(by John Robb – from Louder Than War webzine)
It’s been a mixed summer for festivals, a real sense of soldiering on with the awful weather conditions.
In the wettest summer since records began I seem to have spent the summer wading through mud or trying to perch of tufts of grass and defying the wearing of wellington boots.
If there is one tried and tested rule in rock n roll it’s that women can look great in wellys whereas men look like old farmers.
It begs the question- have we hit a crossroads in festival culture?
The festival boom started in the late sixties and boomed in the post acid house period when big gatherings became the norm. The culture has accelerated ever since to the roughly 700 festivals that there are in the UK this summer.
There have been several cases of festivals going bust, some using the weather as an excuse and some ring spectacularly wrong like the punk festivals in Bath and Portsmouth.
With a large amount of festivals there is a case of naivety or badly planned bills and also a sense of the hijacking of festival culture far away from its counter culture roots to a burger and chips circuit of soulless corporate events where the music is a hotch potch of mainstream indie acts peppered with pap starlets with zero charisma flogging their hit.
The weather hasn’t helped either and it’s been quite a grim experience going to festivals on those days.
Is it time for rethink?
Do we need more ground cover? Do we need better facilities that take into account the inevitable mud bath? Like proper pathways and some kind of shelter? Do we move some of the festivals indoors or to holiday camps?
Does anyone want to address this or do we feel that it is fair to charge people a lot of money so they can grin through gritted teeth about the ‘festival vibe’ whilst caked in piss stained mud?
Will people keep travelling abroad for the warmer festivals?
Are we content with the some of the bills? Does the ironic pop stuff work at festivals? Are we losing site of festival culture?
Or is everything great out there?
(reply by Neil Crud – of link2wales.co.uk)
I think I’ve done my fair share of festivals over the years and reported on them on my site and it’s evident that the corporate pigs with their money talks agenda are screwing it up… The demise is all about the money and the quality of the line-ups.
Even John Robb’s beloved Stone Roses got it half wrong – the line up was (almost) spot on (Plan fucking B!!?? – in a Skrewdriver t-shirt??) – but the prices once an audience is captivated were (and always are) hiked beyond the reasonable. Yes, we will make the effort for something as momentous as the Stone Roses, but it’ll mean we can’t afford another one that month, possibly longer cos it’s such an expensive outlay.
People are voting with their feet, not only are there too many to choose from and every price is doubled once you’re inside, but the dross that are getting on the bill is shocking..!
One trip to V last year put paid to me ever returning… Olly fucking Murs, fucking Rhianna, Sabre whatever his fucking name is, Plan fuckin B (him again), The fucking Wanted, The fucking Saturdays, Tinie fucking Tempah…? I’m about to lose mine if I don’t stop..!!! These aren’t bands, they’re not even musicians, they’re production line karaoke bollocks created to take the money from the kids and ruin our festivals. And don’t get me started on the glut of Tribute Bands taking the places of real bands with real songs… The whole thing stinks.. We need a punk rock revolution and we need it now…
I’m off to Rebellion in a couple of weeks – £130 for 4 days of REAL bands, AND a new bands stage has been added.
Review to follow…