I have never been to the Glastonbury Festival. I specify ‘festival’ because I have; been to the town of Glastonbury; been to Glastonbury tor; been to Pilton in the fields where they run the festival.
However I realise that the word Glastonbury alone usually gets the point across. I like being a pedant sometimes (most of the the time) though.
I am probably part of a large group of people who have also never been to the (any) festival but to listen to the hype and media coverage I should really want to go. However, I don’t. I have no desire to go, ever.
It feels like that is some kind of awful confession but here are some of the reasons why.
I used to like camping when I was young and my body could cope with sleeping on a hard floor, in damp conditions, with many other tents in close proximity so you can hear the noises of the night. However, the last time I slept in a tent I remember immense hip pain, needing to wee ten times more than usual, and being woken by the noise of someone rummaging about in my stuff at the front of the tent (turned out to be a hedgehog). I think I am scuppered because I no longer drink. Maybe alcohol dulls how uncomfortable camping really is but, it is not an option for me, so unless it is a nice chalet, cabin, B&B or hotel room it is not going to happen.
Alongside the physical discomfort of camping there is the close proximity of strangers. This is off-putting to me. I realise part of the ‘fun’ of a festival is the camaraderie, however, we have locks on our doors at home and most of us do not live in communes for many reasons. These reasons include, but are not limited to, other people being annoying.
Don’t get me wrong, I am annoying too, I would not want to be in close proximity to me for any length of time either, but spending my hard earned leisure time in the close company of people I do not know, and possibly don’t want to know, just leaves me cold. And I don’t want to be able to hear these strangers doing any of the following: having private conversations, singing, snoring, arguing, getting dressed/undressed, turning in their sleep, having sex or breathing. These are all things I would be likely to hear if those pictures of those close quarters fields of tents are anything to go by.
I like other people, in controlled doses, but to me festivals are an overdose of people.
And I won’t even go into personal hygiene…..
I like music, I love music, I have a wide range of tastes in music. However, I do not need that music to be so loud that my ears are ringing many days after enjoying it. I like to listen at a volume that enables me to appreciate the emotion, rhythm and tune of a good piece of music. I like to turn it up a bit higher if I want to sing along, so my own tuneless vocals are drowned out, but not enough to burst my eardrums. However, in my experience, there is fashion now for making everything louder and louder and LOUDER. Even in a restaurant or bar, when I am in an environment where people are supposed to socialise, music is now so loud that shouting and sign language are often the only option to converse with people mere feet away. So, I suspect music being played in a field to an excited crowd of people singing and shouting, is extremely loud and not the best way to appreciate that music.
I could go on with more rationale (travel issues, food concerns, more about people) but on reflection I realise that all the above might make you think that it is just an age thing. That I am just getting old and not into fun young things. Well if that is the case, I have always been old. These are not new issues for me and I cannot be the only one. Surely?
So should I feel bad about never having been to Glastonbury festival, or never wanting to go?
No. It is not for everyone.
If it is for you, that is great, I am glad you enjoy it, I love the fact that it makes you happy but I please ask you not to assume we are all the same. Don’t try to make me feel guilty that I have never been. Tell me all about it, yes. Tell me what you loved, what was funny, what was fab. But that is it. Don’t try to force your idea of fun onto me. Don’t feel bad that I have never been. Don’t try to talk me into going. And in return, I will not try to talk you into liking computer games, quiet dinners, sci-fi, reading for hours, politics, listening to music at lower volumes, wearing pyjamas all day, playing board games or doing crafts. Those are are things I like…. I told you I was annoying.