Music festivals have been a staple of the entertainment industry for decades, and their evolution has been shaped by various factors, including cultural shifts, technological advancements, and the global pandemic. In this article, we will explore the past, present, and future of music festivals, focusing on the rise of Latin music, the Center City Jazz Festival in Philadelphia, and the career of Oteil Burbridge, bassist for Dead & Co.

The Rise of Latin Music in Mega-Festivals

Latin music has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years, with revenues in the United States exceeding $1 billion for the first time in 2022. This growth has been noticed by major music festivals like Coachella, which has featured more Spanish-language acts and no white headliners for the first time in its history. UF professor José Valentino Ruiz-Resto predicted this trend, stating that Latin music’s communal experience would help maintain the success of concerts and festivals. The increased presence of Latin artists at festivals is a testament to the positive impact of Latin American cultures on the U.S. music industry.

Center City Jazz Festival: A Platform for Philadelphia Jazz Musicians

Founded by Ernest Stuart in 2012, the Center City Jazz Festival in Philadelphia showcases dozens of artists across several venues in the city. Stuart’s goal was to provide more opportunities for local jazz musicians to share their work. The festival, which is returning on April 22nd, 2022, after being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, is a nonprofit event, with a $20 pass granting access to all venues for the entire day. Stuart envisions a citywide jazz festival that reaches into neighborhoods with a rich history of the art form, and this year’s event may be the last Center City Jazz Festival as he explores a more decentralized model for the future.

Oteil Burbridge: From Jazz Roots to Dead & Co.

Oteil Burbridge, the bassist for Dead & Co., is known for playing outdoor sheds and festivals at high volume across the United States. Heavily influenced by his father’s love of jazz, Burbridge gained notoriety playing bass with Col. Bruce Hampton & The Aquarium Rescue Unit in the late ’80s. In 1997, he auditioned for the Allman Brothers Band, despite being unfamiliar with many of their songs. The final decision to choose Burbridge as the new bassist was influenced by famed music producer Tom Dowd. Today, Burbridge continues to captivate audiences with his unique blend of jazz and rock influences.


As music festivals continue to evolve, they reflect the changing landscape of the music industry and the diverse influences that shape it. From the rise of Latin music to the ongoing success of jazz festivals and the careers of musicians like Oteil Burbridge, the future of music festivals promises to be as exciting and dynamic as ever.