I booked tickets to a festival this week (Isle of Wight, since you didn’t ask). That’s already an exciting sentence, but if you’d have told me in January 2020 that this would seem like a monumental freedom that until recently seemed impossible, I’d have said, ‘That’s a very specific thing to say to me.’
Anyway, festival season is actually starting to rear its head again – from Primavera to south London’s brand-new Wide Awake Festival. I had thought I was a bit past the camping aspect of festivals (All Points East with a 20-minute drunken walk home, please) but after the past year, I could draw you the floor plan of my house with my eyes closed to the centimetre, and so living in a field for three days sounds pretty idyllic. However, let’s not look back with rose-tinted (and glitter-adorned) glasses too much. There’s a lot about festivals that would make COVID-19 rub its grubby hands together. It’s a breeding ground for disease and a hygiene shit-show (quite literally), so perhaps they’ll be better in the New World?
Here are my suggestions of how to make festivals better in a COVID-free future…
The Pooing Situation
Isle of Wight was the first festival I went to was the , over 10 years ago. My task was to bring the tent. I borrowed said tent from my brother-in-law. Someone hands you a tent, says, ‘Here’s my tent’, and you assume it’s a tent. It was, in fact, just a ground sheet and some poles. I thought that was the worst thing that could happen to me that day, until I went to the portaloo and saw a war zone. On day one, at 11am. Post-corona, please, God, please just give us decent toilets. Those ones in a sort of lorry with sinks and actual flushing loos. How many have you ordered? Double it. Oh, and we made some friends who had a spare three-man tent and mattress. The day was saved. My bowels were not.
We’ve all learnt to be so far away from the next person in a queue – be it at ASDA, the Post Office (possibly the nightclubs of the pandemic according to their endless, frantic queues) or your local hipster bakery whose £4 bread you accidentally got addicted to and feel like a class traitor. Just a random example there. Festivals need to realise that letting upwards of 50-thousand people enter and exit a place at a similar time is the worst idea on earth. We’ve had enough of queuing; we never want to see a queue again. The jokes about British people loving queues will be obsolete by 2034.
Let’s think outside the box. How about bringing people in on miniature trains like the ones you get at fairgrounds? Underground passages for hippies to take the long route? At least give everyone a different time slot on their ticket to arrive at. Get… punters to sellotape their ticket to their head so they can scan it instantly? No searching at the gates. Random spot checks instead. Also, let us off – we’ve had a year indoors.
Sex in tents
We’ve all been there. The joy of watching your mate pull as Jamie T launches ‘Sheila’, then losing them in the throng. You’re happy for them, smiling absentmindedly to yourself – until you realise there’s a 50 per cent chance they’re coming back to your tent. Which you share with them and which famously, being a tent, doesn’t have walls. You either have to get so drunk you wouldn’t wake up if there was an earthquake, find another tent, or accept the fact you might have the worst night of your life.
So hear me out. Designated Shagging Zones at festivals. A lovely, romantically lit tent at the entrance where you’re offered a complimentary drink and a live band playing some sexy tunes. Then through to a line of BodPods(™): take your shoes off and climb into these recycled floatation tanks that nobody goes to any more, condoms lovingly provided inside – and go for your life. The most your tent-mate will have to endure is the cuddle afterwards.
Girls on shoulders blocking your view of the band you’ve paid £160 to see
I’m calling this a COVID risk. Instant ban. You will be marched off the premises if you’re even thinking about it – and banned for life.
I know it’s been a hard year for food vendors, but if I ever have to pay £13 for a plain burger or nine quid for some chips again, I will riot. Give us discounts for good behaviour, recycling our last food container, not being on people’s shoulders, shagging in the BodPods (™), entering at our allotted time and flushing the loo. It all works.
Of course, none of this will happen. I’ll be in a bucket hat and some extremely questionable outfits, paying £25 for a hotdog, weeing behind a lorry and drinking too much in the queue, meaning I’m drunk when I’m putting up my groundsheet, thus having to decide who has the best tent to go back to. In the rain. Bliss.