Glastonbury weekend is upon us, and the bores are out in force. West London buzzes to the sound of hoorays buying drugs, and the army surplus stalls of Portobello Market are making a killing. Conversation in these parts has been reduced to a long in-joke. Ask what’s so funny and you’ll get the same response: ‘Yah, sorry darl – it’s a Glasto thing.’
The same is probably true in every posh postcode in Britain. I’ve never been to Glastonbury and probably never will – but God have I heard enough about it. ‘Veteran’ friends look at me as one would an idiot child, explaining the life-changing wonder that I’m missing. Frankly, the only thing duller than festival talk is drug talk, and since the one invariably follows the other, I’m yawning pretty hard at the moment.
It’s all so predictable, yet the coverage never stops. We know exactly what’s going to happen: it will rain. The BBC will run a story about mud. The guy from Elbow will do an ‘impromptu’ turn in fancy dress and Michael Eavis will round it all off by saying it’s been the best year yet.
As you might have guessed, I don’t like music festivals. I went to a few when I was a teenager, and even then the forced jollity and bogus rebellion left me feeling bored, angry and ripped-off. It’s not that I begrudge festival-goers their stupid hats, their wristbands or their right to get shitfaced in the dirt for three days. I just don’t see why they have to be so bloody smug about it.
But maybe that’s the appeal of spending the rent money on a ticket. The fact that Glastonbury is held at a place called Worthy Farm should tell you all you need to know. Everything about it reeks of eco-hippie self-approval. The inevitable TV spectacle of crusties, trustafarians and Chris Martin joining hands in a field is as neat a picture of sanctimony as you could ask for.
The Glastonbury pilgrims aren’t the worst. No, for a true picture of just how tiresome people can be, look across the Atlantic. If you’ve met someone who’s been to the desert free-for-all that is the Burning Man festival, you’ll know exactly what I’m on about. It creates evangelists, of whom the Brits are by far and away the most zealous.
The list of festival-related gripes is endless. (For reasons of space, there is no point giving more than a mention to the freewheelin’ types who bring their children.) As for Glastonbury, expect a lot of snore sagas about the mud when the weekend hippies come back. And if ever you meet someone who uses the phrase ‘the festival season’ as a synonym for ‘summer’, run for the hills.