Monday, 6 August 2012

What makes a good festival?

By pure coincidence this weekend I was at Wacken Open Air - a very large hard rock and metal festival held very close to the town of Wacken in Germany.  I'm a big fan of festivals and of Wacken in particular  One of the reasons for that is because it completes and compliments the Town and works with its local residents.  (Wacken Open Air has 80,000 attendees and the Town has a population of about 2,000 - the festival itself is located much closer to the centre of Wacken than the Organic Festival was to Whittlesey).

I have been to enough festivals to know that to make one like the Organic Festival work locally, it has to work with the local people rather then in spite of them.  The Organic Festival in Whittlesey this weekend, rode off the back of a Licence issued in 2005, effectively over-riding and ignoring the need to work with Whittlesey residents, listen to their concerns and react to them in a way that a new Licence would have ensured.

Someone has to listen and to learn.  Of course, as the Cambs Times reports, those that went had a great time - but that does not make a great festival = that comes about from getting the whole picture right.  The Organic Festival failed in that.

(NB: I was really, really saddened to read that one of the festival goers at Wacken died last weekend. Nobody expects anyone to go to a festival and not come home.  My heart goes out to his friends and  relatives.)

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