It’s that time again! Festival season! When all of you – yes, you young people, with your shotta bags and perfect skin – cash in mummy and daddy’s money, or whatever you saved up all winter from your weekend jobs to buy a £200 festival ticket so that you can take ketamine and roll around in some mud while Clean Bandit or whomever shouts in the rain. Good times. Or maybe you’ve already done it – it is August, after all – and now you’re at home, weeping serotonin-depleted tears and picking gnarly scabs from off your knee.
All of which is to say: festivals exist and people in the UK like them – possibly even more than in other countries. We gave birth to Kate Moss who took it upon herself to pioneer ‘festival chic,’ for god’s sake. We have been the home of Glastonbury for nearly 50 years. We basically invented getting ‘on it’. Festival culture is nothing without us, or at least without Liam Gallagher in a parka with his hands clasped behind his back, whining “because maybaaaaay” into the mic.
But not all festivals are created equal. And not everybody who attends each of them are one and the same. So because we like putting things and people into neat, digestible categories, here’s what your favourite UK music festival says about you. Tag yourself.
Picture a venn diagram. On one side are ‘Latitude attendees’. On the other are ‘mums who get furious with waitresses when little Nimrod’s babyccino doesn’t come quick enough’. All names are in the middle. Daisy Jones.
People who go Bestival like to think they’re going to something that’s “basically like Glastonbury, but smaller”. This is wrong. These people are children. I don’t really know what to do about them except hope they reach a point where fancy dress isn’t a forced fun activity. Ryan Bassil.
You are one of three people. Most likely, you’re between the ages of 16 and 19 and are in full-time education. You apply highlighter as though your skin doesn’t already possess the natural glow of youth which, I’m terribly sorry to report, will drain faster out of your body if you keep going to Wireless to smoke your third-ever joint and drink Kopparberg on someone’s shoulders. You find it funny and not disgusting when a 17-year-old nearby wees into the plastic bottle of voddy cran that he just drained, all because he doesn’t want to lose his spot for Drake on the main stage. In the second scenario, you work full-time in marketing or something and only come on the Saturday to do a quick bump and absentmindedly bop to a set while appearing on your girlfriend’s Insta Stories. In the third, you eat Nando’s in the VIP bit all afternoon, reappearing only to catch the headliner set. You are friends with Jourdan Dunn. Tshepo Mokoena.
Have you ever wondered what 17,000 people in hareem pants look like? They look like one giant, writhing pair of hareem pants, a huge paisley boa constrictor, snaking its way through the East Midlands and leaving nothing but the stench of nag champa and home-brewed yeast brownies behind. Don’t believe me? Go to Shambala. Daisy Jones.
BRITISH SUMMERTIME AT HYDE PARK
Let’s be honest this one is gonna depend on who is headlining the night. Regardless of the act you’ve travelled via cross-country into London to see, though, one thing is constant – the #yes #festival #gettingthedrinksin #vibe before littering Waterloo station on the way home. “Not a bad way to spend a Saturday!” Ryan Bassil.
“Okay so what, it’s a crime to pay £499 excluding the price of a ticket, for camping accommodation that includes a tent some unnamed labourer erected before I got to the festival site? Well then, lock me up!!” Wilderness suffers from being considered a middle-class event, which is funny because as far as I can remember, having more money and privilege actually wasn’t a setback. Anyway. If this is your favourite – and you’re not working – you own a fully sequeined onesie, can detect the difference between a Treviso and Cartizze prosecco after two sips and like music to be background sound to a particular “mood.” Tshepo Mokoena.
RiZE (FKA V FESTIVAL)
If V Festival was your favourite festival – out of all of them, V Festival, your favourite – then I can’t help you sorry. Now rebranded as RiZE, since losing its Virgin sponsorship, liking V used to be like favouring orange flavoured fruit pastels or sitting next to someone on an empty bus: not normal. Then again, you could just be a nice Essex boy with walnut whip hair who wants a few cheeky pints and bants with the lads while doing gun fingers to Rudimental and checking out some absolute sorts, in which case, I salute you. Daisy Jones.
READING AND LEEDS
You’re probably 16 years old, in which case I don’t want to cause offence before you gear up for the GCSE results day bump of ketamine. Or you’re 55, wearing a sweat-aged Metallica t-shirt – totally fine so long as there’s no chat about the lack of a “rock day”. Or you’re 33 going on 17, and for some reason you’re carrying a tower of discarded paper cups (each of them worth no more than 10p)? Thanks, I guess! Ryan Bassil.
Man, I don’t even know how to begin this. The one and only time I attended Boomtown, I saw someone sat on the floor by a stage that hadn’t opened yet, smoking what definitely looked like crack cocaine at lunchtime on a sunny day. Later that weekend, a man I didn’t know handed me and my friend his baby so he could go pick up again. He was gone for 45 minutes. So look, you probably really like drugs, mate. You also may have spent a substantial amount of time in Bristol, listening to a recent graduate explain their vegetarian kitchen co-op business plan to you. Music has to have a wahwahwomp and what you’d describe as “dirty dirty bass” in order to qualify as an act worth seeing. You’ve chosen BoomTown in recent years because “Glastonbury just got too fucking corporate. Ed Sheeran headlining? Fuck that.” Tshepo Mokoena.
If this isn't your favourite festival, you probably hate camping, and music, and other people. Fair, tbh. Daisy Jones.
Do you own a Fiat 500? Shave your head? Been to Ministry of Sound, or owned one of their CDs? Not really sure some aesthetic maverick out there ticks all three boxes, but if you can check at least two then you’re probably a couple pills deep and four hours away from some kind of domestic argument at Creamfields. Ryan Bassil.
END OF THE ROAD
This festival is a real one. Genuinely, most people who attend are lovely – bar the children, but that’s just children overall in adult spaces – and the line-up always comes through with some jangly, synth-y, pleasant indie. If it’s your favourite, you’re the sort of person who truly goes to festivals for the music, and alway chooses EOTR because “seriously, they just never book a dud, it’s outrageous”. The ‘festival as experience’ thing is worthless to you, but that doesn’t mean you won’t still enjoy posting one selfie from the weekend during the golden hour where your skin looks sick because you’re drinking a bit of sour beer and not taking any drugs. You’re going to be married before your 31st birthday. You love your family and they adore you. You went on both Women’s Marches in London, and the anti-Trump protest. Tshepo Mokoena.
You can follow Noisey on Twitter.