Duncan Barkes: Which festival is for me?

LAST weekend saw the climax of this year’s music festival season with Bestival on the Isle of Wight doing a roaring trade.

I have never been to a large-scale music festival before and find myself wondering if I need to experience one before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

Perhaps, as a man in his forties, I am heading into the sort of mid-life crisis that may result in selling the family’s worldly goods, buying a second-hand bus and hitting the hippy trail in Marrakesh. Many make annual pilgrimages to festivals such as Reading, Leeds and Glastonbury.

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They cannot all be middle-aged men and women desperate to recapture some of their youth, but what exactly do they get out of these jaunts?

My experience of outdoor live music events is limited to home turf.

I used to enjoy the Chichester Real Ale & Jazz Festival before the programming went a tad peculiar in its final years.

There are plans afoot for its return, but it certainly needs to up its game from tribute bands with a few gallons of beer chucked in.

Blues on the Farm, just south of Chichester, is always great craic, while the hardworking volunteers at the ROX organisation always do Bognor Regis proud with their events.

In Worthing the Splash FM Garden Party offers live music by the sea, but is limited by the

space constraints of the Steyne Gardens.

But none of these are in the same league as the bigger festivals. I suppose I could make the trip to Guildford, where it appears there is a battle between two organisations over who the running of a music festival next year, but that involves mixing with too many people from Surrey.

(I get twitchy when surrounded by so many pairs of leather brogues and red corduroy trousers.)

So, which large-scale music festival is worth attending?

I could probably endure two or three days of no sleep, cheap cider, several thousand decibels and wearing the same pants, but I suspect I need to act quickly – it is surely only a matter of time before the urge will wear off, to be replaced with a yen for narrow boating.

I would welcome any suggestions based on your music festival experiences, good or bad.

If you have some advice for Duncan, let us know: send an email to [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected], or comment below.