Traditionally, British festivals are centred on mud, camping, and being so consistently drunk that you eventually just give up and vomit down yourself watching Jet (why is it always Jet) at 4PM on the Sunday. But this era – the time of "BUTTSCRATCHER," of Hunter wellies, of lads trying to set fire to tents in Yellow Camp on the last night of Reading – is coming to an end, as all things must.
In many ways, this is a good thing. Music festivals have been responding to changing tastes for years now, meaning that line-ups have become far less rock-centric. Whatever music you’re into, in 2019 there’s probably a place for you to get fucked up in a field listening to it, and I think that’s beautiful. But festivals as a concept are also changing in line with how we live now. They’re moving away from centring on music in the hope of getting as many untapped groups as possible to spend money.
Millennials in particular are susceptible to the “experience economy,” targeted by marketers to pay for adult play areas and coffee liqueur-tasting in order to show everyone on social media the cool places we’re going and ever-more outlandish crap we’re doing. As such, festivals – annual jewels in the crown of that experience economy – are changing and expanding beyond music to recognise that.
The other day, I got a press release for “The world’s first running, music and adventure festival,” and was hit by the realisation festivals are no longer just for people who are there to get a) pissed and b) sunstroke. Festivals are now also for the vile individuals who were good at the bleep test and think that “fun run” is a charity event and not an oxymoron. This is because the general rule has become this: if you can Instagram it, there’s a festival for it.
As such, 2019 will see events like a festival taking place on top of Europe’s largest skiable glacier, and, another edition of Jamie Oliver and Alex James' Big Feastival. It’s only going to get more ridiculous (not to mention more expensive), so I thought I’d get a slice of the sweet cash pie by thinking up some Dynamic New Ideas for Memorable Festival Experiences. I would like to say at this juncture that I am open to financial offers.
The Big Brunch
“With more and more millennials choosing brunch over homeownership, summer 2019 will see the launch of The Big Brunch, an immersive brunch festival. For three days in the Oxfordshire countryside this August, the trendiest meal on the menu will be celebrated with live panels, mimosa demonstrations, and an amazing soundtrack of 'Inhale/Exhale' by NAO pouring out of speakers slightly too loud to talk over, over and over again, for an authentic brunch experience.
VIP tickets include an image taken by this one waiter whose uncanny knack for flattering brunch snaps often captioned 'Sunday with the gang gang' has made him one of the most in-demand names in contemporary photography.”
“Festival with mum in 2019 at Mummapalooza, the UK’s largest ever gathering of mums*. Michael Bublé, the cast of The Greatest Showman, and The Concept of Going On and On About How Someone’s Left a Spoon on the Side headline, with an amazing selection of attractions like demos on how to Have It All by conveniently buying 14 essential products, and Looking at Philip Schofield and Doing Weird Sighs: Live!
*This statistic is subject to change as we get numbers back on the attendance figures for the 2017 opening of a Tesco Superstore in Coventry.”
“In 2016, Suggs found a new passion in life: tobogganing. Blending his two great loves – sledging and music – he founded Toboggan Fest!, which will see its inaugural event taking place at the Tamworth Snowdome this July. Designed for those after the thrill of the slopes even in the height of summer, attendees can sled and donut (skiing is banned at Suggs’ personal request) to a soundtrack of Madness and, to be honest, so far nobody else. Suggs just really loves tobogganing. This festival exists because Suggs, a public figure, just really loves tobogganing.”
“If you’re a young go-getter who works hard and plays even harder, you’ll love Work². Opening its revolving door for the first time ever in 2019, it’s the only UK festival celebrating millennial work culture.
Immerse yourself in our Open Plan Office Arena, where you can complete real tasks, and get around the festival – based in the City of London – on real, social media-friendly red London buses (which also get stuck in traffic for hours at a time!) for the authentic commute experience. With an enviable Huel bar, and a food selection of Boots meal deals, and those bentos from Wasabi that inexplicably end up costing a tenner once you’ve got a Diet Coke as well, Work² is not to be missed!"
Instagram: The Festival
“If you LOVE festivals but HATE bands, Instagram: The Festival is for you! We provide the bits of music festivals that your followers are dying to see – such as a field for you to stand in while having your photo taken, and an extremely far-away stage that doesn’t really show up in phone photos but will look alright on your grid – without any of the actual festival-going! You'll find glitter painting (biodegradable glitter! #oneplanet for a discount) and flower crowns on site, and state of the art big screens from which you can film blurry live performances with awful sound quality for your Story. Get your tickets today.”