Festival season is well and truly here, and boy, don’t we know it! If you’re a follower of style blogs you probably have been bombarded for the past week or two with guides of what to pack for Coachella, what to wear at Coachella, how to get noticed at Coachella or where to find the most ‘Grammable spots at Coachella. You know that thing where you see a word written down so many times that your brain starts to convince you it’s suddenly spelt wrong, and no matter how many times you jumble the letters you can’t make it look right? I feel that way about the word Coachella right now. It feels like it is all anyone can talk about, and honestly? I just can’t make myself care.
To be fair, this isn’t a snipe about Coachella specifically. It’s all festivals. Though Glastonbury isn’t happening this year it will offer little respite, because there will still be Reading, V-Fest, Bestival, Download, Wireless, Creamfields, Isle of Wight – whatever music you are into, there will be endless coverage from now until what feels like the end of time. It will probably be at least October by the time we stop seeing girls pretending it’s normal to go to the pub wearing Hunter wellies with vintage Levi shorts and flowers in their hair, rain or shine, and probably even longer before social media is no longer awash with #throwbackthursday posts about how much everyone wishes they were back there. And at the risk of sounding a little miserable and bitter – I look forward to it being done with, because large scale festivals of any description just aren’t my thing, and sometimes it would be nice to read about something else, you know?
A lot of people assume the reason I don’t like festivals is because I’m ‘high maintenance’. They take one look at me trotting through the office in high heels and a circle skirt on a random Wednesday and say, ‘Now there is a girl who can’t live on dry shampoo and face wipe washing alone…‘ and on the one hand that’s true – it isn’t a lifestyle I’d aspire to long term! On the other though, I can slum it with the best of them, thanks! Yes, when I’m at work or out on a date night I like to wear pretty dresses and curl my hair and wear red lipstick, but that doesn’t mean I’m not capable of camping! In fact, I happen to love the outdoors! Camping was a regular pastime when I was younger, and most weekends these days I’m far more likely to be spotted walking the dog in a muddy field – sans make-up in jeans and wellies – than I am in a wine bar. So slumming it is not the reason I am not a festival goer (though I can’t say the idea of no showers and long drop toilets particularly thrills me…).
There are plenty of reasons I’m not interested. It’s expensive, for starters, and I just wouldn’t be willing to forgo my annual holiday for tickets. And while the sun is bound to be out at Coachella, most of the UK festivals are very likely to be blighted by rain, mud and general coldness which, personally, would definitely hamper my enjoyment. But more than that, I’m just not really ‘into’ music. I mean, I love music, I love to sing along in the car or have a crazy night of dancing with the girls, but I’m not really into anything you could class as ‘cool’ and I’d be just as happy to hear my favourites on the radio as see them played live. And I get that there are other reasons to go, but I can’t quite get my head around the idea of paying that much money just to ‘be there’, so you can show off on Insta and possibly spot a celebrity far off in the distance here and there. That’s like going on a skiing holiday just to sit in the hot tub all week, or going to a wine tasting and sipping water all day while your friends get nicely tiddled!
What puts me the most off is far more simple though – it’s PEOPLE. I am not the biggest fan of PEOPLE. You will notice I’ve used capital letters here – because it isn’t (most) Human Beings in general I take issue with, it is collective people. People in huge groups, all up in my personal space, being generally oblivious to other people’s needs and wants and presence. People will tell me time and time again that festivals are a magical place where everyone just wants to have a good time and are caring and respectful and all and sundry are just full of love and awe for each other, but even if that was true (which I don’t believe it is), I still wouldn’t want to find myself in the middle of it all. The thought of it gives me sweaty palms and palpitations, frankly. I once asked a friend, a committed Glasto-goer, how you make sure no-one goes in your tent and touches your things, and he said, ‘Oh, you just make sure you take your valuables everywhere with you…’ Well, that’s me out then, friend, because I don’t want people touching ANY of my things without asking, regardless of how valuable they are perceived to be!! I can just about handle a few thousand people at my local Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival once a year, but tens of thousands? No thank you. Hundreds of thousands of people? OH HELL NO!!
Now, I do understand that this is just me. I’m sure they really are amazing. I’m sure the atmosphere is incredible and they are memories you just will never forget. I’m sure if I actually went one year – and I’m not completely ruling it out forever, if someone, for example offered, me a free ticket – I’d agree that they’re OMG THE BEST THING EVER! But for now? I just don’t want to. And I don’t care if that means I’m not one of the cool kids! Do I like seeing what beautiful boho outfits everyone is wearing? Yep. Am I a little jel that I didn’t get to see an impromptu Destiny’s Child reunion? Of course. Would I give anything to be in California sunshine rather than English drizzle right now? DEFINITELY! But am I getting a bit bored of hearing about it already? Sorry, but yes.
Tell me I’m not the only one??