Festivals. The love and now (sort of) bane of my life. Gone are the days of smacking myself in the face with my own welly (don’t ask); having to be carried back to my tent an intoxicated mess and finally loosing my flip-flop’s mid afternoon and spending the rest of the day/night barefoot. Good times.
Back in my youth festivals weren’t a commercial sell out; they were relatively few and far between and basically the best thing since sliced bread. Now, in an over fluctuated market, they have lost their special appeal and excitement. Personally speaking as a veteran that is.
The official festival season (in my book) is kicked off with the undisputed heavy weight and probably the most world-renowned. Glastonbury. Have I been, No. Bitter about it, Extremely. I think I’ve got more chance of getting a date with Kate Moss than getting those elusive tickets. 175,000 sell out in a matter of minutes, so how does the middle class father of 5 who seems to be interviewed on BBC yearly, claim it’s his 8th year attending in a row? Is he personally affiliated with the Eaves family? Glastonbury mascot? Whatever the case, he’s taking a precious ticket away from someone more deserving…or a least to someone who hasn’t been before.
I attended my first festival at the age of 16. Reading. I hassled and persuaded my parents to let me go (and buy me a ticket), and they literally had no clue what it was all about apart from MUSIC. Loud Music with like-minded people. Thinking about it they were so naive allowing me to go and little did they know the case of beers I took would be all gone by the Friday and we’d be necking bottles of vodka purchased from the local Tesco with a fake I.D.
As you can imagine and probably know, drugs are the seedy underbelly to all festivals. They aren’t really mentioned or documented but its clear to the trained eye they are there with abundance and it seems festivals are a right of passage for young (and old) adults who want to experiment. Admit, me and my mates have done our far share of mind altering chemicals that potentially elevated our whole festival experience. No shame.
Now, as a parent my views on festivals have changed ever so slightly. Would I be happy to send my 16-year-old son to a festival alone? Would I been deemed selfish or over protective for not allowing him to attend and have the life changing experience I had? Possibly. Are they even worth the extortionate money nowadays? Debatable.
Festivals are a staple to any adolescents summer and attending at least one is essential. In an age when a lot of pressure is forced upon young adults being able to forget these stress’ for a weekend, relax, and catch their favourite artist or band perform will no doubt leave long-lasting memories. I still look back to my first festival with fond longing and the complete sensory overload that you cannot prepare for.
As I mentioned, festivals and my parents didn’t really mix. I’m sure they were aware of Woodstock and the hippy/peace-loving vibe but didn’t fully understand the true nature of the UK scene. For example, I told my granddad I was going and to catch some footage that was being aired on TV. In true form the only part he caught was Beth Ditto from The Gossip parading around the stage in the bra & knickers well, being quite vulgar. Cue panicked a telephone call to my parents, who thankfully laughed it off.
So what am I trying to say here…
Festivals are great. No doubt about it. There will always be the odd individual who goes with the wrong attitude and looks to spoil people’s fun with their actions. They fail to embrace the spirit of what a festival is and sadly from news reports it seems that serious crime is now a frequent occurrence.
To answer the question above; Would I be happy for my son to go to a festival alone at the age of 16? Yes. I would like to think that I will raise a child that is considerate, law-abiding and sensible enough to take responsibility for his own actions, whatever the situation. I understand that at times they may get caught up in the moment; there is no responsible adult to answer to and that it may be their first time away from parents but this doesn’t excuse some of the behaviour I have witnessed.
The whole festival talk has been a recent discussion in the household, hence the blog post. Due to the abundance of festivals around, next year we are looking to take Hux to a local family orientated festival (Latitude). It seems strange that our whole festival experience will differ to accommodate a youngster but one that im truly looking forward to. Start em early as they say!
What are your views on festivals? Alien to you? Cant deal with not washing for a weekend? The thought of a port-a-loo already making you gag? Any tips on festivals with a 2-year-old? Let me know/share festival stories…