I’m a creature of habit. My weekends generally begin with a variation of the same breakfast (pancakes), involve several of the same activities (grocery shopping, laundry washing, dog walking), and end the same way, with me refreshed and ready to begin another week doing what I love (this blog!). I’m happy in my routine, and while I love music and would attend every festival from coast to coast if I could, it’s not always realistic (you try finding someone willing to watch four dogs and a cat for a whole weekend…yes, I’m a zookeeper as well as a writer). That’s why I am absolutely loving this trend of live streaming festivals.

This weekend I was able to enjoy Lollapalooza from the air-conditioned comforts of my own home, and honestly, I’m not sure the experience could have been much better had I been in Chicago. I got to see several of my favorite acts close up (thanks, zoom lenses!), the sound was great, and I was able to fall asleep in my own bed each night (creature of habit, remember?). I also wasn’t confined to a parking structure when the storm hit, instead using the opportunity to get that grocery store trip out of the way. With two channels to choose from, someone I wanted to see was always playing, and I didn’t have to rush between stages to make it happen. All it took was the click of a button.

On Friday, I enjoyed Lollapalooza sets from The Shins and Sharon Van Etten before watching mesmerized as Die Antwoord‘s Ninja and Yo-Landi reached various states of undress while getting the cardio workout of a lifetime (did those two ever stop moving?). I caught part of Delta Spirit‘s performance on Saturday, and spent a good portion of Sunday watching At the Drive-In, Miike Snow, Of Monsters and Men, Florence and the Machine, Jack White, and my personal festival highlight, Childish Gambino. The best part? It was all free (minus what I pay for internet, but you know what I’m saying).

I had caught a few Coachella sets in similar fashion back in April, but Lollapalooza 2012 was the first festival where I truly made a point to be online to see certain artists perform. This leads me to wonder if, with live streaming becoming more and more reliable (the only glitches I saw were during Die Antwoord’s set and I blame those on the camera’s inability to handle the duo’s intensity), will people ever start to see live streaming as a preferable alternative to festival attendance and not just a better-than-nothing option? Granted, the energy at a festival isn’t something you can readily recreate, but I could see inviting friends over, throwing YouTube up on the flatscreen, and enjoying a weekend where the water flows freely (as opposed to $5 a bottle). What do you think, readers? Can live streaming compete with the festival experience for you?

To view videos from Lollapalooza 2012:

Lollapalooza YouTube page