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Outdoor concert venues provide a fun, cheap environment for students

Weezer+performs+at+Jiffy+Lube+Live+June+2016.+Outdoor+concert+venues+have+become+increasingly+popular+events+for+students+to+attend.+Photo+courtesy+Celia+Shapiro.+
Weezer performs at Jiffy Lube Live June 2016. Outdoor concert venues have become increasingly popular events for students to attend. Photo courtesy Celia Shapiro.

Weezer performs at Jiffy Lube Live June 2016. Outdoor concert venues have become increasingly popular events for students to attend. Photo courtesy Celia Shapiro.

Weezer performs at Jiffy Lube Live June 2016. Outdoor concert venues have become increasingly popular events for students to attend. Photo courtesy Celia Shapiro.

By Cami Corcoran

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Music pulses through the air as teenagers and adults scream lyrics at the top of their lungs. The crowd unites to enjoy their favorite artists, and the wide grassy field provides the ideal scene for it.  

Outdoor concerts like these are a staple of DMV culture. Wolf Trap, Merriweather Post Pavilion and Jiffy Lube Live, all outdoor concert venues in Maryland and Virginia, regularly draw students to their most popular summer shows. The venues opened in 1966, 1967 and 1995, respectively. Today, each attracts different kinds of artists.

Jiffy Lube Live and Merriweather often hosts popular artists, as they both seat around 20,000 people. Wolf Trapwhich only seats 7,000 peoplegenerally hosts artists that perform, less mainstream styles of music. As a result Wolf Trap is less popular with students than Jiffy Lube and Merriweather, sophomore Isabella Bravo said.

“My parents love to go to outdoor concerts, but typically the bands they like go to Wolf Trap rather than like Merriweather because lots of those bands are geared towards teenagers,” Bravo said.

Many students attend concerts at outdoor venues with their friends regardless of the artist performing. Word spreads fast when popular artists come for lower ticket prices and many students attend simply because of their friends rather than because they like the performer.

“I go for the social aspect of it, not as much for the concert,” junior Ashley Hilburn said, “If all my friends are going I would want to go more for them than just to go to listen to the music.”

For some, the venues are more than a social scene.

Senior Ellie Trainor decided she wanted to spend more of her time immersed in music and applied for a job at Merriweather. As a singer-songwriter, she prioritized working in an atmosphere with music.

“Although the commute is long, it is worth it to work in a place where I get to listen to and be around music,” Trainor said.

Trainor has worked at Merriweather since the beginning of the summer. Concert season is April through October, and she worked up to five days a week during the summer as a general aid. Her responsibilities included collecting tickets and directing audience members to their seats. Working at the venue has given Trainor the opportunity to learn about and hear many new artists that she wouldn’t have listened to otherwise, she said.

Wolf Trap also features other events such as plays and guest speakers. Although these events and its alternative performers may not be as much of a draw, it’s also the most convenient for many students, as it’s only about 11 miles from Whitman. Both Merriweather and Jiffy Lube are significantly farther, each around 30 miles away. The drive typically takes over an hour with traffic, but many students find that the concerts make the trip worthwhile.

“The drive is the worst part, but on the way home you just get to soak in how tired you are and how fun of a night you just had,” Hilburn said. “Some concerts are really the most fun I’ve ever had.”

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The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School
Outdoor concert venues provide a fun, cheap environment for students