Leading article: Another weekend, another festival...

Share
Related Topics

The summer festival season kicks off in earnest this weekend with the annual musical jamboree on the Isle of Wight. Unfortunately for those in attendance, the weather forecast is for showers. Some argue that the outlook is just as depressing for the great British festival tradition.

Glastonbury, the biggest and most revered of them all, which begins in two weeks' time, has still not sold all its tickets. What makes this remarkable is that the festival has been hugely oversubscribed in recent years, with applicants forced to jump through all manner of hoops.

To some, Glastonbury's surprise spare capacity reflects a deeper malaise. There are complaints from some quarters about the direction the major festivals are heading. They are certainly more expensive every year, with prices now typically costing considerably more than £100 for a weekend ticket. Festivals also often feature the same artists, making them rather indistinguishable experiences. Amy Winehouse, for instance, will be playing this summer not only at Glastonbury, but also T in the Park in Scotland and Bestival on the Isle of Wight. Some of those who remember when the British festival scene began in the 1960s and 1970s also lament its growing commercialisation and a dwindling of community spirit among revellers.

The controversy that broke out when Glastonbury's organisers announced earlier this year that the American rap star Jay-Z would be headlining was a good example of the angst that surrounds the festival circuit. In reality, all that the row exposed was the stubborn insularity of much of the British music scene.

But there is no doubt that this silly row symbolised the problems facing organisers. There are too many festivals for the market to support, with dozens of new ones seeming to emerge each summer. And now the sector has hit an economic – and, some would argue, creative – downturn. Actually, some growth is in response to the commercialisation of large festivals; thus, we have events such as Furnessfest in Cumbria, and Two Thousand Trees in Cheltenham, which eschew corporate sponsorship and make a virtue of their relative modesty of scale.

In the end, the market will correct itself. The UK has a flourishing live music scene and festivals have become an extension of that. A few showers might be on the horizon, but there is no reason why music fans should not enjoy a long, hot summer.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Foundation Phase Teacher required

£90 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Exciting opputunities availabl...

Learning Support Assistant

£65 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Due to the continual growth and...

Learning Support Assistant - Newport

£65 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Due to the continual growth and...

Operations Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am currently recruiting for an Operati...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Prime Minister David Cameron walks on stage to speak at The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) annual conference on November 4, 2013  

Does Cameron really believe in 'British Values'?

Temi Ogunye
The Lada became a symbol of Russia’s failure to keep up with Western economies  

Our sanctions will not cripple Russia. It is doing a lot of the dirty work itself

Hamish McRae
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz