There is something about modern festivals that just, to me, doesn’t ring true.
In my time, I’ve done a fair bit of camping. Quite a few ten day efforts with the Scouts, and a couple of long walks with overnight stays in a random tent in a field in the middle. You pitch the tent yourself, you check the layout. You wash in a basin and you shit in a bucket that gets emptied daily and the contents buried into a hole that is dug by one of the group. You do something physical during the day, you gather wood and make fires for cooking. You camp.
what’s called camping at festivals isn’t anything like that. Yes, there’re tents involved but that’s about it. There’s no sense of actually preparing; there’s no sense of acceptance that you’re in a field and that you need to make allowances for that. You sleep in a tent, yes, but most people insist on bringing an air matress. Instead of washing in a basin you join a queue for a shower, into which the men take three bottles and a loofah to make yourself shine. God alone knows what the women brought in, because there’s strict gender separation so that nobody gets at all uncomfortable. there are special places for using hair straighteners. There are extensive facilities for charging mobiles and places to get a manicure.
It’s all very depressing. I like the idea of a festival, because it’s something different from normal every day life and you get some music in the middle of it. Unfortunately, most people want to bring the mundane parts of life with them. Somewhat lacking in adventure.
Some of the music was good, though. Pendulum were, as I’d expected, fantastic. Nothing beats dancing like a loon to some of the random drum and the bass. Others that were better than expected were McFly (they knows their place, and don’t take themselves seriously), the Noisettes (whose frontgirl is too big for them, IMO), and the Streets. The Human League are as polished as you’d expect after a lifetime of performing, the Lightning Seeds much less so. My weekend was vastly improved because Oasis didn’t turn up. All the people who didn’t belong there (Katy Perry, Lady Gaga) were as dull as you’d expect.
Other problems? The security was shit. Yes, they all had their security registration and proudly wore their government approved badges, but they didn’t actually seem to be any good. Let that be a lesson to people utterly dependent on state registration – being approved just means that you can do a paper exercise, not that you can actually do your job. They couldn’t take control of a blind puppy, and they didn’t even have the authority of Gordon Brown at the dispatch box. It was laughable. or it would have been if they hadn’t been so incapable of stopping people getting crushed. Standing at the front and asking people politely to behave, because y’know, people might get hurt is not crowd control. Hiring a bastard with a microphone and a bad attitude would do it better.
So, in summary. Some good music, and the company I was actually in was excellent. The rest of the people there fitted into the “10% are total cocks” rule, and the organisers were too pandering to silly whims and not sensible enough with security and organisation.
V 2009 – minor fail. I suspect that somewhere new may need to be found for next year.
“My weekend was vastly improved because Oasis didn’t turn up.”
Finally! I have found the voice of reason!
Well, ’tis true. They’re a bunch of dullards. And them not turning up meant that the whole festival joined with me in disliking them. If for different reasons.
My favourite was the printed t-shirt that I saw not half an hoir after finiding out about the cancellation: