Alison Taylor on relationships: My friend has fallen for a chap she met at the Isle of Wight festival

Festivals are one of the few places now where people spontaneously chat to other humans

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The Independent Online

Wiling away my time seeing what I'll be missing at Glastonbury this year, I came across a flurry of stories about something called My Single Tent. I am a year late to the story, I discovered, and in hindsight I'm grateful for those 365 days of innocence.

My Single Tent is the opportunistic little sister of My Single Friend, one of the original internet dating sites and the brainchild of serial home-improver Sarah Beeny. Its aim is to help online-daters find love during the festival season.

Beeny reckons "festivals are fantastic places to meet people", and that this service is "a great way to check out fellow festival fitties before you go". Now, cringe-lingo aside – and there is lots, including "mosh pit dates", which is a phrase surely deserving of an unhappy emoji all of its own – it did make me wonder about the nuts and bolts of modern dating. Is nothing sacred anymore, Sarah? Yes, festivals are fantastic places to meet people. But does it really have to involve a smartphone and a wi-fi connection? Why can't people be left to their own devices? And by that I mean without their devices.

My lovely friend thinks she might have fallen for a dashing chap she met at the Isle of Wight Festival a couple of weeks ago. Her words after a dearth of text message: "I'd given up hope". Next thing you know, there he is, meeting her every night at the Ferris wheel at 7.30 pm because he didn't have a working phone. Have you ever heard of such a thing these days? "Every night I kept thinking he won't turn up, he won't turn up", she said. "Every night he was there." Without a mobile, and likely heavily under the influence, they still managed to meet.

That's the wondrous thing about festivals. They're one of the few places now where people spontaneously chat to other humans, in the flesh. And maybe take a chance and see what unfolds. For a start, you're less likely to be glued to your phone (despite Ms Beeny's best/worst efforts). You're also in the mood to let go which, I find, is fertile ground for potential fornication. All the usual standoffish behaviour and instantaneous judgements that come with online dating in the cruel city become largely irrelevant.

"Festival season" might be an annoying phrase. It might have been marketed to the point of poncho-wearing madness. But if you're single and looking to mingle, I'd work that season to the max. Don't digitally vet people before you go, though, because, you know, that's just not cool, man.

@lovefoolforever

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