What Does a Music Festival Say About You?

Nik88's picture

Submitted by Nik88 on 2011, December 15 - 4:57pm

I found an article that looks into a deeper reason into people's decisions on what festival to go to.. Thought it might be an interesting topic:

As festival organisers begin to release select tickets for sale, what festival will people be going to once the festival season kicks off!? Obviously the line-up of a festival has a major impact on your decision but is there also a deeper thought process that goes on when making your decision - "What does your choice of festival say about you?"

It is safe to say that festivals have become an integral part of the British summer. There are hundreds of festivals to choose from and there are more people than ever attending them.

In the past, festivals used to be about leaving the social snobberies and constraints of everyday life at home. The mud, rain or sunshine, and general madness was a great social leveller. It didn't matter if you were a banker or buddhist, everyone was in it together. However these days many are sponsored by big corporate brands and money can buy you luxury that was unimaginable years ago - tipi with shower and double bed for hundreds and even thousands of pounds anyone?

As there are so many different experiences that are on offer from a variety of festivals, it can be said that which festival you decide to go to can say more about you more than ever before. Could this be reason why some people choose to leave their wristbands on? Are they making a statement?

Some people feel that the reputation of a festival is more important than the actual acts who are performing. Does anyone have a similar trail of thought about festivals? When festivals become mainstream, they can lose credibility among some people. But by becoming mainstream, festivals can then attract a bigger range of acts/bands - So it may not be a bad thing becoming mainstream?!

Also, some people like to be associated with sub-cultures/genres to help make them feel unique and set them apart from everyone else. However once a sub-culture/genre gains more followers it no longer becomes unique - You're just normal! So if people want to keep themselves unique, etc. maybe choosing what festival they attend does matter and does say a lot about that person.

Be great to hear some of your thoughts. Do you agree with any of these points? Or is it looking into people's thought process a bit too much ha!?

2011, December 15 - 5:28pm

Nik88 - interesting thoughts here. I think that when you are younger and in your teens/early twenties, festivals are very much about defining yourself. The type of festival you go to says a lot about you and the kind of person you are. For example, if you go to Reading you are rockier and edgier. If you go to V then you love mainstream music and are there more for fashion than the love of music.

However, as I have gotten older a festival is less about defining myself to my friends and peers. It is more about defining myself to myself if that makes sense. I have no need to impress anymore...my friends don't care. I listen to what I want to and go to the gigs and festivals that I want to.

A music festival for me now is about me saying to myself, you are still young enough to go. You still have the edge if you like!! I still love going to Glasto and even Reading...but I have a thing about mainstream festies such as V etc - maybe that is a hang up from when I was younger.

But for me now I don't think I define myself in terms of the festival I go to. Like I said, my friends don't care...the majority still think I am odd for choosing that over a nice holiday. But it makes me feel part of something...a culture if you like. Whether that has become mainstream or now...I am part of it and have an affinity with most of the people I meet there, if that makes sense? Sorry to have rambled on!

2011, December 15 - 9:58pm

I think this is definitely true to some extent. Perhaps more obviously than anything I think that it says a lot about people's taste in music, people don't often go to festivals to see genres that they aren't into. I think smaller festivals set apart people's taste more, while the big festivals just give a vaguer idea. As you say Kizza, Reading is more rock orientated, but often includes indie through to metal, so it is harder to pin down people's taste to as fine a degree. I think many festivals have stereotypes attached to them that cause this 'thought process' when choosing a festival. People are attracted to festivals based on their ethos and their image. Green Man Festival seems to attract a eco-friendly or hippie crowd while others attract a crowd of pretentious lovers of music where the theme seems to be 'the more obscure the band, the better'. Of course all these images and ethos's are usually reflected in the music, I don't think it is always just the festival that makes the stereotype, I think it comes more naturally with the style of music that is being hosted.

I think how you act at the festival says more about you than which one you choose to go to however. You can go to a festival like Creamfields that has a lot of associations with drug taking and still not take anything illegal all weekend. Stereotypes are there for a reason. they usually do reflect something about a majority, but it is always a bit unfair to try and pin down for example, why people are attending a music festival, when they may be doing it for completely unique reasons.

2011, December 19 - 6:04pm

John, I agree with what you are saying here. How you act at a festival certainly say's a lot about you...

So I am intrigued, how do you act at a festival? I would like to think that I am perhaps a bit more outgoing at a festival than I would otherwise be. Probably find it easier to meet new people.

I hope I am not too different than I normally am. I guess I am a lot more relaxed at a festival than I usually am, which means that I am more 'me' perhaps.

Nowadays I tend to choose festivals where I know people will be up for a good time but not ones where 16 year olds are going to annoy me.

I have become less tolerant as I have gotten older and therefore don't want to be caught up in all of that madness. Maybe it is time for more relaxed festivals like End of the Road or Wilderness for me now!

2011, December 20 - 9:51pm

I guess I'm the same as I always am haha! But maybe a bit more relaxed and a bit more drunk. I wouldn't say that I'm anymore outgoing or anything like that, I'm not one for meeting loads of new people so just tend to stick with my mates and get on with watching the bands, I don't see it as my one weekend of the year to be a complete idiot as a lot of people seem to.

I also started thinking about what your festival choice says about you if you go to the same festival every year or not. Do you think this marks out people as being creatures of habit or as being a bit too set in their ways and maybe a bit boring? I think it's great to have festivals where you can consider yourself a regular but I think you need to get to other festivals just to break the routine, I think it definitely defines you as more of an adventurous person as well, which in my book is a good thing.

I also wanted to say that as well as which festival you decide to go to, more important than the festival you pick and its associated stereotypes is the reason you go. Whereas some people go to festivals because they see it as the cool thing to do, others go because there is no way they would miss the bands that are playing.

2011, December 20 - 11:49pm

Wow, I found that article really interesting, thank you for that Nik!

Like Kizza said - I expect it is more the younger peeps who choose to attend a certain a festival for 'credibility' reasons. Don't get me wrong, though, I am not tarring every young person with the same brush. I just think for many younger people, the acts that are playing a festival are of little (or less) importance to them. What is important to teens is WHO is attending an event. They tend to choose their festivals based on where friends have been in the past/where they are going to in the future - or based on the general age reputation of certain events. Hence why I guess you get a lot of kids attending Reading and Leeds - it is almost like known for being "My First Festival" (although I am not saying everyone who attends Reading / Leeds is young or anything!).

I think a festival's credibility influences our choices into adulthood, too. Just in a different way. I mean, when deciding what event to attend, we surely all consider a festival's reputation. And many of us would avoid certain events which are known to attract certain bands, audiences (like younger audiences) or ambiances - it is just natural...

However, just lately, as I have matured, I have really stopped giving a hoot about hipster credentials, as it were. Honestly, I tend to just take a look at the line up and decide whether I am attending on that and that alone. I admit, a few years ago, I would have been wary to attend something like Download because my young self would have probably been like "NoOo I can't be seen to be attending a heavy metal festival, I need to be attending some super underground indie festival." But nowadays I don't care, in fact, I am desperate to attend Download 2012! AND I DON'T CARE WHAT ANYONE THINKS! Ha ha ha!