The music festival for people that don't actually like music but still want to say that they've been to a music festival. Welcome to the waxed-chest, highstreet-clad world of V-Festival...
Last weekend I attended the commercial bastion of all music events, V-Festival in Chelmsford. A positively more poppy gig environment than I was admittedly used to but something that I was nonetheless looking forward to. Having spent the last few years only going to see bands deemed cool or ‘on-the-up,’ only for you to never hear of them again I was looking forward to cutting loose and selling out.
Music is after all, just a bit of harmless fun isn’t it and what could be more harmless life affirming fun than pogoing in a tent to The Saturdays or erm…Hanson? Certainly not V Festival I can tell you.
For all my high hopes and willingness to embrace ‘popular’ music I actually found a slow stewing of annoyance and disdain for my fellow man, all sloshed together in my stomach with overpriced beer and shit falafel. You see, what actually became very evident within seconds of touching down at V was that I was to spend my entire weekend surrounded by, and I say this very heavily, absolute cunts.
Imagine if there was a Channel Four juxtaposition of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and The Only Way Is Essex, only instead of being a TV show it was a music festival. Well, V Festival would basically be the Channel Five version of that. The entire place was packed steamingly tight with the most disgusting and heinous groups of people I have ever encountered at a festival. Gone was the usual camaraderie and happy festival atmosphere with everyone in it together. Instead I was surrounded by nothing but chavs with no respect for anyone else, all resonating in an apparent urge to actually hurt and ruin everyone else’s weekend. This is coming from someone who grew up in a predominantly hardcore metal orientated tribe.
A music festival for people that don’t actually like music but still want to say that they’ve been to a music festival.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no stranger to the rough and tumble of gigs and festivals but this was something different entirely. Throwing bottles at women, security guards cockily knocking flip-cams from my hands whilst doing a body search, people throwing beer and food into crowds that clearly had infants in the centre of them aloft on the shoulders of their parents. Yes, I realise that such things do happen at gigs and festivals but they need to at least be set within a bit of context. The middle of an Olly Murrs set or Aloe Blacc song called ‘You Make Me Smile’ is not really it is it?
Personally I blame the highstreet for making rock ‘n’ roll imagery so readily available that anyone with pocket money can wear the right threads with a faux swagger and pretend to like music. Encouraged by the over televised nature of the modern festival to then top off their look with a fashionable visit to a music festival. Because that’s basically what V festival is, a confused fashion parade for pricks. A music festival for people that don’t actually like music but still want to say that they’ve been to a music festival. That’s not just the hipster musical snob in me speaking out, although considering that both Scouting For ‘stick needles in my face’ Girls and Olly ‘just roll me down a hill’ Murrs were on the bill, I don’t think you could blame me if it was my inner snob.
It’s not just the yoofs that I’m talking about either. They can’t really be blamed as their only festival education is that of the style-scout blogs and shallow TV coverage. But no, full grown (often middle-aged) adults were the worst culprits of all. Swanning around in their glad rags and perma-tans like gruesome examples of mutton dressed as very cheap lamb that all the mint gravy in the world couldn’t mask the taste of. These were the worst of all puffing out their waxed chests and pouting their collagen lips, barging through everybody like the world owed them something – only this generation of adults didn’t fight in any wars or partake in any of the cultural revolutions usually used to justify such behaviour. They were just pricks.
I’ve read a lot of reports in recent years about the demise of the festival scene and failed to believe the hype. Preferring to instead frown at killjoy bloggers and past-it journalists but this weekend at V has definitely left me leaning towards a similar mind set. Something that I find very sad indeed. Had I never attended a festival before and seen how great they can be I would definitely reconsider attending another one.
Admittedly as far the general line-up goes, other than the odd bit of dodgy sound issues every now and then the only thing that I could really blame them for is offending good taste with their guiltily catchy hooks. It was really everything one would expect from a pop festival and certain acts like the aforementioned Aloe Blacc and king of hip-hop Eminem were genuinely brilliant. It’s just a shame that ‘popular’ music these days generally seems to attract riff-raff like flies around shit who don’t know the real meaning of fun or the worth of other human beings.
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