Small article on Summer Festivals originally published in Warwick University’s The Boar, 1/10/2014.
Digital article available here:
Scanned and un-edited copies available below:
Festival Experiences: Ollie Ship
Festival season is an important time of year. But with ever-growing ticket prices; deciding on which muddy field to spend a weekend in can be hard. As a veteran of over half-a-dozen Glastonbury’s and a couple of Reading’s – I’ve found myself finding the big, expensive festival model a bit stale. So for this summer I decided to change things up by exploring the small festival scene.
The first of these ventures was 2000 Trees is in Cheltenham. Priding itself as a weekend of upcoming and underground acts, this 5,000 capacity festival is an imitate event for those eager to discover new artists. £80 a ticket gets you three days of camping with acts ranging from Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Jamie Lenman (ex-Reuben) to my hometown heroes Band Of Skulls. What’s most noticeable about Trees, however, is its freedom. The campsite and stages are all inter-connected, which means once you’re inside the site you’ll have no more security searches or checkpoints. This allows for a relaxed atmosphere, and perhaps, a more sobering one. (i.e you needn’t down all your beers in the campsite before catching the headliners – *ahem* – Reading 2011)
This also has a positive effect on the crowd. Whilst Reading is notoriously full of pissed-up teens celebrating their GCSE results, Trees comprised of a friendlier ensemble. It’s only when you see strangers bonding over identical Deftones tattoos that you realise the maturity of your environment. Over the three days I saw no fights, arguments or security issues. All I witnessed were quality live acts and genuine music fans having a good time. If anything, Trees made me fall in love with the music festival again – and I cannot recommend it enough for 2015.
The second of these smaller festivals was Y-Not in Derbyshire. At £85 for a weekend, it offers a similar value for money as 2000 Trees. However, this 15,000 strong festival provides more music at the price of a stricter arena policy. Much like Reading and Leeds; alcohol is only allowed within the camp-site. But despite this slightly larger and stricter scale, Y-not is still a fraction of the size of those mainstream festivals. The cheaper ticket also means you’re not inclined to see x amount of artists to justify the cost. Headliners White Lies, Dizzie Rascal and (the mighty) Frank Turner would set you back the 85 quid alone. Therefore, you can easily enjoy the weekend with your mates, and you needn’t feel guilty if you spend half the weekend passed out in a tent. From a social perspective, Y-not makes perfect sense. It’s just a shame about the Northern weather…
Frankly – this summer proved a number of things to me. Small festivals are possibly the best kept secret in the UK music scene. With sub £100 tickets generating decent sized acts, it seems bizarre how quickly people rush towards mainstream festivals. Of course, Glastonbury and Reading are still amazing – I also went to Bestival this summer which was truly incredible. But can you justify £200+ on just one weekend? Tickets for 2000 Trees and Y-not can be bought together at a subsidised cost. That’s two weekends of music, mates and madness for less than one at Reading. I honestly believe that festivals are really about who you go with and that a cheaper ticket makes it all the more accessible. Tips for Festival season 2015? Less is most definitely more.