If you loathe idiot behaviour, repeats and getting ripped over then you should steer clear of the major UK festivals next summer.
Getting trashed and being aggressive have somehow become popular pursuits on the circuit, spoiling the atmosphere for people who are there to enjoy the music. Throw in the soaring costs and acts that have been booked a million times before, and it would seem to many that the scene is dying a slow and expensive death. What happened to the innovation and escapism that once made these weekends so exciting?
Image: Gavin Lynn
It seems that loads of teenagers attend the bigger festivals with the sole aim of rebelling. Try to explain to foreigners why there are sometimes riots at our festivals, and you’ll have a pretty difficult time and no doubt feel a little ashamed to be British.
Spending a weekend in a field where you have a good chance of being robbed, hassled by meat-head security and witnessing acts of random vandalism isn’t that appealing.
Something else that isn’t appealing is how much this will cost you. With tickets to the big festivals now costing anything up to a whopping £200 this experience isn’t exactly cheap. Consider £15 for an extra morning of camping and £10 for a meal, and you’re talking about a pretty expensive weekend. Once it’s over, if you’re a student like me, you’ll be working every second of overtime there is to re-stabilise the bank balance.
What often makes this worse is that you’re not paying for anything new: that amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity to see a singer-songwriter at this year’s super festival already headlined that other festival last year, and this other festival the year before. Organisers at the bigger festivals appear to have stopped taking risks and must believe that there are no new artists out there who are capable of pleasing 60,000 people.
So, what’s the alternative? Well, if you really want to go to a music festival to listen to great music and experience something unique, there is still hope! Boutique festivals are resurrecting the dead festival scene, and there are now a number of smaller gatherings that have a genuinely unique vibe. And get this, you can even watch loads of new acts that you’ve never seen before. Small World Festival in Kent, Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire, Sunrise Festival in Somerset and The Secret Garden Party are all doing things that little bit differently. Eco toilets mean that you don’t have to endure the infamous porter loos, cheaper snacks save pennies and the organisers seem to have remembered something essential about festivals- they are about community and great music as well as making money!
It’s no wonder that those seeking truly brilliant large festivals are heading into Europe, with Budapest’s Sziget and Spain’s Benicassim putting England’s biggest festivals to shame. If you’re as tired as the UK’s big festivals as I am but want to make musical plans for next summer, check out our picks of the best European music festivals
Do you agree with me, or do you enjoy attending the UK’s bigger festivals? Speak your mind in the comments below.