When I was younger I used to go to festivals.
I went to Glastonbury in the 1980′s, when people still pitched tents in front of the main stage and you could climb over the fence and get in free, if you were brave enough.
There were lots of other, smaller festivals too. Generally, I had a great time.
But then it all turned sour.
Someone staggered into and destroyed our tent in the night. An extremely drunk couple thought our tent was theirs – and refused to leave. Too many aggressive, scary people around. Knives and threats. Lots of drugs and alcohol. Huge expense to be there in the first place.
So we stopped going.
We only recently started trying out a few festivals again. Just safe, friendly ones. Because kids get a real sense of freedom on a smaller site, meeting others, trying new things. There is some great music to be enjoyed. And the culture has changed from those days when it just didn’t feel safe.
At least, that’s what I thought until this weekend.
We went to Ashleyhay Festival. Small, friendly, local. We went to have fun.
But someone visited a good proportion of the tents, including ours, and, whilst we slept only inches away stole whatever they could reach from inside. Including all our money for the weekend. Even the small change. Even a child’s pocket money.
I’m amazed I didn’t hear them. But what would I have done if I had?
People were nice about it afterwards, but I didn’t want to be there any more. I just wanted to go home.
And I feel sad and angry and disillusioned with festival-going all over again.
Am I over-reacting? Possibly.
Do I think my feelings will change? I don’t know.
But I don’t want my child to be frightened of people coming in the tent in the night, going through our stuff. Actually, I don’t want to be frightened either.
So sadly I think that, for me at least, it’s time to admit that my festival-camping days are probably over.