Everything you know if you’re a person who hates festivals
‘Mate can I borrow your roll mat?’
It’s raining. You’re knee deep in mud, your tent has become home to a wandering band of sixth formers that are NOSsing their tiny, shiny little minds off in it and your best mate Mark, who you’ve known for years and years, is telling you that he can’t move because of a weird pill he took 45 minutes ago. Welcome to any festival in the UK.
It doesn’t really matter whether it’s Bestival or Creamfields, Glastonbury or T in the Park. Festivals are the shabbier, uglier cousins of real holidays where you go with your actual mates to places that are warm and fun. There are no beach bars, no little umbrellas in fruity drinks, and a thousand litres of rain. Festivals are miserable places where good times go to die.
Of course, there’s a weird, persistent conspiracy afoot: millions of otherwise intelligent human beings decide that being in a field, being pushed around listening to Bondax is where they should spending what little time they have in the sun, every year. Sometimes several times a year.
But not everyone feels this way. And being the odd one out when everyone is going nuts for festivals isn’t easy.
It’s not just limited to summer
Sometime around February or March or whenever tickets go on sale for any festival, you’ll have a conversation that goes a little like this.
Your friend Mark: I need to use your computer, phone, iPad and fax machine. I need to use them from 9am, probably only for a couple of hours. I also need you to sit here with me refreshing the page. Also, would you mind writing down my sort code and 16-digit card number? It’ll just make it easier. Actually, I also have to get tickets for the others, so if you get through, can you request the max? By the way, do you mind lending me 200 quid so I can put the deposit down and pay for the coach?
It’s terrible value for money
Go to thomascook.com right now. Click on the little box that says 7 day all-inclusive holidays for £299. Pick literally one of the hundreds of options that aren’t muddy bogs in the South-West.
Glastonbury tickets cost £228. Once you’ve forked out for a tent, a coach there and back, some booze, some drugs and a burrito made by a former city-worker who lives in the van he serves from, you’ve blown £500 in three days and you don’t even have a tan to show for it.
Posh wellies, not-posh wellies, flowery wellies, pink wellies, wellies from petrol stations on the M1, wellies from Harrods, Hunter wellies, girly wellies, manly wellies, Tilly’s wearing wellies, Milly’s wearing wellies, Poppy’s crying because some bitch is wearing the same wellies as her. Wellies are awful. Wellies are condoms of the feet. All the sex appeal of a sturdy pair of crocs with none of the comfort. They are too long, you need weird socks to wear underneath and I want nothing to do with them.
The acts are always the same
Enter Shikari have played at the following Reading festivals. Reading festival 2007, Reading Festival 2009, Reading Festival 2010, Reading Festival 2011, Reading Festival 2012, Reading Festival 2014.
Look under the mainstage headliners of your favourite festivals. Look below the Elton Johns, the Adeles, the big-money names. It’s a sea of the same average bands you were listening to when you were 16, but now you have a job and know that there are brighter and better things out there. But no, you’re off to the “Port Stage” to hear Annie Mac smash out the same set, with slightly newer generic bangers.
You won’t get to see the acts you actually want to
The sprawling nature of festivals means that not only is it a 25-minute walk from the main stage to the dance tent, but someone will want to go see The Vaccines, who are obviously on at the same time as Skepta. And then, just like in many a bitter custody battle, the once happy group will have to pick. And no one will be completely happy with their choice, because they picked the person they didn’t want to piss off and not the the act they actually wanted to see.
Girls will always want to go on your shoulders
Everyone will really fuck you off, but you can’t leave so you have to sulk in the tent
There’s a reason why humans made real shelters and no longer live under canvas.
There will be sun, but only for 45 minutes of the whole weekend
No one comes on holiday to England for the sun. English tourism is usually large, dusty buildings with an attached cafe where they charge you £6.95 for a cream tea. The sun, if it manifests, is an unexpected perk. The problem with this is that you’ve chosen to go to a field where your enjoyment of a weekend is pegged to the whim of whoever the fuck controls the weather in England. Spoiler alert: it will rain, a lot.
Someone will try and police your limited supply
“Oh you’re doing coke this morning? Well it’s Thursday, and you’re going to need that for Sunday, and remember you wasted a pill last night so you can’t do a pill for Kanye, you’re gonna have to wait and do it on Saturday.”
It’s actually quite grim
In 2009, an 18-year-old from the North somewhere called Charlotte Taylor went to Leeds Festival. She had a great time until she fell into a pit filled with human excrement and was stuck there for 20 minutes.
I’ve watched mates not shower for three days, shag in piss-filled puddles and use horrible soaked-with-everything T-shirts to wipe the grime from their horrible faces. You don’t even get that in Magaluf.
Every festival is difficult to get to
Did you know that the price of the Isle of Wight car ferry nearly doubles when Bestival’s on? Did you know that Gottwood takes about 12 and half hours to get to from London? I once spent 10 hours in a car that was about 30 degrees for seven hours just leaving the carpark.
They’re all pretty try hard
There’s something a bit cringe and ‘organised fun’ about the level of coercion that goes into making sure everyone and everything is on ‘theme’. Why does everyone have to dress nautically? Why do I have to pretend to believe in healing crystals? Why are white people allowed to get dreadlocks? You shouldn’t have to pay £11 quid for a pie just because a man with an unhealthy amount of whimsy is serving it to you somewhere near a giant Lionel Richie head.