Monday, 28 June 2010

'Loud music, played outdoors.'


I have a love/hate relationship with the British summertime tradition of loud music, played outdoors. Over the last five or so years the number of British music festivals and events has grown exponentially and we've seen the birth of festival fashion, which I can't stand. Wellies, fringing, tie-dye – nein danke.

However, at least once a year I try to put aside my misgivings and get down in the mud; always with a bed nearby, I don't do camping. On Saturday night we traipsed down to Hyde Park to see Stevie Wonder play to a heaving and dusty Hyde Park which was baking in the sun; the site itself was packed plus hundreds of people without tickets crowding outside to listen.

After getting over the initial disgust of stepping over ground in burgers, piles of beer bottles and drug casualties – not an easy task as I was wearing 6 inch wedges, essential for gigs if you're a shorty – Stevie came on and the whole park sang along joyfully as the sun went down. When you've got your hands in the air with thousands of other people singing along to 'For Once In My Life', you remember why you made the effort.

And with Glastonbury happening this weekend, it's a nice thought that thousands of people in Britain spent the weekend in the same way, in this beautiful baking sun we're enjoying at the moment. Sometimes you've just got to get over it and get involved.

[The picture above is of the crowd at Stevie. One of the best bits was when he played Happy Birthday and two people near us were celebrating their birthdays; they looked pretty happy as their friends danced around them in circles.]

[The title of this post was inspired by a friend of mine who I can remember snootily saying she would never go to carnival or a festival because she couldn't stand 'loud music, played outdoors,' which I found hilarious and do understand. But, just for the record, I LOVE carnival.]


  1. How I love Stevie Wonder, I wish I could have gone!

  2. I was there on that occasion and Alice actually claimed she couldn't stand "live music, played outside, during the day".

    I think that is an important distinction.

  3. I can totally understand your ambivalence, but as you say it makes for great memories!

  4. Ooh, I want to see your 6" wedges!! Given I am 5"2, I find it hard to see anything at all at most concerts. I also have an embarrassing tendency to become slightly claustrophobic in crowds, and this awkward combination means I haven't been to a music festival in years.

    But I splurged on tickets to two concerts recently (in the same week, would you believe it), to see Florence and the Machine, and Laura Marling. These are indoors though, so won't have the glorious distinction of playing loud music, outdoors.

    Poppy xox