10 Awful Things About British Festivals That Should Take A Hike


You’re in the countryside for four days, couldn’t you have just left your iPad at home? It’s not a sentient being, it won’t get bored or lonely. Oh, and now you’re holding it up and obscuring the stage with it are you? No no, that’s okay, I didn’t really want to see Fleetwood Mac anyway. Silly really, if I was going to watch the whole thing through a bloody screen I would have saved £225 and caught it all on the BBC with my feet up on the couch tucking into some Ben & Jerry’s.

Stag parties


Festivals should be “top bantz” free zones, so that means definitely no stag dos. Not content with ruining the old town squares of some of eastern Europe’s most beautiful cities, tribes of charmless neanderthal throwbacks have infiltrated our beloved music festivals with their collective grunting, chanting and trying to score drugs off any black guy they see. Yes, go and throw up on Prague’s astronomical clock if you have to, you might be a national disgrace but it’s better than you caterwauling along to Elbow at the top of your voices en masse. Okay, if we’re going to compromise, then sure thing, you can go to V if you want.


Acoustic guitars

Acoustic guitars aren’t bad per se if in the hands of Bernard Butler or Bert Jansch or Django Reinhardt, but played next to a fire in the festival camping area at 4 in the morning, the pissed player tends to lose that gentle touch that might convey the inner beauty of a sensitive soul. Oh look, someone’s got down the intro to ‘20th Century Boy’ by T-Rex and is now playing it for the 16th time in a row without the rest of the song. Oh, they’ve moved on to screaming the chorus of ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ now have they? Fuck a duck.

Brand embargos

We’ve all been there. You want beer, but they can only offer you Carling instead. You want a Coke Zero but they can only offer Pepsi Max. Bleugh. What’s more you have to queue up for an hour to get tokens before you can queue at the bar for another hour to get a version of a drink you’re not that partial to, but there’s no alternative now you’re trapped somewhere for the weekend. Urgh, the niggling disappointment with each prohibitively expensive purchase will eat away at your soul until you’ve run out of drinks tokens and harmed your chi irreparably. Your only hope of getting the thing you actually want now that the nazi brands have locked down free trade is to get a helicopter into the next town, and that’s only likely to happen if you’re Prince Harry.



Prince Harry

Festivals were once the preserve of tree-hugging hippies and dangerously obsessive pop nerds. The demographic has got older and somewhat posher. I mean come on, supermodels turning up in wellington boots and people prefixing the word festival with “boutique” is one thing, but actual bloody royalty turning up and getting in on the revelry is going a bit far isn’t it? I mean there’s posh and then there’s throwing a jumper over your shoulders and sinking a Pimms with Marcus Mumford. Prince Harry, you’re not allowed in, go and drown your sorrows at Mahiki, old chum.


Urgh, Morphsuits are the creepiest things. There’s always a man (it’s always a man) trussed up in one of these faux derma membranes jumping into photographs where he’s not wanted or thrusting himself on others being tactile and ghoulish. Where are his friends? Of course, he doesn’t have any. Also, if you’re going to ban Prince Harry then you have to ban morphsuits, because otherwise Prince Harry might sneak in in a morphsuit.



It’s been debated for a long time now whether or not flags should be allowed into festivals, and although it might be nice to come from Norway – well done! – it also means that the likelihood is someone behind you can’t see because you come from Norway. And why do flagbearers always have to get so close to the stage? If you want to wave a flag about then get thee to the Proms or Wimbledon or the UKIP party conference or whatever the equivalents of those are in other places.


No, you can’t call the Fifth Amendment, this isn’t America and your right to bear an inflatable sheep is falling on deaf ears. And I’m definitely going to pop your blow up phallus you big idiot. How old did you say you were again?


People who turn up and sit and drink under gazebos without moving all weekend.

We’re all aware of these people. They might have pitched not far from your tent. What are they here for other than to glug cans of Tennent’s Super and shout abuse at passersby? They’ve certainly not come to see any bands, or if they have then they’re up and back so quickly that nobody has spotted it happen. Nope, nobody has ever seen them move from their gazebo ever. In fact they might still be there from last year’s festival and years gone by before that come to think of it, which would save them buying a ticket in order to waste it again. Note: Gazebos are also on Glastonbury’s banned list.

Shit t-shirts

Now I might be infringing on people’s rights to express themselves here a little bit, but come on, that dude in the ‘All I Do Is Fuck & Party’ t-shirt is clearly letting his attire fib for him. Any “Keep Calm…” derivatives or anything that implies you smoke a lot of hashish should go on an exhaustive list of banned t-shirts, which includes some band t-shirts too. Trust me, when you look back at your Reading photos in years to come you’ll thank me.

Anything we’ve missed?