Festivals have become a huge part of the British Summer. OK, so some would say they always have been from back in the day when thousands of freewheeling hippies would ascend upon Isle of Whight and Glastonbury to soak up the sounds of Hendrix and The Stones. Traditional Festivals hit a rocky spot as pop well and truly took over in the late 80-90’s period as muddy outdoor climates were swapped for stadiums and large Charity events. It’s fair to say that with the early to mid nineties grunge era and bands like Nirvana and Oasis making guitar music cool again, Festivals started to once again blossom. Large corporate brands (Virgin, Carling) saw a niche and fat cats lined up to put their names against the ‘UK teenage mini holidays’ that festivals were becoming.
So we are now faced with the Modern Day Festival! Is it really a festival at all anymore? Well, in my opinion, not as we know it. V festival, once renowned for serving us the cream of the crop from the UK live music scene in its early years, has snowballed into a corporate branded mess of eclectic nonsense in terms of a line-up. Walk around Hylands on a Saturday afternoon and you might think you’ve walked in on a gut wrenching episode of TOWIE or Hollyoaks. These perma-tan, chavs are the same people that are more at home at Party in the Park (Capital FM) bashes but now that ‘indie’ is cool and ‘...that band off the telly are playing the only one song I know…‘, impose themselves on other true music festival fans. I’m not saying there’s no place for these type of festivals, but for the love of god, keep them separate!
OK so I’m picking on V Festival (although, in my eyes it is the main culprit) but the same can also be said for Glastonbury. Not so much the corporate side, as we all know where Eavis stands on that, but the way it has introduced acts such as Dizzie Rascal, Jay-z and Beyonce. We hear how they are ‘Keeping the festival current‘ and ‘moving with the times’ etc. If I go to a music festival I want to see musicians that have sweat blood and tears working their way up to earn a place on the coveted stage. I don’t want to hear an ‘overpaid and over here’ rapper rambling along to a backing band and throwing V signs, nor do I want to hear a POP girl group who have basically taken songs written for them and mimed them to backing tracks for the best part of their career, before finally dipping their toes in a live performance which sounds like a hindered alley cats being strangled. I want to hear what has been steeped in British festival tradition. Real artists playing real music for real music lovers.
I’d like to see a return to the days before festivals were ‘cool’, who’s with me?