Why I Think Festivals Hate Me

This summer was the first in about a decade during which I didn't go to a music festival. And you know what? I didn't miss it. It was kind of nice not having to spend a weekend hopping from one swollen foot to the other, in the rain, in the cold, in a muddy field full of drunken teenagers, trying to listen to some band I'm barely aware of as the wind whips all the music away from me.

Honestly, for the last few years, I've really only been going to festivals because I feel I "should". Because some lingering adolescent part of me still thinks it's cool to go to the closest approximation of Woodstock I can find in modern day Britain, even though the only songs I recognise are either from adverts or from desperate 80s bands trying to milk a bit of money out of a revival tour.

Sonisphere covered in clouds

Steve still likes festivals, though. He likes them enough that some years he goes to Download all on his own. I feel the need to tell you that so it's clear I'm not going, "What are you thinking?" if festivals are still your thing; it's cool - we can still be friends. When you get back. If you don't tell me too much about it and we can meet somewhere warm which serves cake.

Because it's not that I think festivals as a concept are bad. It's just that I've grown lazy about music. And, also, festivals are out to get me.

You don't believe me? Here's my recap of the last five festivals for which I've bought tickets:

Leeds, 2008
I knew it was going to be warm so I was dressed in a floaty sundress and a big floppy hat, I was slathered in sunblock, I was consuming nothing but bottled water and I was hiding under a hedge while my friends went off and watched a comedian... and still, by two in the afternoon, I was throwing up all over a field while a cranky first aider tried to find out what sort of drugs I was on. Luckily, I was staying at my friends' house so they drove me home to a cool, dark room where I could sleep off the heatstroke; had I been in a tent, I've no doubt I would have been carted off in an ambulance.
Festival = trying to kill me with sunshine.

Belladrum, 2009
I was woken up on the Sunday morning by water splattering all over my face. The torrential rain was pouring through the seams of my spotty tent (don't buy your tent from a supermarket, kids, not even if is under a tenner) and I ended up trudging two miles in a storm to borrow sealant from a better prepared friend. It was a miserable day to spend in a field.
Festival = trying to drown me.

Miserable girl in a mask and a rain cape

Sonisphere, 2010
The festival was alright - small and friendly and just a bit on the cold side - but the train company hadn't bothered putting out reservations, so Steve and I ended up having to stand for approximately 331 miles of our worn out journey home. That is not an exaggeration - go and look up the distance from London to Edinburgh for yourself. And we still had to make it to Aberdeen after that. And our train was delayed.
Festival = trying to kill me with exhaustion.

Sonisphere, 2011
After those miserable experiences, I insisted on staying in a hotel last year and it was the single best decision I have ever made in my life. Ever. Give or take. Because it was bitterly cold and pouring with rain that weekend and I would have been miserable in a tent. Not even seeing Weezer live could have cheered me up. But, again, things took a turn for the worse on the journey home. While Steve was off buying sandwiches, somebody's enormous rucksack crashed down onto my head; I held myself together for the first few minutes, but, as Steve sat down and apologetically handed me a cheese and spring onion sandwich ("It was the only vegetarian thing they had"), the tears poured down my cheeks. The poor man spent the next hour wondering whether he was the worst boyfriend in the world/what sort of crazy woman he was living with that she would have a public sobbing fit over a mediocre sandwich because I couldn't get it together enough to explain that:
Festival = trying to brain me.

Sonisphere, 2012
Completely cancelled.
Okay, festival, I can take a hint.

Next year, I don't think I'm even going to try. Next year, perhaps I'll talk Steve into spending all that money - all that money; festivals are not cheap - on a weekend in Paris instead. And see if the Eiffel Tower collapses beneath us like matchsticks.


  1. Doing better than me. I've only been to one festival ever. T-in-the-Park in the early 90s. We drove, spent the day and drove back in the evening. I did see Pulp and Oasis though which was awesome. I watch Glastonbury on the Tv with a glass of wine. OK, bottle of wine.

  2. My feelings about concerts and festivals is that they sound really awesome IN THEORY but the actual execution just sucks in general.  Maybe I'm too much of a hermit!

  3. Haha! I've always suspected that while festivals seem cool, the reality probably isn't that great. I really want to go to one though! I bought tickets for Loopallu this year but couldn't make it - I hope to go to one eventually, even if its just to prove to myself that they're not for me!

  4. That's definitely the more sensible approach.

  5. Same here. I want to be in the seated section. And I think all those young girls should put a few more clothes on before they catch their deaths of cold.

  6. I think festivals are great as day trips (Belladrum is *really* lovely, if you can make that), but a weekend camping pass is just not for me.


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