On festival goers

Because of where I live I was lucky enough to go to the V Festival on Saturday last week and Reading Festival yesterday, and I couldn’t help thinking, while I was there, not only how different the two were but also about the kinds of people who go to festivals.

Obviously festivals are made to appeal to young people aged 19-34 year olds, but they only make up ~70% of the 75,000 strong crowd at V and the same percentage of the 90,000 strong crowd at Reading, and, while the number of people of each age group trickles off when you get towards the extremes, one can’t deny that there are a large number of older and younger people at these festivals, and I wanted to talk about the different approaches these people seem to have.

First of all I wanted to talk about why I go to festivals. I go with my dad and my brother, it’s kind of a tradition we have, though this is the first year we went to Reading, we usually only go to V. My dad likes it because of the atmosphere and the music, I think my brother likes a bit of both as well but his music taste is more in-line with what the festival offers. He likes big, popular artists like, this year, Hozier and Annie Mac. I go to V mainly for the atmosphere because the line-ups are usually very hit and miss. The only band I wanted to see at V this year that I listened to normally was Reverend and the Makers, though Tom Jones was the highlight (no one expected him to be good, and I expected him to be really bad) My dad got tickets for Reading because of the line-up as Mumford and Sons, for a while, was my brother’s favourite band and I liked Panic! at the Disco and a whole host of the other bands they had on after I looked up who they were (Bulletproof Bomb are like another Arctic Monkeys though they are tragically underrated. Not that this blog will do anything for them but, check them out) So we went to Reading more for the music, however, it had a far better atmosphere than V this year. Maybe because it was sold out and actually had good musicians booked… well, when I say that I tactically close my eye to Kendrick Lamar’s name.

But anyway, what I really wanted to get onto was the way different people approached the festivals. In Reading particularly we saw a lot of people just sit down at one of the stages, either the Main Stage or the NME stage; the two biggest ones. While I understand this way of doing things, I prefer to move about and see more, but these people just wanted to relax and have a few drinks, and I get that. It’s not that these were old people, by the way, who didn’t want to move around because they ached, young people, old people and families, any of them could be seen doing it.

Then there were the people who were 16-18 with their friends. I kind of pity these people because, even if they had a fake ID, the price of alcohol at festivals is way too steep for people without jobs to afford. However, they are most likely experiencing a festival for the first time, at least with their friends, and that can be quite a nice thing to see but there is, of course, the stereotype of screaming fangirls which makes everyone hate their presence at Festivals. I want to say also that it is misnamed because fanboys are just as annoying and screamy, perhaps more so because of how they tend to throw their weight around, which brings me to the next group of people I notices.

I’ll call them the super fans but it’s far more likely that most of them are just drunk or high. Lot’s of people who would just push past to get right at the front and then jump around and start mosh pits. I understand this type as well, though most pits are lost on me. I just wish they didn’t have to push past during the middle of the set or when people are already packed in like charisma in me.

I also saw a fair few people who decided that the dance tent was where they wanted to spend most of their time. I can see why because the dance tent is basically a 12 hour rave and is sometimes the only stage that has a tent and thus, on a rainy day, staying there becomes an appealing option. A word of warning if you want to try this out: it can get quite violent at the front so just bear that in mind. It’s quite fun if you’re just going with the crowd and haven’t really got to worry about staying with people, because then you’re able to avoid putting your face in someones elbow, or vice versa, in order to get somewhere.

And then, finally, there were the people like myself, my dad and my brother. While it would have been nice to have some rest, we spent all 12 hours there on our feet. Overall that day we spent about 18 hours walking or standing, but we get to see the maximum number of bands we could. Only half an hour into the festival we had already seen 3 different bands. The mariachi from the Bronx didn’t get much of a viewing though. We thought it would be a bit of a laugh but it was just a bit rubbish.I think this is what most people who go to festivals do. That said, people do tend to get in quite late. I understand that the whole day is a build-up to the headliner but, since you’ve paid £70 to get in, you might as well see a few others. Missing the first few I can understand but, at V, whose line-up really wasn’t that strong this year I’ll admit (the second year in a row that they haven’t sold-out) people were still coming in at 7pm.

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