Why all the fuss about festivals?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

I think we can all safely say that summer has been and gone. Regrettably that means no more Wimbledon, no more open air theatre or film screenings and no more strawberries for another year.  However, there is one summer trend that I won’t be sad to see the back of: festivals.

For the last few months I’ve watched as, every weekend, friends and family (who are old enough to have known better) have traipsed up and down the country, to attend arts and lifestyle festivals. Finally, I thought I had better find out what all the fuss was about and so, against my better judgement, I gave in and signed up for my first festival.

Never again. As I sat squashed among a car full of camping gear, I listened to my friends (and confirmed festival enthusiasts) rave about the crowd, that festivals typically attract. Festival goers, they informed me, are just fabulous. So free spirited and spontaneous. Such characters.

I couldn’t disagree more. On arrival I found a field full of identikit women and men clad in the skimpiest of denim shorts and Hunter wellington boots, at £100 a pair. Recession? What recession!

When you’ve had enough of people watching, you get to spend an hour queuing for a warm beer before sitting in your tent and listening to a band (whose speakers system sounds like it was snapped up at a car boor sale), play a set. Alternatively you could always attend a talk or, if that sounds a tad too highbrow, ‘enjoy’ an exorbitantly priced Indian head massage – that bears only a passing resemblance to what ayvurvedic doctors practice (for peanuts), in India.

Then when the action winds down, it’s time to go to sleep – in a soggy field with a few thousand fellow festival goers, all of whom you can be sure will want to use the 10 toilets at exactly the same time the next morning.  For this privilege, you are asked to cough up, upwards of £100 per ticket….

I returned home with my mind made up: my first festival will be my last. Next year, when my mates are going to Glastonbury, schlepping to the Isle of Wight or standing in the rain at Reading (with the media types, models and modelisers and slew of celebs that seem to have fallen hook, line and sinker for festivals), I’ll be at home with my iPod, personal toilet and fridge full of ice cold, beer. ‘Boutique’ festivals are the way forward, and so says all of me.


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