15-20 minute walk.”

So why did you choose to go all the way to SoCal for this festival?

“We chose to go to Coachella because the lineup was amazing and had a ton of our favorite artists, and because it was in SoCal!

And because it’s Coachella, duh. When we first got there, we were obviously super excited but also nervous because we’d never done a camping music fest before- only Lolla, North Coast, and Pitchfork beforehand.

After we flew in, we had to rent a car and stop at a Wal-Mart on the way to stock up on everything we needed for camping all weekend.

The coolest story I have from Coachella is that I got to meet all the members of both C2C and Alt-J after their performances on Friday afternoon.

Chatting with them was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.”

Bottom Line: Festival of the stars. Go for the culture, stay for the music.

Cheap and Similar Alternative: SXSW (Texas)

Coachella’s 2015 lineup is STACKED with good music. Seriously. I don’t think I could name another festival with a lineup this badass. Here are some of my favorites!


Electric Forest – Rothbury, MI

“There is a crazy strong spirit of reciprocity and respect flowing throughout the Forest, and it’s absolutely contagious.”

I’m so embarrassed. Another festival I’ve never been to before. However, this time I can say I’ll have Electric Forest taken off my bucket list this summer. Bought my tickets and could not be more excited. To help me explain my excitement I again have Jonny Swift of “Super Hairy” and also my close friend Philip Albers.

What did you like best about Electric Forest?

Jonny Swift: Electric Forest was one of the best experiences of my life. It was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! It’s gonna be hard to describe it in words but I’ll try.

By far, it’s the best music festival I’ve been to and one of the most amazing places I’ve been period. Coachella was awesome and I love Lolla, North Coast, and Pitchfork, all of which I’ve been to multiple times, but none of them can compare to EF.”

Philip Albers: Electric Forest is my most anticipated music event every year, partly because the lineup and music is so good, but mostly because of the people and the atmosphere.

The attendees are all considerate and friendly people, and give the festival a sense of unity and harmony that is unmatched in any other concert or festival I’ve gone to.

Also the venue is in a beautiful pine forest, and is looked after by the attendees.”

So was there anything to dislike?

Jonny Swift: There were few things I disliked, but they’re pretty nitpicky. Shower lines could sometimes be quite long, and it cost $10 per shower.

Other than that, the only thing I could complain about is that the festival grounds can sometimes feel quite large if you don’t know your way around, and it can take a decent amount of time to get from one side of the festival to the other.”

Philip Albers: “There isn’t much I dislike about the Forest. However, 2014 saw the first ticket sell out of Electric Forest, and it seemed as if the number of people really increased the congestion and anxiety of moving from stage to stage.”

What can be said about the atmosphere of the festival?

Jonny Swift: “There is a crazy strong spirit of reciprocity and respect flowing throughout the Forest, and it’s absolutely contagious.

I’ve never experienced a crowd at a music fest that was so friendly and respectful towards everyone and everything around them.

I usually hate crowds at concerts or music fests or large events, but nearly everyone I met, strangers, volunteers, everyone, was extremely friendly and helpful.

I don’t think I’ve ever talked to more strangers or made more momentary friends that quickly in my life.

Everyone is just there to have a good time and make sure everyone else is having a good time as well!

My fiancé has said multiple times that she sees it as a utopian mini-society that gives a glimpse of how society could be if everyone treated each other with love and respect.”

Any good stories to share?

Philip Albers: “There are countless stories I could share about Forest. One in particular kind of epitomizes the atmosphere though.

In the Forest there is this sacred little place called the Giving Tree, the concept is that you take something and you leave something.

It could be something of great personal value or something completely trivial.

My first year we paid many-a-visit to the giving tree, offering up cigarettes and mysterious tokens we picked up on the way for things like lighters and other mysterious tokens.

The third night, after some vigorous dancing, our group convened and one member realized his necklace had come off.

This necklace was a simple sterling silver charm he got from his grandmother, though not completely vital to survive the Forest, he was understandably bummed.

We looked through forests of feet on the dance floor, searched lost and found, asked strangers, and finally paid one more visit to the giving tree.

There the little necklace was found totally in tact. This is not so uncommon in the Forest; things have a way of working themselves out there where everything just seems to go right.”

Bottom Line: An electronic wonderland filled with some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. Come for the wub wub, stay for the love love.

Cheap and Similar Alternative: Shambhala (British Columbia)

The Electric Forest 2015 lineup is set to be mind blowing. Hold onto your underpants folks, you’re in for a wild ride. Listen to some of my favorite tracks from the lineup here.


Pitchfork – Chicago, IL

“Hipsters and kids everywhere, what has my life become?!”

 Pitchfork is most known for the music columns online. Everyday they release 5 to 10 album reviews, in-depth interview cover stories with big name artists, and are basically revered as musical gurus by most of the hardcore music fan community.

I went to Pitchfork for the first time the summer of 2014 and loved it. Real easy to navigate, very clean, and everyone was very friendly.

You could really tell that everyone was there for the music. They didn’t come to get trashed and they weren’t there to tell you your music taste was shit either.

They always have a great lineup, and even if you don’t recognize the bands you can be sure you’ll like them on at least a basic level.

My good friend Alejandro has been a regular attendee at Pitchfork for the last 3 years (mainly because his hipster roommate used to drag him there kicking and screaming) and had a few things to say about the festival.

So what did you like most about Pitchfork?

“Pitchfork has a nice lineup, real cheap prices, and the crowd is always interesting.

My first reaction when waiting to get in though? Hipsters and kids everywhere, what has my life become.

The festival is filled with the type, but if you are on the level, or can at least tolerate it, you’ll be fine. “

 Bottom Line: If you’re the type who is always up to date on the new hot album release, and loves discussing music in depth, then Pitchfork is for you.

Cheap and Similar Alternative: None. It really doesn’t get cheaper than this for the quality of the lineup.

Hosted by the highly regarded Pitchfork magazine, this festival’s 2015 lineup promises to deliver its audience fantastic up and comers, as well as some incredible veteran performers. Listen to some of the tracks here.

I Discover a Beach and Dragons

I Discover a Beach and Dragons

My last post wasn’t very long despite my warning to hold onto your underpants. For those of you still holding onto them, please continue. For those of you who lost faith and withdrew them from your clenching fists, shame on you, resume your death grip.

Despite popular belief, there is no nude beach in the Netherlands. All we have is a beach, a normal one, with sand and shells and water. Fascinating I know, but hey, the Ocean is still better than Lake Michigan. My roommates and I picked up our bikes and made the trek to see this mythical body of water. Riding there we discovered where all the parks had been hiding, and where all the suburbans had hidden themselves.

It was a gloomy day, most days here tend to be. The locals promise me it gets better, but that does not stop them from saying the Sun is a legend and we should stop asking about it.

My travel companions proceeded to go into Instagram mode and started documenting everything by blurring the truth of their images with filters and color schemes. I myself wandered. I took a picture here or there, but I wanted to see what this beach had to offer. I walked down the coast a ways before hiking up a nearby hill. Erosion is apparently a large problem here. All the grassy areas were barred off with barbwire, a local warned me there was a fine for taking shortcuts, but I reassured him I was here to walk the long path.

I would like to talk more about the beach, but at this point I feel I’d just be drolling on and would bore you. Instead I’ll tell you about all the dragons I found!

Chinese New Year fell on February 1st. Chinatown was the place to be, brimming with flags, dragons, and fireworks, it was a wonderful day to celebrate something I knew so little about.

Tourists were lining up and down the streets in wait for the promised New Years parade. I and a friend joined the fray as well before realizing that it wasn’t like any parade you’d see in the States.

Moving from shop to shop, Chinese dancers wearing dragon costumes performed, dancing to steel drums and setting off huge chains of fireworks. Each shop would put out a cabbage over their door and the dragon would proceed to do a ceremonial dance in front before devouring (reaching out a hand and grabbing) the cabbage, at which point they would move to the next shop.

It was a fun festival overall. A strange bit of color to a city I thought I had been close to figuring out.


Home Is Where Your Hat Is

Home Is Where Your Hat Is

Hold on to your underpants folks, this is gonna be a long one.


This is where trains go to rest their legs.

I have been told that there is a set of phases one goes through when studying abroad. I am expected to feel like I’m on a sort of honeymoon at first, falling in love with the city and culture around me. I can vouch for this feeling being accurate. I have fallen deeply and madly in love with this culture. It’s so relaxing, so breathtaking, I could not help myself when I stumbled into maddening attachment with this wonderful place.

As per Netherlands procedure, I bought a bike. I have named him Mr. Thundercleese, and hopefully he likes the name because I am unable to extract any input from him as of this time. Biking is the norm here in The Hague. There are more people on bikes then driving or walking combined. They are the gods of the streets as they ride through like a swarm of locusts, ringing bells is the equivalent of honking the horn here.

My first day being united with Mr. Thundercleese was a humorous one looking back on it. In short, I got lost. With more detail, I got lost for an hour and a half in the pouring rain at night. Most would find this a miserable experience and blame their trusty bike for leading them astray, but I do not fall to anger so quickly. The adrenaline was pumping through me as my survival instincts kicked in and I prowled the wet night looking for home. Taking mysterious twists and turns through the strange streets of the Hague left me more and more lost. I was not so shameful as to ask for directions, this was a test. I kept riding, and riding, and riding, hoping I might spot some landmark in which to locate myself, and to locate my home.

Just when I thought my wandering was to come to a fruitless end, I saw hope. Hope was in the form of a gigantic tower, lit up in blue lights. Oh Captain, my Captain. My lighthouse, my savior. Walking into my apartment, my roommates stared at me as I dripped profusely onto the floor. “Take off your shoes” they said, and continued whatever it was they were busy with.

It’s funny looking back on it. It’s not surprising for tourists to get lost, it’s even less surprising for me to get lost. My sense of direction might be compared to that of Columbus. I always find something interesting, but lord knows I’ve missed my destination.

Please excuse my photography in the future. The Chicago Sun Times has resorted to giving their staff iPhones as a replacement for a photography staff, so why should my standards be any different?

A Time of Arrival

A Time of Arrival

17/1/2014 7:20am (Chicago Time 12:20am): 

I’m here. The promised land is upon me. All these months of paperwork, emails, packing, and research have finally culminated in my arrival to Amsterdam. The airport is just like any other airport when you look at it. You really don’t realize the difference until you sit down for some coffee and hear the difference. Language is invading my senses. It’s different, it’s all around, and I have absolutely no idea what it all means. I’m like a kid in a candy store who can’t read any of the labels. I make my way past customs, which seemed a lot more intimidating a process when my parents warned me of it, and collect my baggage. Amsterdam isn’t my final stop though. I head to the train station and spend my first euros on a one-way ticket to Den Haag Centraal station. There lies my new home, The Hague University of Applied Sciences. I feel like some sort of attraction as I board my train with all my bags. For a moment I see everyone look up at me as I drop my bag in the aisle, staring in intrigue, like some circus animal just got on and they don’t quite know how to handle it. A kind local suggests a place to stow my cargo in a hushed voice. I thank him and quietly take my seat across from him on the train. All is quiet. You’d think it was empty on that train, you could hear a pin drop.

9:45am (Chicago Time 2:4oam):

That’s the first thing I notice about the Netherlands. It’s quiet. The train is quiet, the countryside flying past us is quiet, it has an aura of peace to it. The kind stranger bids me a good stay and departs the train ahead of me. That’s another thing you’ll notice. People here either are friendly or stoic. I can’t even count the number of people who greeted me in Dutch my first day here. At least I think it was welcoming. It’s a tough language to pick up on, I usually just nod and smile.

I spend the next three hours wandering. This includes the wandering to my hostel. I think I may have illegally boarded one of the trams here, but luckily no one said anything. I get to the area where my hostel is supposed to be, but I can’t for the life of me find it. I walk in circles a few times while traveling bicyclists stare at me before I finally see the hostel’s name “StayOkay” across a tributary. I can’t check into my room until that afternoon I’m told. Sleep, I need sleep. I stow my luggage in a little room they have and do the only thing I can. I wander. I walk a few miles down one street, take a left and walk a few more. It’s not easy to get lost I feel, the street layouts are like smaller Chicago streets, but somehow more traffic. Yet somehow the city remains quiet. No sirens, no talking, no honking. A silent stroll through a foreign country. This is what all the romantics dream about right? My feet would beg to differ though, all this walking is hell.

Good morning Mr. Hague, how are you? Oh I’m just fine, my feet might beg to differ though.



4:30pm (Chicago Time 9:30am):

One of my roommates just arrived at the hostel. Her name is Emily. We sit down in the lobby and get to know each other, trading stories from home, and sharing our marvel of this strange land. She proposes we nap for a few hours and then meet back up to go explore. I’m unable to protest, and my legs drift me off to my bed.

When we rise, we meet up with a girl named Laurence that Emily met. Laurence is from Quebec. She speaks with a rough French accent, but is one of the nicest people I’ve met. We head to The Hague and meet up with the International Student Office. We enter the office and realize that The Hague has the best International welcome program ever. I’m handed a beer and told congratulations on making it to the promised land as I gaze around in awe at the gathering of students from all over the world. I students from France, S. Korea, Germany, and even some from Wisconsin. We soon leave the welcome party and are led to a magical place called Club 7, where one of the student ambassadors works. It really is a magical place, I mean honestly it is so much better than any American bar you might visit. People are smoking cigarettes inside, the DJ’s on each separate floor are playing fantastic House music, and everyone is very friendly. Not to mention the house beer is Heineken. I mean, come on, Heineken? You only see young businessmen and wannabe young businessmen drinking that back in the States. Everyone looks at me like a loony when I say we mainly drink Busch at the bars in the States. It’s just that kind of place I guess. You have to pay for the bathrooms here. It’s 0.50 euros per trip to the royal throne, which is strange, but it makes sense in a way I suppose.

It’s an interesting place, this Netherlands. Only my first day here and already I can feel a looming sense of discovery ahead of me. Which reminds me, I need to learn the Dutch word for “hello”, I really feel like a rude American just smiling and nodding all the time.