It seems everyone’s down on festivals at the moment. The other day, Jack White had a whinge about the bitter hardship of getting paid stacks of cash to play your music in front of adoring masses. He said:
They’re a necessary evil in the business. I don’t get excited about festivals – they’re not my favourite place to play.
The Cribs have been at it, too. At Reading, Gary Jarman told us: “Things aren’t what they used to be, man. The festival scene’s not what it was.” Admittedly no-one’s been quite as much of a grouch as Liam Gallagher. In 2011, the Oasis frontman said he never wanted to go to Glastonbury ever again, calling it “shit. Like Bond Street with mud. I’m not having it.”
No-one wants to hear bands piss and moan about festivals. Fans put in the effort to make these events amazing, why shouldn’t artists? We pay good money, trek around the country, and valiantly get into the spirit, no matter how awful the weather, or how rancid the food. Why be negative? Here in the UK we throw the best festivals in the world. The scene should be celebrated, not denigrated.
To illustrate my point, here are five festival moments that made my world that bit brighter.
1Florence And The Machine – Leeds 2008
While all my friends went to see The Blackout, I wandered off alone to a pretty empty Festival Republic tent to see the woman who sang on the 4Music adverts. Needless to say you couldn’t move in the tent by the end of her set. A mindblowing introduction to a singular talent.
2Kings Of Leon – Rockwerchter 2008
A festival mixed into a holiday? Oh alright then. While travelling around Europe my friends and I stopped off in Belgium for Rockwerchter. Kings Of Leon’s headline set was the best I’ve ever seen them perform – they debuted ‘Crawl’ and played with such vigour, determination and passion it was clear that bigger things were on the horizon.
3The Libertines – Leeds 2010
Every Libs fan at Leeds that year was clinging onto the hope that Pete would hold it together for the set. They played three songs and Pete and Carl walked off. Thankfully it was a false alarm. The roar when they walked back on stage was spine-tinglingly exhilarating and in the end, a minor glitch couldn’t ruin the momentous set.
4Coldplay – Glastonbury 2011
I’m potentially walking into a minefield of insults here but… I like Coldplay. I like them a lot. And Glastonbury last year was one of their finest moments. The haters need to give it a rest.
5Blur – Glastonbury 2009
Standing at the front of 100,000 people watching Damon Albarn utterly speechless, tears streaming, in response to an adoring crowd was one of the most special, emotional and moving moments of my life. It was a triumphant comeback, after which ‘Tender’ rang out across Worthy Farm into the early hours. Incredible.