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Actually, Festivals Are Way Better in the UK Than They Are in the US

The British respond: "We are the OG festival throwers and goers."
July 23, 2015, 12:36pm

You may have noticed that this week our friends and esteemed colleagues at THUMP US took it upon themselves to educate us Brits on why they feel festivals in America are vastly superior to ours in the UK, which you can read here. It's pretty cute.

Look, any opinion deserves to be heard, but bear in mind that also includes the opinion that supermarket cola tastes as good as the real thing. So while we're happy to entertain your musings, we also have no problem. Shutting. Them. Down.

So before you go all 1776, allow us to retort. Our festivals might not look as flashy as yours, they might be run by farmers, they might even resemble a septic tank explosion underneath a circus at times. But we are the OG festival throwers and goers. We were wearing out our wellies before you'd even packed those plastic champagne flutes into the back of your RV. Obviously, patriotism and the idea of nationhood are constructs, concepts developed during the enlightenment in order to structure and compartmentalise individuality, inducing territoriality, prejudice, and the rejection of alterity. But equally, slag off our fuzzy, farmyard fiestas and we will bring the pain. We've heard your criticisms, and this is what we make of them…

"Trash"

So apparently UK festivals are messier affairs than our US counterparts. Apparently we "lay amongst it like it's festival faerie dust, rolling about in cigarette butts and food waste with the joy of pigs in shit". Sorry, but if you've got enough time to think about effective waste management when you're at a festival then you're probably getting it wrong.

Festivals are supposed to be immersive, which also means immersing yourself in the melee of cereal bar wrappers, broken umbrellas and used condoms you will inevitably leave in your wake. Smell that? That's the smell of a weekend so lost in reckless enjoyment you have surrendered all inhibitions and are truly free. That, and you also have half a burrito on your back.

"The British Nitrous Oxide Problem"

If me having 30 second joy-ride somewhere between a plate of cheesy chips and a Hot Chip DJ set means you break your ankle on a discarded canister, well, that's a price I'm willing to pay.

"Public Co-Ed Urinals"

While you are correct that en masse, hexagonal, inner-facing, multi-share urinals do focus a lot of penises in on one point, they are also a fantastic venue for social interaction. Nowhere, since the forums of ancient Rome, has there been such a perfectly designed venue for conversation. Stood in a circle, facing one another, the time spent pissing can also be used to discuss the merits of the weekend so far, the best place to find narcotics, how inebriated you already are, and of course, how much you've been dying for that piss. Urination rumination. It's a gift.

"Cheesy Piano House as Patriotism"

Ok, this one hurt. According to THUMP US we have an unhealthy blind devotion to "cheesy piano house", largely down to our nostalgia for the 1990s which were a "woeful time for the country". I won't fully go down the smiley face shaped rabbit hole that details exactly why the Britain in 1990s was a world-beating time for dance music, but I will instead say this: I'd rather have cheesy piano house than big-drop-wobbly-pyrotechnic-fluff. At least we are getting gassed to something that has a slamming 4/4, an uplifting melody, and a gloriously clichéd vocal refrain. Your dance tracks sound like remixes of Eurovision song contest entries.

"Dance Music On a Main Stage is Weird"

THUMP US also reckons Britain is getting festivals wrong because "dance music on a main stage is weird." Hate to break it to you, but if we've got a dance music main stage problem, then you guys practically need an intervention for it. At least when a DJ hits a festival main stage in the UK, they don't turn the arena into the set from the next Star Trek sequel. Most of the time, the best DJs at British festivals are tucked away under canopies in the small hours of the morning. You guys put them on at 8PM, and then spend the entire set trying to set fire to them.

"Mud"

Don't blame us, blame God.

"The UK Actually Has Good Nightclubs"

This is a common misconception. The UK had good nightclubs. Sadly all the good ones are being closed by over-zealous licensing laws and redevelopment plans. And even if we did still have all the best nightclubs, we still need festivals. Our love for shuffling around grubby basements doesn't mean we don't deserve to get wavy under a starlit sky and a dodgy looking ferris wheel.

"The British Aren't Even Really Trying Anymore"

We don't need to try, baby. We were born to do this shit.

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