Friday, 23 July 2010

That's not the portaloos you can smell - it's the festival organiser's greed

Festivals are great, aren’t they. You get to sit out in the sun, listen to great music and enjoy the company of your friends.

Yet over the past few years festivals have been getting more commercial. Of course they have to make money to survive, I understand that. But sometimes I do feel like Alex in a Clockwork Orange, strapped into a chair with my eyes wired open, while advertisers try and brainwash me.

The Heineken International Festival of Benicasim is probably the worst – four days with nothing to drink but Heineken. The Hard Rock Calling gigs in Hyde Park are similarly bad, banning all outside food or drink, including water. Of course you expect this from some festivals, but one place I didn’t think I’d see it was Field Day, the new music festival in Victoria Park (London).

I’ve wanted to go to Field Day for some time now, but for one reason or another I’ve missed it. This year I made sure it was in the diary early on, and eagerly bought tickets. It’s the perfect festival for me – new music, just a short distance from my house, with the chance to hear new bands and also enjoy some old favourites. A nice day in the sun, with friends, great music, fine wines and good food. It’s the perfect Saturday afternoon.

Except it appears that the fine wines and good food part is off the menu as Field Day have banned any outside food or drink. The drink thing I can kind of understand – glass bottles can be dangerous. But why food? There is only one reason I can see – an agreement with the food stall holders to ensure maximum profit.

It might seem a minor point, but it niggles me, especially as they have a lovely page on their website claiming to be ‘green’. Well I tell you one way to be green – let people bring their own food. Home cooked food tends to have less packaging, uses less energy to prepare, and if you’re buying organic (or growing your own) is less damaging to the immediate environment.

So I asked Field Day on Twitter for a response to why they are doing this, but they ignored me. I threatened to come with sausages smuggled down my pants, but they still ignored me. I said all I wanted to do was have a nice picnic with my friends, but still they ignored me. I’ll tell you, there’s a pretty sour taste in my mouth at the moment, which has nothing to do with the bottle of cheap wine I drank last night.

I’ve spoken to other people about the no food and drink issues at other festival and I know I’m not alone on this. If you think it’s time for change too, then why not tweet Field Day with your thoughts. You can find them @fielddaylondon

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