Does VIP Glastonbury Actually Ruin the Festival Experience?
Mindset3 Minutes Read

Does VIP Glastonbury Actually Ruin the Festival Experience?

July 1, 2024 Share

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Explore the diverse ways to experience Glastonbury 2024, from traditional camping to luxury accommodations, and how they shape the festival experience.

That’s it ladies and gents – the festival of the year is well and truly over. Leaving a trail of feathers, masks, and glitter, Glastonbury 2024 closed its doors with an outstanding SZA performance, and everyone in attendance is now fighting off the hangover as they make their way back to their nine-to-fives.

Hedonism over.

Image courtesy of Glastonbury

But whilst we’re all in a field listening to the same music, not everyone does Glastonbury the same. Some sleep in tents. Others go glamping. And, if you’re willing to dispense the price of a house deposit, you might even be based in the luxury of a high-end accommodation option like a boutique hotel room or private luxury yurt.

But does having a hotel, catered dinners, and concierge service ruin the quintessential scruff and mess that makes a festival worth it?

The Argument

Die-hard Festival Traditionalists would argue that slumming it is all part of the Glastonbury magic. Where’s the story in a comfy bed and a concierge? Roughing it with your mates, battling the elements, and emerging triumphant (and possibly a little worse for wear) is a rite of passage. Sharing a lukewarm shower with fellow festival-goers and queuing for questionable chips is all part of the shared experience that binds you to your fellow music lovers.

This sense of community is better understood through somethign called social identity theory, developed by Henri Tajfel and John Turner. This theory suggests that people find belonging by identifying with groups, and festivals are a prime example of this theory at play. Festivals create a strong social identity, an “us” versus “them” mentality that promotes cooperation within the festival crowd – it’s about sharing the experience, even the struggles like bad weather or long queues. Studies on communal coping show that sharing burdens and supporting each other can lessen stress. So, while battling the elements together might not be on the official festival itinerary, it can be a powerful bonding experience that strengthens the camaraderie amongst festival-goers. It’s why we’d rather be in the heart of a large crowd listening to Charlie XCX as opposed to blasting it on some amazing speakers alone in our bedrooms.

On the other hand, advocates of the luxurious life say that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the music in style. Who wouldn’t swap a soggy tent for a proper bed after a day spent belting out tunes in the mud? Besides, a hotel basecamp frees up valuable time and energy. No more wrestling with tent poles or foraging for lukewarm instant noodles – you can hit the ground running, catch the bands you really want to see, and maybe even schedule a relaxing massage to ease those weary festival feet. It might even allow you enough rest to rave harder, and better.

Image courtesy of the BBC

Festivals as Melting Pots of Cultural Preferences: 

Glastonbury 2024 is a microcosm of society, attracting people from all walks of life. Sociologists use the terms cultural omnivores and cultural univores to describe how people engage with culture, including festivals.

Cultural Omnivores are those adventurous souls relish a variety of cultural experiences. They might lose themselves in a classical music concert one night and headbang to their favorite band at Glastonbury the next. For them, the enjoyment comes from the richness and diversity of the experience itself.

On the other hand, Cultural Univores have a more restricted cultural diet. Some might gravitate towards highbrow experiences like classical music or art museums, associating them with sophistication and status. Others might prefer the familiar comfort of what some consider “lowbrow” entertainment.

Image courtesy of The Telegraph

It’s All About Your Festival Flavor

It’s important to remember that these are ideal types – most people fall somewhere in between. However, the concept of cultural omnivores and univores helps explain why some people would choose a hotel at Glastonbury while others wouldn’t dream of it. Ultimately, whether you crave the shared experience of the campsite or the tranquility of a hotel room, Glastonbury offers something for everyone. It’s about finding what creates your own unforgettable festival experience.

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Author: Laura Scalco
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