What your festival choice says about you
Anyone know where I can buy a cheap two-man tent?
It’s festival planning season. Someone’s just started a “Tents and shit” WhatsApp group; on it, you’re discussing how many grams you’re getting and how you’ll be smuggling them in.
But what does your festi say about you?
Glastonbury (when it’s your first time going)
You ignored the hype for years, clinging faithfully to the favourite festival of your teens and telling anyone you spoke to that there’s no way Glasto could be worth the cost. Plus look at all that mud, there’s no way that can be much fun. But Alice and her mates went last year and they won’t shut up about it so here you are: frantically refreshing web pages at 8.59am on a Sunday morning in October. During the weeks before the festival you’ll get increasingly stressed: about what to wear, what drugs to take, and who you’re meant to see when there are over 200 stages to fit in.
Once you get there you’ll keep trying to call friends and arrange to meet up with them even though doing so will be impossible. You’ll spend a third of every day in the EE phone charging tent, oblivious of what you’re missing. Finally, on Saturday night at 2am, you stop trying so hard and just let the festival happen to you. And then you’re that person stumbling around Shangri-La, chatting to strangers about your spiritual awakening.
Glastonbury (when you’ve been before)
From the start of July, all you can think about is the wait until the next Glastonbury. Why can’t the outside world be more like Glastonbury? You post in your Glasto WhatsApp thread every few months with a link to some new remix or just a picture of you dancing and write beneath it “NOT LONG NOW”. It’s November, so it is. After the line-up is announced you’re the one sending around a colour-coded timetable of who your group should see with an attached Spotify playlist. You keep telling friends you might actually go to one of the political debates in Leftfield this time, that Corbyn has really inspired you politically.
Then you get there and halfway through the first night you briefly consider not sleeping for the entire weekend. Six hours later you’ve passed out in your tent and don’t reanimate properly until Sunday.
You’re still working your way up to Glastonbury and this feels like the perfect place to experiment with drugs and wavey fancy dress without the intimidation of Secret Garden Party. At least half the music you listen to is stuff your DJ-savvy housemate plays at pre-drinks, though the other half is definitely Icona Pop. You pretend you’re looking forward to a b2b set of Four Tet and Jackmaster, though every time you suggest “for jokes” that you should go to see the latest 80s pop reunion headlining the main stage, you really mean it. You’ve brought a lot of glitter.
You thought you were buying a Bestival camping ticket and now you’re stuck surrounded by young parents clinging to prams and the pretence they can still do this.
British Summer Time in Hyde Park
You like the idea of festivals in much the same way as you like the idea of music: best enjoyed from a distance. Why find a song you can really identify with when you could wave a hand in the air to the vague platitudes of a Mumfordx chorus and feel as real as the fake plastic trees either side of the stage? The fact you can be on the tube afterwards and home by 11pm only makes it better.
Face facts: you’re a bit of a chav. You’ll spend the weekend ogling female popstars, re-touching your make-up and joining in with the “duh duh duh” of Chelsea Dagger every time it’s played over the festival PA.
It’s like V Festival but for people who’ve been to Ibiza.
As much as you love angsty metal, bands who play in masks and the heydays of emo haircuts you’re still sufficiently in-tune with your inner 10-year-old and get excited when an ABBA tribute group pops up to do a “secret set”. Yeah, you like Bullet For My Valentine and talk all weekend about getting into “the pit” but don’t let that categorise you as some mopey goth. After all, would a typical goth spend their weekend shot-gunning warm lagers and flashing their tits every time they’re on the big screen? Exactly.
Beni is a perfect marriage of V Festival line-up with Magaluf antics so let’s face it, you’re probably from Essex. It promises to be hot enough to melt your actual tent so naturally the only clothes you’re taking are vests, bralettes and shorts. It’s your first festival abroad so you’re not quite sure what you’ll do about drugs but that’s OK because you’ll just chain-smoke for the whole weekend instead.
Isle of Wight
Too posh for V Festival, too mainstream for Bestival.
You’re drawn by the poster – you are sufficiently familiar with big dance acts and DJs – but you’re not cool enough to have booked a ticket for Sonar or any Croatian festival. You’ve got a big group of mates together and you spend the whole day walking around as a group. As a result you spend half of it waiting in queues for the loo, squeezing through crowds holding hands, arguing, and getting sunstroke. By the end of the night, you’ve have had enough fun to justify the pingers but not enough to make you want to go to an actual festival.
You’re under 16.
You’re under 16 and northern.
T in the Park
Want to go to a festival in Scotland where the only guarantees are constant rain, an appearance by the Snow Patrol and the threat of physical violence? You must be Scottish then.
You were listening to grime before Kanye rocked up at the Brits, you were into Drake way before Hotline Bling and you only refer to Kendrick Lamar by his first name. Everyone else is tired of you always pushing some new mixtape deep cut on them at pre-drinks but it’s not your fault. Blame your parents instead for having the cheek to give birth to you in Surrey rather than Brooklyn and ruining your life.
“What I don’t get about festivals is why more of them don’t involve foraged cocktails in the middle of a wooded glen, watching a secret acoustic performance by Django Django while a man dressed as a fox tangoes around you. All I want is somewhere that offers that, and some live poetry readings. Is that so much to ask?”
No Natalie, no it isn’t.