Glastonbury, chemical toilets and the music festival myth

Are you going to Glastonbury this summer? Are you tired of being asked this question yet? Don’t worry, it’ll all be over soon.

For those who are attending, a sliver of good news emerged this week – genial organiser and occasional if reluctant dairy farmer Michael Eavis has announced plans to introduce stink-free “super-loos” to the festival site.

“There’s no smell, a huge capacity – it’s a fantastic achievement. It’s fundamentally a huge improvement,” he enthused, getting more excited about basic plumbing than anyone since the Romans invaded Britain.

Glastonbury Fail

Despite the bucolic prospect of a Glastonbury free of the lingering smell of excrement, I haven’t booked a ticket this year.

In fact, not even the offer of robotic water closets that massages my shoulders and whisper sweet nothings in my ear with Scarlett Johansson’s voice could convince me to part with my hard-earned cash and head down to Somerset.

Why? Because music festivals – all music festivals – are completely terrible. Nobody enjoys them. You probably think you enjoy them (just look at all those artfully muddy Instagram pictures!) but you definitely don’t.

The proliferation of large-scale events like Glastonbury (mostly with added branding) seems to have happened overnight. They’ve drilled out of the ground like mushrooms, firmly grasping that particular part of the English psyche that enjoys being miserable while being told it’s having a wonderful time.

From Green Man to Bestival, T in the Park to V Festival, Britons will be schlepping around fields in their wellies, mugging at cameras and squinting at big screens to see bands dutifully pound out a few hits before escaping the morass in a helicopter, like that scene in Apocalypse Now soundtracked by Coldplay rather than Wagner.

I’ve decided to recreate the experience in my own home this year by inviting some strangers to stand in my shower while listening to the Radio One chart show. I’ll even throw in some over-priced cans of lager and silly hats. Proper plumbing, too. £200 quid a ticket – who knows, it might catch on.

As for me, I’ll stick to the bars and clubs of Manchester, where you can see a host of up-and-coming bands while keeping out of the rain and enjoying an actual pint in an actual glass.

If you don’t fancy it, feel free to indulge your masochism with a trip to one of the hundreds of summer festivals lined up this year – just don’t come back and tell me how much you enjoyed the experience. We all know that isn’t true.


Fearghus Roulston

Fearghus was tempted into training as a journalist after an injudicious exposure to the Tintin books at an early age. He worked in several content marketing and writing jobs before starting at Clowdy, where he deals with blogging, social media and other non-Tintin or international espionage-related activities.