So, we’re drawing to the close of another festival season in the UK; one you wouldn’t have seen me at btw. As usual I spend most of my time these days behind a computer screen feeding the beast. Feel free to discard what I’m about to say at your leisure.
I caught myself thinking about what festivals mean the other day. Why do people bother volunteering for them? Breaking themselves to produce massive temporary cities that are just going to be torn down at the end of the event? Sounds like quite good fun to me but then I’d probably be working for them if life hadn’t taken a different path and turned me into a writer.
Imagine what life would be without Britain’s festivals though – it would probably be a good place to start. What if every day was set out and defined by the culture expressed in the free newspapers and propaganda rags you see on trains and buses every morning? What if it was like that with no outlet for the other side? The dominant narrative picked out for us by the mass media would rule the day wouldn’t it? Amazonian supermodels, pop tarts, and bodybuilders, cunts behaving like cunts to each other in order to get their face noticed, to grab that little bit of fame. (people want their story told; it gives their lives value).
Then there’s your festival…and in amongst all the masses of milling people its art and installations. Not to mention the music that implants maybe a little bit of a different narrative in the heads of the onlookers. That being the one underneath all the bullshit that we the consumer/s are fed all the time. The pre-packaged blandly mass appealing set of lies concealed behind industry puppets and political figureheads. It must be a hard tightrope to walk between pulling off an event that can supply those involved with a living and using it as a weapon to attack the ruling ideology. Here we go…it’s also a fine line between what Kilmo (me) would like and a load of people getting mashed up in a field and having a laugh. But it was always something that I liked – mixing politics with hedonism and a punk attitude.
Festivals ey…what would we do without them? Myself I’d like to tear down the walls, burn the ATM’s, string the coppers up by their ankles and make them all free again. But then no one would come I expect.
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World Fantasy Award-nominated author of short fiction
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