The Glastonbury effect
You’d be forgiven for thinking from last weekend’s media overload that the beano on Michael Eavis’ farm is the only festival that matters
So, how was your Glastonbury? It doesn’t matter an iota if you’ve never stepped foot on Michael Eavis’ farm or haven’t spent a couple of days avoiding the fag-wielding Kate Moss in her hot pants. If it’s the end of June and the forecast is for rain, it’s Glastonbury season and there was no way of avoiding it short of shutting up shop, closing the internet down and going for a long snooze.
There must be many festival promoters out there who marvel at how this gathering has taken top billing in their game. From the rapid sell outs to the overkill coverage from such official media organisations as The Guardian and BBC (which may explain why every band who plays the festival is deemed to have played The Best Gig Ever), Glastonbury is the festival which now defines the festival season.
Such is the Glastonbury effect that you find a little Glastonbury sprinkled in the mud at every festival you’ll go to this summer. Just as every new band festival worldwide wants to be SXSW, every festival with access to a bucolic setting and a few cows chewing the cud in the next field wants to be Glastonbury. Some are the festival equivalent of tribute bands – hello Body & Soul! – while others think a few CDs hanging from trees, some hot tubs and unshaven, unbalanced jugglers will fit the bill.
Of course, it’s not Glastonbury’s fault that it dominates the discourse to this extent. It has many, many advocates – I know plenty who see he festival as a colonic irrigation for the ills of modern living – and it will continue to shine long after the current mania for summer events in fields passes. But there’s no harm in remembering that there are other festivals out there too and some of them don’t rely on wall to wall TV coverage.