Cosmic Slop #72: T In The Park and the current state of the major British festival
Originally posted on Getintothis
With T In The Park in crisis, Shaun Ponsonby asks if the audiences at major British music festivals has chaged beyond recognition.
The festival season has been a little off this year, dontcha think? Everyone bitched about the Glastonbury headliners, and there are apparently so few suitable bill-toppers that both Isle of Wight and Reading booked co-headliners.
And then there’s T In The Park.
Following this year’s festival, T In The Park revealed itself to be the most “2016” musical event of the year; an unmitigated disaster of the tallest order. I would accept it as fact if the organisers came forward and said that it was a large piece of performance art designed to hold a mirror up to society.
The Sunday night had LCD Soundsystem headlining the Radio One Stage. To say they lost out to main stage headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers is an understatement. There was barely a front row. I am pretty sure there were more people at Lee Harvey Oswald’s funeral.
the crowd LCD soundsystem got at T in the park yesterday is making me sad pic.twitter.com/FHMpWSt8I2
— Matt (@MattWimsett) July 11, 2016
Hell, there would be more people at my funeral. I’m pretty sure most of them would be there just to make sure I was actually dead, but they would be there all the same.
Although LCD Soundsystem have been getting rave reviews at their other appearances this summer, in fairness they also pulled a pretty small crowd at Coachella, where I believe they got the smallest since the Stone Roses bafflingly headlined at a festival where hardly anyone knew who they were.
But the behaviour of certain aspects of the crowd also had people talking, with someone stealing a cash machine on the very first day, a lack of stewarding to ensure crowd safety, revellers climbing rigging and, most appallingly, sexual assaults.
And of course, there were actual deaths.
Now, it’s not like deaths have never happened at festivals before – Christ, someone even died at Woodstock. But at T this year, two people died before the festival even started proper. Further deaths followed. That’s pretty grim.
There is a Twitter account called Oot Yer Nut at T that shows us the very best of T In the Park’s special brand of cultural discourse. I think it’s supposed to be funny, but I mainly find it disturbing. Here’s a sampling of some of their finest moments.
Here’s a man so paralytic in a tent that English has become his third or fourth language.
Here’s a giant brawl in the campsite that displays the kind of violence that I thought only existed in Quentin Tarantino movies.
Here’s a fine piece of interpretive dance.
When someone makes fun ae yer bucket hat pic.twitter.com/gFJKKAGLdD
— Oot Yer Nut at T (@OotYerNutatT) July 10, 2016
Here’s a man apparently performing a one man show in which he re-enacts the final scene of every monster movie ever made simultaneously.
And this is quite simply the proudest moment in the history of humanity.
So…what the fuck is this?
I would guess that around 15-20 years ago, it was unfathomable that festivals would become as big as they have. The bigger ones aren’t necessarily a place for music lovers anymore. Many have slowly morphed into the British equivalent to a week in Magaluf. For many, they are a place to get off your ever loving tits on ket, wreak havoc, have dodgy sex behind a bin whilst you throw up in the mud, punch a few geezers and…oh! Are there bands on? I might go see a couple of them.
From all perspectives, T In The Park appears to be at the forefront of that, and lovingly attempting to confirm as many negative Scottish stereotypes as possible in the process. Of course, this may be a little unfair. If you hone in on the bad points of anything, you’re bound to come up with some shady shit.
But some of this shit is particularly appalling. Have you ever seen Gore Vidal‘s Caligula starring Malcolm McDowell and Helen Mirren? It was essentially hijacked by a pornographer, includes scenes of bestiality, has a man with an arse in his stomach, has been disowned by many of it’s cast and crew (including Vidal himself), lasts for an excruciating two and a half hours and remains banned in many countries. And yet, I find it considerably less uncomfortable to view than the Oot Yer Nut at T feed.
So, with all this in mind, is it representative of where the big festivals are going? Where they are? Is this just the crowd that T In The Park attracts?
Or was this just a cheap way of me meeting an earlier than usual deadline?
I don’t know how I feel about Michael J Fox joining Coldplay to recreate the Enchantment Under The Sea dance from Back To The Future. The fanboy in me is delighted, but I just wish a band I don’t loathe did it. I guess I’ll give them this one.
How is Drake‘s One Dance still #1? Has anyone got any legitimate scientific reasoning for this one?
RIP Alan Vega