Don’t get me wrong, I love music. I spent the entirety of my teens spending every penny I could muster on gigs. I have even compiled a list of every gig I’ve ever been to on my phone (I know it’s sad but you probably do it too), which I started when it began to reach the forties. Yet, I’ve never been to a festival. This usually elicits the same reaction as when I admit I’ve never seen or read Harry Potter: total disgust.
When I was 14, I branched out to attend the teen-must-do which is T4 On The Beach, but I’m not counting that. Festivals to me are muddy, gritty camping affairs which go on for days and involve little-to-no showering. However, whilst the idea of a flooded tent and grim toilet facilities doesn’t exactly sound amazing, it’s not the conditions which put me off (although perhaps a sunny INmusic in Croatia would be more up my street). Festivals are also just really expensive ways to see bands. Take Reading for example. There may be a couple of bands you’ve heard of, maybe even your favourite, but they will be mashed up with a lot of really unknown bands. Mumford & Sons alongside Modern Baseball. I know it’s an edgy way to discover bands you’ve never heard of before, but so is Spotify or Soundcloud, and they don’t set you back £213.
Perhaps I am boring, but I’d rather pick and choose who I want to see, rather than commit, in the case of Glastonbury, a year in advance to spending over two hundred pounds on seeing Kanye. I know it’s a game of luck, and the “experience is about more than just the music”, but as a music fanatic, surely music is the very reason I’d be spending my student loan on a few days in the mud? There is also a small part of me that feels like festivals have become too corporate and too much about celebrities and fashion since I’ve been old enough to attend. If I’d have been twenty in 1970 when the first festival at Worthy Farm was held, I’d have been desperate to pay £1 for free milk and a chance to see The Kinks. I’d have certainly come back the next year to see David Bowie for free. In my head, that’s what a festival should be. A cheap way to see lots of music in a basic environment; not a chance for the rich and famous to be photographed wearing the latest fashion and eating gourmet reindeer burgers that cost as much as my first phone. I know this nostalgia for a time I never experienced is ridiculous, but the comparison with festivals forty years ago certainly doesn’t heighten my desire to go to one today. Maybe if I went, I would be converted. Maybe I could get around the inherent cheapskate in me by working at one. However, until that point, I am proud to declare and defend my festival virginity.