For my money, festivals are one of the best ways to spend a weekend. If I had more money I would gladly hit as many of the Euro festivals (and beyond) as possible each year, sadly I don’t have that luxury and have to settle for one or two moments of triumph in summer.
However, it isn’t all bands, beer and fun. I mean it mostly is, but there’s always a few issues petty people will take issue with, and as a petty person I have compiled a short list of those annoyances.
Insufficient Preparation for Thor throwing a hissy fit
You can’t control the weather, that’s a given. If it rains at a festival, it rains, there’s nothing you can do to fight it. You can however prepare to handle the rain. There’s nothing worse than one utterly brutal rain storm turning the front of the stage into a mud bath, unless you’re at Glastonbury and want to get plastered over Facebook in a fit of social media fame gluttony, then it’s pretty good.
The bullshit move is not doing anything to sort the issue. One of the last times I went to Download Festival they had properly prepared for the onslaught of rain. There was hay to be spread over the ground helping soak up/solidify the mud below. There were boards put down for pathways, there were even drainage ditches to help the water escape.This was a stark contrast to a few years before where they had nothing, the mud claimed victims arse after victims arse as they fell, tents were flooded and any pathway became an icerink. No one wants rain, but festivals should at least prepare.
Making it hard to get a bottle of water
Looking at you Hellfest. I love you, but let food stands sell drinks along with the bars. At festivals people want beer, that fact goes without saying so you could rightfully assume the bar queues will already be long. Combine the places that sell beer with places that sell water and you’ve got yourself a perfect storm of queuing.
They at least sell them for a decent price, there are sadly festivals out there that charge you a fortune for water. This brings us to free water points, if you think you have enough, you don’t.
God Awful Clashes
Clashes happen, they suck but they’re almost unavoidable. Yet some festivals have some inexplicably similar bands clashing. Take Bloodstock 2013 for an example. This was a year of minimal power metal presence so it would seem obvious that any power metal fans would happily jump between each band. Sadly the final (not so final now that they’re back) Power Quest show took place while Sabaton were on main stage followed by Avantasia.
Similarly, Saxon and Iron Maiden look like they may clash at this years Download. Now I know Saxon and Maiden aren’t exactly on the same level in terms of fanbase size, yet you expect many Saxon fans would enjoy Maiden and vice versa.
It’s not always the festivals fault. If a band wont arrive until a certain time they can’t go on any earlier, some contracts might stipulate a high position. I don’t know, all I know is that having to flip a coin between two similar bands sucks.
Toilets are festivals are notoriously shit. However, there are some that take the piss (I’ll stop). I’m still haunted by the memories of queuing for a morning dump at both Download and Hellfest, the mixture of warm sun, sleep deprivation and hangover combined with the lingering smell of shit for 20 minutes really isn’t the best way to start your morning. Compare that to Bloodstock where you’re in and out in no time and you’ll understand my complaints.
I know there’s a giant size difference between the festivals, but at the same time, Bloodstock could easily cut down on the amount of toilets available. Festivals like Download and Hellfest definitely need more toilets per head, and Hellfest definitely needs to get rid of that bloody urinal only toilet that’s just one big trough in the middle of a space. Discovering a urinal when you need a cubical is not fun.
Small ground, big crowd
Another Hellfest problem that they’ve since rectified. Festivals need to make money, they make the majority of that money from people coming through the gates. Sadly they can become a bit blind to the effects of tens of thousands of people in a little space. At Hellfest 2014, finding yourself a free space to sit in peace was comical and walking to a stage meant you had to weave like a mad man around the people spread over the grounds.
This year, and maybe last year, they’ve kept the grounds the same size yet cut back on tickets. This creates more free space, and also shows that they’re actively listening to feedback on social media which gets a big tick.
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