How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Music Festival: Actors

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So Ashton Kutcher allegedly got in a fight at the Stagecoach Music Festival. I know, it's a little mind-boggling, that whole idea. Ashton Kutcher was not only at a country-music festival, but reports say he somehow managed to stay true to his douche-roots and get into a fistfight with a security guard over a chick. I guess it can get more demoralizing than when he made an ass out of himself at the Country Music Awards. I'm borderline impressed with his abilities.

But this blog isn't focusing on good ol' Mr. Kutcher's constant fame-seeking.This is about all of the actor fame-seeking that's been taking over music festivals and stomping them into the ground.

Thanks to antics like Kutcher's at Stagecoach, the media has stopped focusing on the music and turned instead to celebrities and their behavior at said festivals. Music festivals have become completely about the actors who flock to them, and nothing more. So now, instead of a focus on the music, there's a billion paparazzi roaming around like ants, taking pictures of Mischa Barton's ass cheeks.

Before you call me out on it, yes, I know that this heading for first-world rant territory. A "Dear Unnamed Actor/Actress, please stop attending music festivals solely for the purpose of promoting your crappy sitcoms because you're making a mockery out of them" rant. It's what I do best.

So here's where the problem is, from my vantage point, anyway. I can tell you what Lindsay Lohan was wearing at Coachella this year (a midriff top, which made major headlines). I can also name, off the top of my head, at least ten other actors who were photographed wandering around the California desert, but I'd be hard-pressed to tell you about the antics of any of the artists performing. That's pretty pathetic, considering I write about music stuff on the regular.

Blog after blog has been devoted to the celebrities of Coachella and their festival-fashion mishaps, festival hook-ups, and their drunken antics, but rarely is there a concerted effort to talk about the music.

I don't know if the Stone Roses were a decent act, or even if they were royally pissed about being bumped to make way for Blur, who headlined at the last minute. I had to dig through page after page of nods to the actors spotted at Coachella before I found anything about The xx and their set (which was described as "smoldering," by the way). There's more available on Paris Hilton's ugly headband than there is on Dog Blood. That's mind-blowing to me.

I'm going to claim victim status on my admitted lack of knowledge on the actual music at these festivals, though. I'm being assaulted by headlines about what Lindsay Lohan wore at Coachella rather than what musician threw a tantrum, and which band killed it onstage. There's something completely off about that, considering the festival is purportedly focused on the musicians at hand.

And no, I'm not suggesting that photographing celebrities at a music festival is, in itself, some major crime against music. I mean, they're famous. They're photographed at the grocery store, and that doesn't mean that they're ruining the integrity of the produce aisle. But they're also not going to Kroger and acting like utter asshats, either.

However, many actors (cough, Kutcher) are acting like asshats at music festivals. Kutcher's brawling takes the cake, but many a celebrity has a festival sin or two under his or her belt. With the Austin City Limits Music Festival -- where a few celebrities have been known to hang out -- announcing its lineup this week, I'm sure we'll have some tallies to add to that growing list.

Christian Bale was spotted at ACL 2011, and Val Kilmer showed up at Fun Fun Fun Fest last year, both reportedly working on Tree of Life director Terrence Malick's forthcoming film set in Austin. Even if no one else shows up, we can probably count on good ol' Mr. Matthew McConaughey to be there with bells on, since he lives in Austin, is fond of taking off his shirt, and even once managed reggae singer Mishka at ACL 2006.

Even if they're behaving, it's not like they're hanging out under tents and shying away from the attention while focusing on the music. They're wearing hippy-dippy costumes and using the festival as publicity, turning what was supposed to be a massive collaboration of great music into a sandy, ridiculously silly catwalk. Just stop.

Musicians usually don't crash the red carpet at (for example) the Screen Actors Guild Awards, all leathered-out and clutching a guitar and whiskey bottle in either hand. So maybe it would be slightly more appropriate for these hangers-on to show up at music festivals without all the fanfare, leaving some room for a little talk about the actual music being played for once.

I mean, that's what these things are supposed to be about, right?

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