Festivals have been the staple of the music lover since 582 BC. I don’t exactly know how long ago that was, but it feels long! Obviously, we’ve developed quite a lot since Ancient Greece from the first time a triangular tent popped up in 1971 in a muddy and rainy field in Pilton to the sunny and glamorous Californian desert in 1999 where the likes of Beck and Rage Against the Machine introduced the world to Coachella. Festivals have always been the peek for artists and music goes. But as we come out of one of the worst Coachella's in recent history, is the love between music lovers and festivals dead?

The Association of Independent Festivals has reported that 21 festivals have already been cancelled int the UK with up to 100 at risk of closing down permanently. Why? Is it just cost? With Covid still a recent memory, artists have increased their performance fees which have left festival organisers to face a shrinking bottom line or raising the prices. We all know which way that goes and with the cost of tickets for major festivals between £300-£400 plus the cost of travel, food and drink, you're talking £600-£700. Thats for someone from Reading to attend Glastonbury and that's a conservative estimate with sensible spending.

Isle of Wight Festival crowd (without a phone in sight!)

So is it worth it? I guess if you have the money spare, then yes. But are you getting value for money? No. Quite simply festivals are gaining a reputation for being a rip off. From overpriced food and drink, £12 for an American pint, (16 ounces compared to 20ounces in the UK) to sub-par performances and, as highlighted at Coachella on the weekend, flat and disengaged crowds. But people still love music, right? So, what's the problem? Some say the line ups and that's definitely a factor with festival organisers increasingly trying to cater to every music lovers taste, often resulting in a clumsy mish mash of different genres. Which practically ensures a proportion of weekend attendees to be not overly interested in at least 3-4 of the main stage acts. Also, like with Coachella, possibly an oversight on weather certain acts are big enough to headline or at least if they are well known enough in that particular country.

But we can't ignore the elephant in the room; the atmosphere. Festivals, and gigs in general, used to be all about the moment. The excitement of 120,000 people standing in the rain with the anticipation of wondering if Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) is going to walk out on his hands wearing a skeleton suit. Or that moment when you're screaming your face off to “Someone Like You” by Adele and you see yourself on the big screen. Live performances used to be a once in a lifetime moment that only you and 120,000 of your closest friends experienced. Now it feels like most people at the festival don't experience it. Watching the crowds at Coachella this week was a real depressing look at where live music is heading with cardboard crowds, lip-syncing and Bands such as Blur stating on stage they won't be back. It seems the romance of the festival is dying with the majority of attendees there for status and clout (or to sell drugs and steal) and artists wondering if it's worth playing for crowds that aren't there for them.

But that's just my opinion and I'm just a bitter middle-aged man that is nostalgic of festivals before phone cameras were good and the internet was bad.