Content is King!
When exactly did I stop enjoying festivals? That is the question I asked myself upon reading about yet another ‘major summer event’ that I had no intention of getting anywhere near.
Because I don’t, go that is – not any more.
I mean, I definitely used to go. Inclement weather, unsanitary conditions and foul food were no deterrent. I would be there. Now I have to ‘fess up, I don’t even know where my tent is!
So, what put me off?
Was it when they became so popular? Was it when the ticket prices demanded a small mortgage and you could buy twenty different types of Tofu burger?
Not like the old days, when you slept in a beer can – hell where you didn’t sleep at all, because the music went on all night! I went to some great festivals. Real ‘major events’. I saw groups like Pink Floyd, King Crimson, The Stones, Genesis (Peter Gabriel era of course) and Led Zeppelin.
Now the festivals are all so safe, so corporate, so accessible and so … dull. Wave your hands in the air – yeah, hurrah! ‘Twenty thousand people standing in a field’ as the singer of one of the last truly great festival bands sung.
Oh, horror of horrors have I turned into a snob? Or worse, just got old! Am I like Groucho Marx and I don’t want to join this club that will let me in with welcome arms and remove £200 from my wallet at the same time? What use is a counter culture when it just becomes culture?
And then my email ‘binged’ (it doesn’t actually, what ever happened to ‘binging’ emails?) and I received the details of activities at one of this summer’s science festivals. It was fabulous! So much going on: 100s of the world’s best scientists and science writers, workshops, exhibitions – even science buskers on the streets. Top quality entertainment! I had a quick search online and was amazed at just exactly how many science festivals there are during the summer – and each one offers something more exciting than the prospect of contracting dysentery in the rain.
And I suddenly realised: of course I don’t hate festivals, it’s just music festivals I have gone off!
Science festivals are great!
And the reason is simple, as with so many other things: content is king! I did not mind the mud and rain of a music festival when the content was so good. Now music festivals are full of second rate ‘chart acts’, ‘boy bands’ and talent show wannabes it’s not surprising that my interest has waned. Whereas, with a science festival, the content is always terrific! There are (hopefully) no science ‘boy bands’.
So, if you don’t fancy standing in a field this summer just find your local friendly science festival instead. I’ll be the one in the ‘Isle of Wight’ T shirt.