Festivals Being Gentrified & Pestival


I was asked to take part in a debate at the annual Event Production Show at Kensington Olympia, the premise being that what with posh loos, glamping and VIP areas, festivals are losing touch with their DNA. 

My view is clear on this. 

Posh loos…yes please I don’t want to do my daily in filth and surely it is not just black and white in that Portaloo equals affordable and the others put ticket prices up? Is it not a design issue whereby Portaloo providers are lazily peddling a dated product that requires design and innovation input?

For all those that sneer at glamping then go to a festival that is community based and not about maximising profit, there are plenty providing these (including ones like our Vintage by The Sea). Yes many festivals now try to ring out profit from every angle and in every nook and cranny of the event from the festival goer but that is the nature of the world we live in, but you can choose to go to events that are not that way inclined. 

The debate got dragged into the question of “is the proliferation of festivals and the widening of the meaning of festival damaging the concept?” What a load of old baloney! To me the concept of festival is a celebration of people getting together and enjoying a shared passion or interest. Did the word not come from a day of celebrating a religion? Our Festival of Thrift is a festival but it is not about watching bloomin’ Kasabian or the god-awful Mumford and Sons in a muddy field. 

Food festivals, like Jamie Oliver’s one on Alex James’ farm came under attack and were robustly defended by its owner who also owns Taste of London. My view was bring them on and could I suggest Bad Taste of London where the food was all by the likes of Chicken Cottage and Kebbabish and the music was headlined by Peter Andre. 

Harvey Goldsmith was on the panel. He said told us about Pestival. “A mobile arts festival examining insect – human interactivity”. 

Pestival sound great to me and I want to watch Mosquito Coast on the big screen Adam and the Ants, The Bees, The Spiders from Mars and obviously what’s left of the Beatles should reform for this one.