It’s summer….The blissful 20+ degrees sunshine, the crowds of fans waiting for their favourite artists, the ice-cold cocktails and warm beers sitting in tents, as well as the memories of being with your friends and family. For many, festival season is a time of celebration all across the UK and after the year long lockdown across the world, 2021 will be bigger than ever. With reports from dance festival ‘Creamfields’ that it sold out in record breaking time, with a capacity of 280,000, the summer is set for an epic return that will be remembered for years to come. Whilst some festivals have made the decision to remain shut down, such as the largest UK festival ‘Glastonbury’, it has not stopped smaller venues from pulling in the money that will ultimately contribute to the reconstruction of the industry after a tough year.
Let’s take a look at some of the most iconic moments that have happened at contemporary festivals across the UK and why the festival season is the best time of year!
Iconic Festival Season Highlights
Olly Alexander – Glastonbury Festival 2019
Olly Alexander, and members of the pop group ‘Years & Years’, delivered an iconic performance on the stage of 2019’s Glastonbury pyramid stage. As lead vocalist, Olly delivered a routine that involved kissing and striping male dancers whilst a number of homophobic messages were displayed on screens that were directed at Olly himself via social media. Some of the messages stated that “Hes a bit too gay. Just creeps me out”, as well as “he sounds gayer now, hes doing too much”.
Amongst his incredible performances of hits such as “Eyes Shut” and “Desire”, he gave an inspiring speech about his experiences of being gay and how it made him feel. He stated that “The only reason I’m able to be up here talking about my gay self is because of all the people who came before me that fought for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Sometimes we are referred to as the acronym LBGT, sometimes LGBTQ+, I personally like to use the word queer… but lots of people don’t like that word, and that’s because the word has a complicated and painful history and whether we like it or not, history really matters.”. The crowd erupted in applause and the speech was a success amongst members of the LGBT+ community.
Swedish House Mafia – Creamfields Festival 2019
In 2012, much to fans disappointment and sadness, house music trio ‘Swedish House Mafia’ disbanded after only 4 years of being together, with their final smash hit ‘Don’t you worry child’. 7 years later, at the UK’s largest dance festival ‘Creamfields’ they reformed for a short period of time, following their fellow friend and EDM music DJ ‘Avicii’s’ suicide.
As one of the thousands of people apart of the astounding crowd of people awaiting their reunion, I can safely say the crowd’s atmosphere was breath-taking and their performance even more so. With preforming their biggest songs such as ‘Miami 2 Ibiza’ and ‘Save the world’, the dynamic trio held one of the most sensational stages at the entire festival with fireworks and strobe lights, lighting up the entire field for everyone to see.
David Attenborough – Glastonbury Festival 2019
One of the biggest moments in contemporary festival history, came from a man that is neither a performer nor a singer…But from one of the most beloved TV presenters of all time. The one and only man of nature, David Attenborough graced the stage on the final day of festivities and was met with an uproar of applause when he took to the stage to the sound of whales being blasted out on the speakers.
He took centre stage, to thank and praise the crowd for the impact his series, Blue planet 2, has had upon society and the lessons we learned from watching it. He further praised the audience of Glastonbury for their role in reducing plastic stating that “this great festival has gone plastic-free,” whilst adding. “That is more than a million bottles of water have not been drunk by you in plastic. Thank you! Thank you!”. Whilst David’s appearance was a great shock, his presence was felt by the thousands of fans in the crowd that took their time away from watching singers/performers, to take a minute of appreciation for the 94 year old environmentalist that has spent his entire life, in trying to preserve the world and its animals.
The Issues that Challenge Festival Season
Whilst we all deserve an amazing time during festival season this year, due to the struggles we’ve had with Covid-19 and mental health decline, there are a some things we must do to ensure a healthy sustainable environment for festivals.
The biggest change…Glitter! But what is a festival without a little glitter? Whilst over 60 festivals that are held in the UK, including ‘Beat-herder’ and ‘Boomtown’, have banned the use of glitter at their venues there is a way to still use glitter and not damage the environment. By “Replacing the plastics typically used in glitter with a plant-based cellulose derived from Eucalyptus trees, Bioglitter naturally decomposes once it enters soil, compost or waste water environments. Plus, it still has the same shine and high precision cut as traditional glitter and is also 40% softer and more delicate on the skin than conventional glitter”.
Another vital change of festival season is the demise of throw away culture of clothing. With reports from ‘the fashion law’, it is it is deeply regretful to say that “single-use outfits for music festivals, such as Glastonbury and Coachella, alone, account for approximately $307 million worth of items per year, or about 7.5 million outfits worn only once”, and the carbon footprint this leaves behind is devastating for the environment.
So enjoy your summer of meeting new people, dancing to your favourite acts, making memories with friends and family that will make the Covid-19 lockdown seem like a lifetime ago; but don’t forget to treat nature with the respect and honour it deserves for hosting these few months of festivities.