Who doesn't love festivals? SHS writer George Metcalf, that's who...
Unpopular opinion – I fucking hate festivals.
Whenever I say this out loud I'm met with a chorus of responses that range from, "Whaaaaaattt how can you not like festivals?" to, "You just haven't been to the right one!'
Well I'm here to say that, for me, there is no right one. Festivals and I just don't get on.
I went to my first and only festival when I was 16, on the day my friends and I got our GCSE results. We all decided to buy tickets to Reading festival as a way of celebrating/drowning any exam-related sorrows.
Our excitement quickly turned into the realisation that the whole thing would be A LOT of effort fairly quickly on the morning we were meant to be leaving. The realisation that the whole ordeal would be more effort than it was worth didn't arrive until we got on site.
After getting all my alcohol confiscated on the way in, I wasn't really in the mood to debate tent placement for an hour and a half - but that's exactly what we did.
When we eventually decided on where to set up camp (an area that immediately turned into a swamp as soon as it started raining), we were finally able to enjoy the festival experience we were all promised for years by cider adverts, Glastonbury coverage on BBC III and our naïve imaginations.
But it never came.
Instead, what actually happened was I got incredibly drunk on the very first night (shout out to all my secondary school mates for sorting me out with cider after mine got taken by security), and couldn't face drinking for the rest of weekend.
I then spent the rest of my time shuffling from arena to arena in a half-hungover/half-exhausted state, getting jostled about by disposable ponchos and wishing I was at home.
And although that was just one bad experience, I know for sure I would hate any other festival regardless of the vibe. Here's why...
Call me crazy, but my idea of a good time doesn't involve not showering and not being near a decent toilet for four to five days.
During my one festival experience, a lot of people told me the rudimentary hygiene was just, "part of the experience" and to, "get over it," but I couldn't take these people seriously because they were covered in mud and alcohol.
Call me weird, but the prospect of not showering for a whole weekend shouldn't excite you in your adult life.
One of the things I found most jarring about my festival experience was the food situation. If it wasn't for a Domino's pop up near my 'camp site' I honestly don't know what I would have done.
There's way too much to choose from and no guarantee that what you actually get is going to be good, which just leads to a stressful situation.
Then you panic and buy ANOTHER £12 falafel wrap that gets knocked out of your hand as soon as you leave the stall.
I'm starting to think I'm just not very fun, but I've committed to this.
The main redeeming factor of my festival experience was getting to spend the whole weekend with my friends, and in that regard (and that regard only), I completely understand the magic of festivals.
But festivals are busy, and I can't be bothered to spend four days navigating through crowds and standing in queues. If I want to do that, I can go down to my local Sainsbury's on a Saturday afternoon.
Also, the stag doers, the ALAN shouters (that's still a thing, right?), the first time gurners and the people who seem to have paid £180+ just to look for fights all weekend, are definitely people I don't want to share an 'experience' with.
Aside from hating festivals, I also hate gigs (yeah, I really don't think I'm a fun person), so putting a gig in a field doesn’t make it better for me.
When I went to Reading I was disappointed by every act I went to see (I'll never forgive myself for watching The Horrors over My Chemical Romance), and just felt I would have enjoyed the music much more if I was watching it on TV from the comfort of my sofa.
Yep, I just said that.
I'm not saying festivals should be banned - I do, sort of, understand why some people might like them. What I have issue with is the fact that as a young person, enjoying festivals seems to have become obligatory rather than a choice.
So if you're gearing up for a big festival season this year, I really genuinely hope you enjoy your soul-touching moment watching your favourite artist with your best friends. I'll be chilling at home with my girlfriend, home cooked food and state-of-the-art plumbing.