There are about 900 bands playing over the course of the festival. It’s going to feel like a musical Sophie’s Choice.
The annual CMJ Music Marathon unveiled the full list of bands for its 31st incarnation. Neon Indian, Portugal. The Man., CSS, Handsome Furs and Talib Kweli were among the initial line-up that was announced last month, and they’ve added a complete roster that includes nearly 900 artists.
Other acts on the line-up include Grimes, Eleanor Friedberger, Japanther, Islands, Gang Gang Dance, Banner Pilot, Cerebral Ballzy, Old Man Markley, Zola Jesus, Wild Flag, Wombats, Life Size Maps, The Twees, EMA and J. Mascis. The complete list of bands — though not a complete schedule of shows — is up at the CMJ website alongside information about purchasing a badge.
There are obviously a lot of must-see acts, and unfortunately it’s physically impossible to see every one of them. Inevitably, two bands you want to see will be playing at the same time in two different venues, or two bands will be playing at different times, but too far apart in distance to get to both.
You’ll have to make a decision, and there are a couple of ways to handle it. Do you want to run around the city trying to get into a bunch of different shows so you can focus on artists you like? That can be great, you’ll get to see several of your favorite bands over the course of a few evenings, but it can get expensive if you don’t have a badge and tedious as far as lines and travel. The other option is to pick one or two locations per night and camp out there, watching each band that happens to play. This is cheaper if you’re paying per gig and a great way to learn about new music, but you will inevitably miss out on a lot of your favorites.
Sometimes, with festivals like this, you have to make some tough choices, but they can be a lot of fun and a great opportunity to discover your new favorite band.