The Forty-Five - The problem with festivals

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Hello,

Good Platjoob?

Last week we wrote about our excitement of festival season being just around the corner. This week, we’re feeling less than enthused after reports from Primavera Sound in Barcelona were of endless queues, a lack of water and overcrowding making it a pretty miserable affair. 

Prima boasted one of the best lineups of the summer. Lorde! Tame Impala! Charli XCX! That, combined with the relaxing of international travel regulations made it a hot ticket. A summer holiday featuring all your favourite bands? It’s not hard to see why so many Brits signed up. But it seems that organisers got greedy – packing a once relaxed festival to the max, so much so that safety became an issue, with punters unable to get water, let alone a pint.

The disappointment of a badly organised festival is real. Alright, there are worse things going on in the world but particularly this year – the big, glorious return –  it deserved to be seamless.

But it’s not just overcrowding plaguing the festival scene. Two years off has affected the industry in immeasurable ways. Festival bookers who have gone without an income have been forced to raise prices. Artists, in a similar boat, are charging more for bookings, desperate to recoup lost income. And with a real need to sell tickets, pre-COVID pledges of gender parity or at least some positive steps in the right direction, have gone out the window with bookers leaning on old-reliable stadium bands to shift tickets. As this Guardian article reports, younger fans are being turned off by both prices and talent. 

So what do we do? Keep the faith and hope everything levels out? Lower our expectations? Get high and forgo the bar queues? Maybe a combination of the three. 

Festivals need our support to survive – smaller ones, in particular, many of which already haven’t made it out the other side of COVID. But punters deserve to get what they paid for, too. Particularly with the cost of living rising so rapidly. 

So, assuming a summer without some fezzie fun isn't an option, here are a few practical tips to try and enjoy your time spent in the fields this summer:

  • If you’re attending a day festival, particularly one of the London ones, arrive early, or late. Peak entry time will be about 2-3pm. Assume it will take you an hour to get in. Be pleasantly surprised if it’s faster.

  • Invest in a reusable water bottle. Single-use plastic is banned at many music festivals for obvious reasons. While this is incredibly positive, on a hot day, a can of water from a bar just won’t keep you hydrated. If your water bottle has some kind of filtration system, even better. We're not suggesting you drink from the taps outside the portaloos but if it's that or dying of dehydration...

  • Think about your buzz. Expect big bar queues and big bar prices. Can you handle a sober festival? If each drink is going to cost you £15 and take you an hour to acquire, start later in the day, so you’ll definitely be tipsy for the headliner rather than spending all day getting increasingly pissed off by queuing. Embark on a round system with mates, so that you’re taking it in turns to brave the misery queue. Getting your kicks from something other than booze? Plan accordingly (nobody wants a grubby pinger off some lad in the crowd) and be prepared for heavy searches on the way in. 

  • Don’t buy a ticket on the basis of seeing one act. Covid cancellations are still happening – The Strokes and Bleachers pulled out of shows just this week – so vow to enjoy the experience as a whole, check out some new acts and make the most of every minute so if your fave has to pull out, it hasn’t ruined your weekend. 

  • Got issues? Be loud about them on social media. Bad press for festivals = bad ticket sales. In Primavera's defence, they dramatically approved things for days two and three after fans were vocal about their experience. Calling out gnarly conditions will force the festival to address them, if not in time to save your weekend, for next year.

  • Plan your exit. If you’re tired or need to get home by a reasonable hour, then consider leaving earlier than planned. At Coachella, leaving 20 mins before the end of the headliner saved 90 mins on the journey home. Exit crowds aren't fun.

  • Remember, we are bloody lucky to be doing this at all in any capacity so do try and enjoy it, even if it means drinking from the portaloo taps.

    Oh, and if you're going to Glastonbury then obviously none of this applies because they're pros.

    In other news...

NEW ON THE PLAYLIST THIS WEEK

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs made an almighty return this week with 'Spitting Off The Edge Of The World', their first single in nine years. Listen to this and new tracks from Angel Olsen, Ena Mori, Big Joanie, Maggie Rogers and more on this week's playlist.

"OWNING A VAGINA IS LIKE AN ADVENTURE SPORT"

Moonchild Sanelly doesn't mince her words. Arusa Qureshi met the South African superstar-in-the-making to chat about female empowerment, collaborating with some of music's biggest names and why she's entering her "Grammy phase". Read the interview.

SOMEONE'S MADE A PHOEBE BRIDGERS HEARDLE
Alright, we'll come clean. We've been having a little skulk in the Phoebe Bridgers Discord channel but look what treasures it's unearthed! A Heardle made only of our gal's songs! Test your Phoebe knowledge and if you're late to Heardle, check out the OG music game, here. 
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