There is a nasty, snobbish part of me that is endlessly annoyed by the mainstreaming of festivals over the last decade or so. Festivals used to be weird. They were the places you went to be as weird as you were normally, but without normal people laughing at you for it. Now they've become an integral part of the British summer, a standard holiday treat, front page fucking news.
People go "glamping". People expect showers. (To clean themselves. Not from the sky.) People see the tiniest puddle of mud and gleefully jump in it, smearing it over the faces and shining naked thighs because that's what you do at a festival! You wear hot pants and designer wellies and one of those stupid pissing plastic flower garlands in your hair, you get a henna tattoo on your hand and drink your £5 Tuborg and go ker-ay-zee, because that's what you do at a festival! It said so in The Guardian.
That nasty, snobbish part of me wants to say to these people: you didn't earn this.
You didn't spend every birthday from your first to your twelfth at dodgy folk festivals learning to unicycle. You didn't learn to swim in the weir behind the beer tent. (Swimming was mildly discouraged in later years because agricultural run-off was turning the kids' skin an interesting shade of purple.) Your childhood games did not include Jump The Cowpat or Guy-Rope-Skipping. Your formative moments did not involve doughnuts with your dad, spliffs with your sister and face-painting sessions with your mum. Your tentative first kisses were not enjoyed in stolen moments at the back of the marquee while folk-reggae-punk bands shouted about the poll tax. You weren't taught to juggle by a
You didn't go straight from picking up your GCSE results to hop on a train to the Reading Festival. You didn't survive four days in a tent full of mentally ill sixteen year olds with nothing to eat but chocolate brownies and the nearest portaloo half an hour's walk away. YOU HAVE NEVER WAZZED IN A TWO LITRE COKE BOTTLE WITH THE TOP CUT OFF.
* Actually, two things annoy me more: Cristiano Ronaldo and the patriarchy.
Which is completely irrational, of course: demanding some kind of entrance criteria based on how peculiar your parents were would be somewhat counter-productive to this vague festival spirit I'm trying to conjure up. (Headline in The Independent today: "