ALL PHOTOS (unless credited otherwise): Unsplash
It’s Almost Festival Time…
THE weather is still chilled and…
most of us cannot wait to see the back of winter! As the temperatures start to hit double-figures; our minds turn to festivals and a potentially busy diary. The collective wardrobes will be rearranged and prioritised – wellies and festival gear ahead of the winter clothes! – and we will all start to decide which events to attend. I feel we all need the energy and excitement of festivals right now. Glastonbury is enjoying a ‘fallow year’ – allowing the fields to replenish and recover – and that means other festivals can step up. You can check out all the festivals this year - but among the highlights are Latitude Festival (12th-15th July) and Isle of Wight Festival (21st-24th June). Outlines takes place from 2nd-3rd March: there are few major festivals before then. We do not have to wait long for it all to kick into gear – once the weather improves... – but there will be many clearing their diaries, booking time off work and preparing for the upcoming delights. Many feared the absence of Glastonbury would be a huge vacuum and loss. Whilst it is a shame the event is not happening this year; we need to give the land time to rest and, if anything, it builds anticipation for next year! I am seeing a lot of new, boutique festivals spring up. I don’t believe you can really have TOO many festivals, to be fair. Music is such a broad church that it means someone, somewhere will want to get out and see some live music.
IMAGE CREDIT: Getty Images
Camden Rocks Festival happens is on 2nd June: a chance for those diehard headbangers – and those who like a proper, decent band – time to meet and mosh. There is the more accessible and broad In the Park Festival on 27th May (I think it should be written in lower-case but I cannot bring myself to do it! There are Dance festivals and Folk attractions: most people are going to be catered for this year! Why I wanted to write this piece was to encourage people to get out there. I have attended local festivals but have always been put off by the cost of attending a big festival. I have always wanted to go to Glastonbury but, by the time I have commuted down to the site; there is already that transport cost – and all the food, drink and various items I will buy during the day/weekend. It can be daunting considering the costs but, if you limit yourself to one or two festivals a year – it does not break the bank and is worth the investment. Regardless of the weather – you’ll likely catch a bit of rain! – the sense of togetherness and fun is evident. If you are a first-timer; do a bit of research and you’ll find a festival to suit your tastes. Most get going around May/June and run through to about September – there are a few either side but the big ones fall during these months.
Many people have been feeling down and despondent lately. The cold weather and fatigue – work and personal life – means they have little energy to get out there and get to gigs. I have written about independent venues and how, in a week where they are being celebrated; we should set some time/money aside and visit our local one. Preservation and dedication should not be reserved to a single week: committing to further investigation and study should be part of every music-lover’s soul. I am going to get to gigs this year and, if I can rustle some bodies together, get to a smaller festival. We all spend too much time worrying and working; being cooped up - and not being as sociable as we should. The antidote to the winter blues is the summer sun: getting into the open and experiencing festivals around the world, not only Britain, is crucial. Marketing budgets have increased and, with the power of social media behind them; organisers have been able to get more people in. Many of the major festivals have adapted to growing demand for live music and provide the consumer more for their money – in terms of food, entertainment and options at each site. The more people come to festivals; the more money that can be spent booking top acts and a range of eclectic artists.
2017 was a record year in terms of festivals overtaking other forms of live music – I feel that will continue this year. Although there are fewer female headliners than there should be (something that needs correcting) I am excited by the options out there. I mentioned how new festivals are popping up here and there. Ever genre should be represented and given it chance to shine. As I plan the rest of my year; I am keen to get to a big festival and soak in all the colours, scents and sounds. Being around like-minded people and experiencing great and varied live music is a perfect way to boost the mood and banish the winter glumness – and create a treasure-trove of memories into the bargain. I urge people to do the same. It might take a bit of research but, depending on your preferred choice of music; you’ll find at least one festival that suits you. The BBC has its Biggest Weekend festival. It is a four-day festival and will have a site in England, Wales; Northern Ireland and Scotland. That happens in May and is a perfect introduction for any festival virgins – with a mix of mainstream and newer acts playing. It is a great time to plan your festival diary and start saving the pennies. We all deserve a treat and there are few better ways of witnessing music at its peak than a festival. There were fears, when Glastonbury announced a fallow year, there would be nothing worthy taking its place. Do your research and you will find some great alternatives. Maybe they are not on the same scale as Glastonbury but that is not to say this year will be a washout. So many new and existing festivals are waiting for you to embrace them. With that said, and the weather as chilly as ever, start thinking ahead…
DUST those summer clothes off!