Since I was maybe about eleven I’ve been on and on at my poor parents to allow me to go to the hallowed fields of Glastonbury, or at least T in the Park. Understandably, the answer has always been no and will continue to be a no until I’m eighteen. Even then I’ll only be going because there’s not much they can do to stop me and not because they approve. Every year I watch all of the festival coverage and long to be amongst the sea of fans, to sing along to the “indie anthems” with thousands of other music fans and to go for days without a shower. This, my mother will never understand.
I can’t say I blame her; it does seem like a rather odd thing to do. Paying a considerable amount of money to stand sweaty, tired and dirty in a field surrounded by the unwashed masses to see with no home comforts a band you could watch on TV. Considering the basic facts, the attraction of a festival isn’t something I quite understand, but then perhaps that adds to the appeal.
Thousand of music fans all excited and elated to be where they are, all as unshowered and messy as one another, all united by their love of music. The roar of the crowd as an artist walks onstage, the ascending cheer at their collective recognition of a song as the intro rings out across the field. That’s where the appeal lies.
Watching Florence and the Machine at Glastonbury this weekend has only made me more eager to go. The connection between Florence and her audience was phenomenal, the thousands of audience members completely under her ethereal spell. On paper this sounds incredibly pretentious and airy fairy and maybe I’m one of the very few who view festivals in this way. Some must agree or have their own equally strongly felt reasons for making their pilgrimage to Glastonbury. The crowd sizes speak for themselves and tickets are gold dust.
Of course, I say all of this without having experienced a festival myself and so have no real authority to declare the less than desirable hygiene an unfortunate, but very tolerable, downside. For all I know my very sensible mother could be entirely right and upon my return I might very possibly vow never to repeat the experience. But from the outside looking in, festivals seem like the most glorious celebration of all the things I adore (fashion included these days) and I will literally count the months until I can see if I’m right for myself.
For now, I will continue to watch the BBC’s coverage avidly and imagine myself there. I’ll let you know if I love it as much as I expect to in four summers time.