Glastonbury music festival is a fossil-fuel guzzling, water-course polluting, white-privilege jamboree without parallel anywhere else in the world. So why is the political left so in love with it?
The irony of celebrating your green credentials by completely trashing a pleasant corner of Somerset once a year is apparently entirely lost on the cash-strapped Guardian, who are the festival’s main sponsor.
On the face of it, the event itself is exactly the sort of thing what your typical metro-sexual north London elite type would imagine a stereotypical baby-eating right winger dreaming up. Consider this: almost everything on site is powered by fossil fuel. Stages, sound systems, lighting, the hundreds of food concessions – they are very nearly all powered by diesel generators. Really big ones.
Complementing this is the nightly pagan-like worship by thousands of a 40-foot, 50-ton metal spider which shoots columns of flame out of its body so large they cascade another 80-feet into the air. The explosions cause shock-waves that can be felt three miles away – even if this year the propane bottles (more of those awful fossil fuels) have been belatedly replaced with biofuel (truly nasty stuff), the obsession with pumping the black stuff into the sky is one that sits unusually with a festival professing green values.
There are then, of course, the people who actually go to Glastonbury itself. It is probably fair to assume the vast majority there have nothing more than a nodding acquaintance with the hug-a-tree green ideals of the festival. It takes over six weeks to get the place back to a point where it can be used as a dairy farm again, after one weekend of dropped beer cans, half-eaten kebabs and drug paraphernalia.
There’s racism too. Don’t be fooled by its fluffy image – going to Glastonbury is probably the whitest thing you can do. The left wing are absolutely obsessed with ethnic quotas in science, the police, and politics – yet in truth their chosen leisure time activity is probably less diverse than the UKIP summer conference.
Granted, getting blind drunk, munching on ecstasy, and wolfing down a bacon sandwich to assuage your hangover at three o’clock in the afternoon isn’t likely to appeal to your average British Muslim during Ramadan. And the diversity of accents to be overheard in all parts of the festival is astounding – Cockney, Somerset, Liverpudlian, Scots, Irish, and Welsh – not to mention smatterings of Americans, Australians and Dutch, is astounding.
But these people are predominantly white Anglo-Saxons. The bands and acts, are predominantly white Anglo-Saxons. Shock horror, many of the acts are all male. The left go wild for their Change.org petitions against all male panels in pretty much every field conceivable. Isn’t it time for Glastonbury to do its bit to smash the Patriarchy?
Perhaps all of this is a little too close to the bone for some. Among the true believers, there is a sneaking suspicion that everyone who can afford to pay the £220 entry fee is beneath the glitter and shabby clothes are secret investment bankers and fracking executives. Polly Toynbee is one – and take pity. After one joker mocked up a Guardian poll of how Glastonbury festival goers voted in this years general election, complete with Guardian logo and typeface, she took the bait.
— Polly Toynbee (@pollytoynbee) June 28, 2015
If only it were true. Bring on the summer festival for the truly conservative at heart. Kipper-Fest, anyone?
Follow Oliver Lane on Twitter: Follow @Oliver_Lane or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org