This summer has literally changed my life. My whirlwind induction into the British music festival culture has opened doors I never thought could be opened, and enlightened me to the ingenuity of the human spirit.
Every summer without fail, the tranquil green pastures of rural England suddenly become crowded with revelers, covered in mud and donned with eccentric festival garb. They frolic around in a state of merriment, drinking jugs of Pimms and warm apple cider, and for the three or four days they’re there, nothing else matters!
They sign out from the digital grid, flip the bird at high fashion outfits, talk to their neighbouring campers, and dance with no inhibitions. Flags fly high, flares rocket through the crowds, people burn their campsites to the ground, and EVERYONE is happy.
And it seems the roots of these festivals go back along way in British history. Wild revelry is engrained into the way of life here as people let off steam and free themselves from the hideously polite lifestyle, and traditional social structure. Festivals are the sole element of life in the UK that makes being here 100% worth it (in my opinion), and it’s a credit to the determined, perseverant, weather enduring locals that will party rain or shine.
What’s more, not one subculture, age group or division seems to dominate the landscape. 70’s hippies party with their children. Grandparents high five boisterous young streakers, children cluster around candyfloss stands, while topless girls are getting stoned in the distance. It’s an all-encompassing and completely accepting environment that shouts freedom, togetherness and comradery. It’s utter bliss. We got along to Field Day, Glastonbury, and Wilderness Festival this summer and have 1000 memories that will be with us forever. Here’s a bunch of highlights and pics to give you a taste:
- Meeting the man who invented Silent Disco
- Proceeding to lose my voice at Silent Disco and not being able to speak for 4 days
- Wild Swimming in rivers and lakes
- A collection of creative Lionel Richie puns
- Dancing to Lionel Richie – it was like the world’s biggest karaoke party!
- Arcadia – the crazy spider stage installation at Glastonbury that literally melted my brain
- Hula hooping in a field with many other free spirited festival folk
- Making awesome and unlikely friends
- The day I wasn’t hungover and felt superior… (you can’t help but smile)
- Singing happy birthday to the Dalai Lama with 150,000 other people. And then listening to his address on mindfulness and kindness.
- Hearing the gospel that is Pharrell’s song “FREEDOM” live. Everybody was incredibly moved by the whole day, and even Pharrell himself cried on stage thanking the crowd for a life changing experience.
- The rock and roll vibe of people firing flares past your head into the night sky, and being totally cool about it.
- The seeming riot of people burning chairs and camping equipment, and the vibe remaining totally friendly.
- Incredible installation art and outdoor theatre. We went to a roaming Alice in Wonderland Opera and it was brilliant!
- Festival folk getting married in the fields.
- Paddi Smith falling over on stage, swearing like there’s no tomorrow, and then breaking all her electric guitar strings with her bare hands because she’s so “f£$%ing ROCK AND ROLL”.
- An incredible sea of flags.
- And feeling 100% thrilled about dancing while the heavens open.