Festivals like Glastonbury aren’t about music, they’re about friendship
Research tells us that many of us in densely-populated cities are lonely. For a period of my life, I feared Saturdays, spending half the week drumming up a plan so I wasn’t alone, but often I was anyway. This shouldn’t happen in your twenties, but it does.
Festivals offer an escape, a weekend in a field filled with likeminded people who have, over the years, become some of my best friends.
There’s Ash, who I got chatting to backstage at the Isle of Wight festival. He was working as a liaison between artists at the festival and the charity War Child. Anthony Kiedis popped over for a chat, and later Ash and I bonded over the miraculousness of festivals and the weirdness of the situations they can dump you in.
At Lee Fest, I met Jenny, who ran a festival website like I do (I still run Culture Or Trash) – we still screenshot each other’s articles, cheering each other on as we progress in our careers.
I barked at James for raiding my tent – he thought I’d abandoned it – on a dreary Monday morning. Now he’s as close to me as the school mates I’ve known since I was 11.
I don’t think shouting at would-be burglars in London would lead to life-long friendship, but there’s a different set of rules at a festival, the knowledge that you’re already bonded by the shared experience. You both made it here, to a field in a county you probably visited as a child but hadn’t given a second thought to since.
There’s also a shared energy – at festivals like Glastonbury you speak to people you wouldn’t ordinarily speak to, exchanging personal conversations that would otherwise seem inappropriate for three o’clock on a Friday afternoon. It’s miraculous how camping in a field can chase away stress and anxiety, even if only for a moment.
The people I meet at festivals offer an alternative to going-stale university relationships or school friendships I relied on. In a world with an endless conveyor belt of opportunities for newness – another swipe, another MeetUp group – festival friends are a constant, held forever in the prism of the moment. These seemingly transient weekends in muddy fields have provided me with some of my most lasting connections.
Here’s hoping I make another lifer this weekend at Glastonbury.