Do summer festivals sizzle or fizzle?

By | Category: Travel news, Travel rumblings

Friends and family are beginning to book tickets for this summer’s slew of festivals. I flattered they thought to invite me along, but as regular readers of CD-Traveller will know: I am not a fan of festivals.

Last summer – my first one in the UK in five years – I watched with horror as every weekend, friends and family (who are old enough to have known better) 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 so, against my better judgement, I gave in and signed up for my first festival.

I can safely say: I thought it would be my last. As I sat squashed among a car full of camping gear, I listed to my mates (all confirmed festival enthusiasts) rave about the crowd that festivals 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 shirts and Hunter wellington boots, at £100 a pair. (Recession? What recession!)

When I’d had my fill of people watching, I ‘got’ to spend an hour queuing for a beer before sitting in a tent and listening to a band (whose speakers system sounded like it was snapped up at a car boor sale) play.

Finally, it was 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  in the morning.  For this privilege, I (and my fellow festival goers) were required to cough up, upwards of £100 per ticket….

I returned home with my mind made up: my first festival would most definitely be my last. Fast forward six short months tho,  and I am being urged to consider Croatia this year owing to, wait for it,  the country’s sizzling festivals!

Forget the mud and endless queues at UK festivals… it’s time to swap my wellies for flip flops and check out Croatia (which this summer will be home to eight electrifying festivals) or so the argument goes. I am told that Croatia is the music scene’s best kept secret.

The season kick starts in June with INmusic (29-30 June), a two day festival in Zagreb, described as ‘Glastonbury’s sunny Croatian alternative’. Then there’s the Hideout Festival (29 June – 1 July) over on the island of Pag, which takes place across four beach-side clubs. The  summer season continues with back-to-back festivals throughout July in the tiny town of Tisno on Murter Island; Garden Festival (4-11 July), Electric Elephant (12-16 July), Soundwave (19-23 July), SuncéBeat (25-31 July) and Stop Making Sense (2-6 August) before wrapping up with the world’s biggest dubstep festival in PulaOutlook Festival (30 August – 2 September) – which is held in an incredible abandoned fort in this ancient Roman city.

My friends are urging me to reconsider my festival ban claiming that in Croatia, it is easy to combine the fun of a festival with a chilled out beach holiday or a fascinating cultural fix. However- after my experience of the UK festival circuit – I am yet to be convinced. So over to you, dear reader … in the words of The Clash, “Should I stay or should I go?”


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