A festival experience is a beautifully balanced affair, not just the chaotic music-based carnage it sometimes seems. To create that balance and achieve the perfect atmosphere, you need several key ingredients. You need the escapism and excitement of the new and unknown, mixed with the anticipation and comfort of well-loved music that makes your hair stand on end as you sing at the top of your voice with a choir of thousands.
You never forget an amazing festival; equally you never forget a bad one. You may not be able to explain why it was good or bad – you just know, and it’s what makes or breaks a festival’s reputation.
This being the case I began to think UK festivals had lost their way. They had become too fixated on trying to please everyone, being sponsored by a big brand and having the biggest selling artists play, despite the fact they don’t fit the ethos of the original concept.
This may also be an age thing, but as a regular festival goer for much of my life I had become jaded and underwhelmed with what was on offer. Some shone, but many became very similar and, dare I say it, “commercial”.
So when a festival comes into view that is still fresh enough to be exciting, even to an old grump like me, all the “been there done that” attitude goes out of the window. Thank God.
Electric Fields did just that for me. It made me eager for the whole experience and to be part of a festival community once again. With fantastic bands like Primal Scream and The Charlatans headlining I was sold. But support acts that are the perfect blend of new and not so new talent pushed me off my know-it-all pedestal and back to being 16 again, excited for the bands I know so well and the bands I’ll find by accident.
There’s Scottish favourites like Steve Mason, The Twilight Sad and Emma Pollock, and international legends like the Sugarhill Gang, while further down the bill are less familiar names like East Kilbride’s The Lapelles and Welsh band Yucatan. I’m looking forward to seeing them all.
Electric Fields seems to offer everything you want from a festival without being so big it loses the community feel, the instant bonding you get when you share the same space as everyone else there.
At the same time, no need to break the bank and sell the kids just to attend. In fact you can bring the kids; with the expansion to two full days, Electric Fields has added Boutique Camping and a dedicated Family Camping area. They’ve put together a Real Ale tent, high quality world cuisine, lots of activities and games for kids plus many more surprises will all add up to a unique experience.
OK, so real ale and glamping might be pushing the festival into the realms of the hipster, but not too far, and far enough away from another well-known Scottish festival to make it different!
There is no right or wrong festival formula but trying to do something very well without losing sight of what makes the experience special is a very good start. It’s set to be a cracking weekend and not a Fringe flyer in sight.
As the great Primal Scream sample says, “We wanna be free… we wanna be free to do what we wanna do… and we wanna get loaded, and we wanna have a good time.” Amen to that brother. Amen to that.