I’ve never been to a festival (and what that says about me as a person)

I was listening to The High Low podcast the other day in which Dolly (Alderton) and Pandora (Sykes) were talking together about which of the festivals they were attending this year. Both discussed their favourites and spent time reminiscing about fond memories of ones gone by. And in that moment it dawned on me that I have never been to a festival. Not one.

I was 18 in 1996. Festivals didn’t feel like a big thing to me back then. People around me weren’t planning which was the best to attend, who’d be sharing a tent, who would get the tickets, or who’d be the designated driver. It simply didn’t come up in conversation. It wasn’t on our radar. Perhaps because they weren’t as popular or mainstream then? Or they weren’t as easily accessible? Or maybe not in the company I kept.

After University, as the years rolled by, I worked in a busy organisation in a HR department and life for me became more about head down and working hard. Work hard = get things = things make you happy. Release and relaxation for me came from weekend nights out with friends. I particularly loved Cream nightclub in Liverpool and the house music/dance scene.

Of course I also went to concerts with friends and boyfriends, and enjoyed them. I do love and appreciate all kinds of music. I get that you can’t beat the feeling that live music gives you. The buzz, the thrill and the release of emotions.

These days, (I’m forty now, and a Mum of two) there’s something appealing and intoxicating about a festival. I watched Glastonbury 2019 on TV and it was magical. I saw people losing themselves in the moment, singing along to their favourite bands, the lights, the staging, and the whole atmosphere was incredible. And I thought…have I missed out on experiencing this feeling? Will I never have it now, now that I’m getting older? Or is it just FOMO creeping in and should I really give a shit about something I’ve not done? FYI, I haven’t done a whole heap of other things, whilst we’re on the subject, (such as swimming with dolphins or parachuting) so why does not going to a festival stick in my mind so much?

I am, however, absolutely getting and settling into a more zen way of midlife. A hippie heart and soul is starting to creep in and shine through. My mindset is changing and I’m relaxing into my own skin more. Less work, work, work / running around at a million miles an hour – more grateful, appreciative and happy. Less people-pleasing and more focus on my own values and beliefs. I do yoga, I listen more, I laugh, my little family mean the world to me, and I have stopped sweating the small shit. I also feel differently about consumerism; I simply ‘need’ less things these days. And so perhaps this connection to my inner-self more is the side of me leaning towards the lure of the festival vibes. There’s something spiritual about the presence of a festival.

Whatever it is, I think that getting older naturally forces you reminisce about what you’ve achieved in your life so far – and what you haven’t. And how moments have shaped you and how they made you feel. I’m also wondering if I spent too much time working so bloody hard so far, and whether I spent enough time simply laughing and enjoying myself.

I am actually going to a festival soon with a group of friends; admittedly it’s a local one and I’m not staying over, but baby steps, after all. And who knows where that will lead me to next.

Jess Soothill
Jess Soothill

Jess is a Mum of boy & girl twins and a Head of HR in Telecoms.
Jess likes coffee, sunshine and a good quote.

1 Comment

  1. July 18, 2019 / 8:39 pm

    Before I got to the end I was going to say maybe try out a local one that you don’t have to camp at. We do go to festivals & whilst I’m normally not a fan of camping I do love camping at festivals. You just meet so many people, sitting about in circles k chatting. Different people off to see different bands & getting recommendations off people about who you just have to see. The hubby is off to a festival tomorrow although it’s a boys night, I would have loved it but one of us has to mind the kids lol. I hope you have the best time xx

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