No Glasto FOMO

Glastonbury 2019 is coming to a close today, and I’ve got no FOMO at all. Seriously, none. Maybe a tiny bit for the amazing food and the Green Fields vibes – but the crowds and the chaos and the long drops, no thanks.

I’ve been twice, in 2015 and 2016, performing with Shakti Sings choir, directed at that time by my amazing friend Susie Ro Prater (clip of our singing from 2015 here). The first year was great – sunny weather, hardly any mud and I was in the first flushes of blossoming love with my now husband. The second year was SO awful in comparison. Terrible weather and horrendous mud. We arrived on the Tuesday night and honestly by Thursday I’d had enough. Then the EU referendum happened. I will never forget sitting in the Greenpeace cafe at 7am watching Glastonbury slowly waking up to the news, a result which most people at the festival were shocked and saddened by.

So now, with a toddler in tow, I don’t think anything could persuade me to go. I know some people take small babies and tots to big festivals – they must be a lot cooler and more relaxed as parents than me, I can’t imagine anything less fun.

I always found the litter hugely depressing too, so I was interested to read about the pledge from Emily Eavis towards a greener festival. The true spirit of Glastonbury to me has always been radical, and the drive towards sustainability and living in harmony with the environment should indeed remain central to the Glastonbury ethos. Two thirds of the 23,500 tons of waste generated by UK festivals annually is estimated to end up in landfill and clearly this needs to change.

So the Glastonbury team have banned the sale of single use plastic bottles on the site, and installed taps for water bottle refills instead. The jury seems to be out so far on the actual impact of this though – I’ve seen a lot of photos like this one, showing loads of rubbish littering the site as it has done in previous years.

Photo credit to Stephen Roberts, via Glasto Goers Facebook group.

A lot of this litter seems to be food packaging and drinks cups, all of which is supposed to be compostable at this year’s festival, but I wonder if there’s some mileage in introducing reusable cups and crockery, as other festivals plan have already done or plan to introduce. Kendall Calling has a scheme where festival-goers get a small amount of money back when they return their coffee cup for reuse and Greenbelt introduced reusable cups at their bars in 2016. In all honesty I think mandating it is probably the only answer, to change behaviours consistently.

The other big festival waste problem is people leaving tents behind – this petition addresses this issue with tent manufacturers, asking them to stop selling “festival tents”, which implies single use, and to brand these differently to encourage care and reuse.

So I think my Glastonbury days are over, and our future lies at smaller, more family-friendly festivals such as Beautiful Days and Fire in the Mountain. Maybe I will feel a small pang watching my all-time favourine band The Cure on TV tonight when they’re headlining the Pyramid stage. But when I go to the fridge to get some lovely cold wine, use my nice clean toilet and finally go to sleep in my nice comfy bed, the feeling will be pure JOMO (JOY of missing out).

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5 Comments

  1. Yes know what you mean. Currently holidaying in Dawlish, Exeter, and there is a two day festival at Powderham Castle. Day 1 of Rock Exeter relates to 80/90s artists but today the headliner is Noel Gallagher.straight from Glasto. I watched him last night and yes I got that FOMO feeling. Tickets were still available but after the performance decided to save my money. So yes I agree with your comments. Only two people, David Attenborough and Lizzo brought a smile

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    1. David A is a legend, I will check out iPlayer tomorrow to see if I can watch his whole talk, feel inspired to watch Blue Planet. My friend Robbie has played at Rock Exeter in Howard Jones’s band!

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      1. Well didn’t resist and went to watch Noel. He was far better than Glastonbury enjoyed. Couldn’t take photo of rubbish phone died but overall I expected more. The beer cups all looked recyclable. Was quite surprised really

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  2. Hi again, Its my birthday today and looking at my cards etc thought of your blog. The little monster is coming up to the age of birthday parties etc. Every time you get cards whether for yourself or little monsters cut discs out and make your own gift tags and thread with natural twine. You will never buy gift tags again plus recycling. Perhaps teaching people to “suck eggs” but the cards today just suit this type of thing even if cutting round the age.

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    1. Yes, this is great! I did this last Christmas, don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it for birthday cards. I also bought some cheapo A4 card and stuck picture on to make new cards… have to buy Angus some craft scissors!

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