The sun is shining, the skies are blue, the smell of freshly cut grass is in the air and the scene is set for the most delicious of British institutions; the late May bank holiday! Which, for hundreds of thousands of us, means one thing… the grand opening of festival season.
As you’ll already know, most festivals have had to write this summer off. Some May events are hanging on for a potential September date but for the majority that’s not possible. Glastonbury threw the towel in over two months ago and soon smaller events all the way up until the end of summer like Noisily, 2000 trees, Beautiful Days and End of the Road, to name just a few, all followed suit. It’s increasingly looking like a season with no festivals at all.
A Summer to Remember…
A couple of days ago some of my friends asked me when the last time I wasn’t insaaanely busy over summer was? And, as with a lot of people whose years revolve around this time of the year, it wasn’t since I was a child!!
My last DECADE of festival seasons have followed a similar format and had at least one thing in common… I’ve been really, really busy. I’ve been working at festivals since I was 18 and I’ve been doing at least 9 festivals every summer since then (sometimes up to 15!)
I’m lucky enough that in Bristol if I’m not at a festival there’s ALWAYS something else on in the summer; Carnival, Pride, a boat party, a day rave, a birthday, the list goes on… we will take any excuse for a party in this city. Alongside that I’ve been juggling a full-time job, running a business, taking freelance gigs, writing my blog and just generally exhausting myself.
I’m gonna be 27 this June and that means I’ve had a lot of busy summers… So, I’m choosing to look at this summer as a bit of a positive opportunity!
This obviously comes with respect and all my love to the whole festival, events & music industry who are going through a really hard time right now, and the acknowledgement of my huge privilege to be healthy, happy and able to enjoy this time. As well the acknowledgement of the fact that I am furloughed and financially stable at the moment unlike the vast majority of the events industry who are freelance, some of whom rely on this time of year for the majority of their incomes.
I might never get a summer like this again so I plan to use it to its fullest and hope that this time off makes festivals all the sweeter next year.
I’ve barely even seen any of the beautiful countryside that exists in my own city after living here for 8 years, so I’m gonna take this time to explore all the great things that are already on my doorstep in Bristol. I’m planning on using this time to reconnect with nature, slow down, mend things, read books and send letters… to pause and reset.
Depending on the lockdown situation and what is safe to do, here are a few activities that are on the top of my hit list:
- Camping… imagine pitching up your tent at an actual designated camping space in the countryside with space to put all the guide ropes out and no noisy neighbours blasting DnB from a minirig behind you at 4am?! Sounds like heaven, to be honest.
- Road trip! There are so many places I want to visit and so much more of the UK’s natural beauty I want to experience.
- Wild swimming… rivers, seas, lakes, all of them just dreamy.
- Learn how to mend! I’ve always been into sewing but I’m planning to spend time learning some new techniques this summer, I’ve just bought two fantastic books “Mending Matters” and “Mending Life” to teach me some new skills.
- Get a tan! I think I might have already ticked this off this week.
It’s a simple list but I think simple pleasures are the theme of 2020. I usually spend a LOT of time in an office when I’m not at a festival and the September burn out is unreal most years, perhaps 2020 is the year to cultivate some happier, healthier habits? What are you planning to do over the next few months?
So yeah, although festivals are my life, my life isn’t only festivals! However, there is a certain weekend in June when you’ll probably find me drunkenly trying to erect my tent in my too-small back garden re-playing Glastonbury coverage and potentially sobbing. It won’t be pretty.
If you fancy joining me then you’ve got to read this guest post from my friend Tamsyn for a hilarious take on how to have a true festival experience at home.
Hopefully, for the true festival experience, I’ll have one of these DELICIOUS tinny cocktails from Sipful in my hand. They are literally the perfect festival drink; what’s not to love about a premixed tin?! These are different to your standard shop-bought ones though – all-natural and organic they taste like the real deal a fizzy wine base makes a mimosa, bellini and a blood orange mimosa and you can buy the fizzy wine on its own. I reckon they might also be well suited for all of my Summer 2020 bucket list activities above as well!
What Does ‘No Festivals’ Mean For That Festival Life, the Blog?!
Well, what would you like to see from me?! I’ve still got plenty of bits and pieces to finish up from previous festivals so you’ll be able to get a dose of nostalgia from me that way and I’ve also been drafting up some self-care tips and advice from friends as well as general festival advice and content ready for next season.
A forced fallow year for the entire industry is an interesting thing indeed. What will festivals look like on the other side of this? Aside from obviously the potential that there will have to be a lot of operational changes if social distancing is still in place, what else could it mean for the way the industry works?
What do we want from our festivals? What is the true spirit of human gatherings? How can we create a more sustainable industry? I want to explore some of these ideas and I’m also interested into looking at how festivals and festival crews choose to pivot during this time and how we can all change and adapt to the ‘new normal’ to hopefully create a better future.
I’d love to know how you are all feeling about Summer 2020. How many years have you been going to festivals for and how much will this change what your summer looks like? What are you planning to do instead? Get involved in the comments! xx
p.s I am still holding onto hope for a couple of very small September festival gatherings but I’m not going to name any names as I don’t want to jinx it! 😉