Children watching concert at festival - Getty/iStock
Children watching concert at festival - Getty/iStock© Getty/iStock

The festival season is upon us. Or, at least, upon those of us with deep pockets. The cost of Glastonbury tickets has, this year, risen from £270 to £340. Who can afford that, you might ask? In brief, the middle aged and middle classed. Or as one Reddit thread put it more poetically: “It’s so middle class these days the welfare tent is run by BUPA!” (Fact check: it’s not, not yet at least...)

So if you (like me), fall into this demographic, you can either give yourself a pat on the back for keeping festivals afloat, or, you could take a good hard look at yourself and tell us if (a one academic paper put it) you too are contributing to music festivals turning “from mosh pit to posh pit”.

Early morning ashtanga 

Rising early to do yoga, ideally on a stand-up-paddle-board, balanced on the still waters of a lake, preferably in the grounds of a stately home? Strike one. 

Latitude founder Melvin Benn saw us coming as early as 2014, when he said (perhaps slightly too frankly): “Yoga absolutely reinforces our middle-class credentials, and I’ve no qualms about that at all.” The practice, of course, spread faster than you can say “lululemons”.  

A yoga class takes place during the Latitude Festival - PA
A yoga class takes place during the Latitude Festival - PA© Provided by The Telegraph

See ‘Overhead at Wilderness’, a briefly viral hashtag celebrating (or was it reviling?) snippets of conversation from the most middle-class of festivals (think ‘Overheard at Waitrose’ but even more chi-chi). A Huffington Post reporter won with this harvested gem: “Father in a sparkly headband to toddler: “have you done your yoga yet, sweetie?” 

Which leads us on to the next test...

Do you drag the kids along?

Diggory and Araminta have been going to festivals since they were in utero. You used to put them in a vintage trailer (expensive ear-defenders optional, fairy lights a must). But then they started expressing opinions on your music choices, which was a bit of a downer. So thank God for the babysitting service in the kids’ field where (for £40) you can park them every evening and – if there’s a must-see talk on microdosing or a gong bath session or some costly cosmic recalibration to do – much of the day too. 

Children at festival - Getty/E+
Children at festival - Getty/E+© Provided by The Telegraph

Do you know your rights?

Jemima and Henry have absolutely aced the dress code. They could not look more free-spirited and easy-going if they tried (and dear God, have they tried). But they’re not bloody fools. Henry is a man of means and doesn’t have to put up with incompetence. Thus, the teenage minimum-wage workers at the vintage food truck, and the nice eco-entrepreneurs running the floral crown workshops, live in fear of running out of sriracha sauce or peonies. 

Jemima and Henry know their rights and (in the absence of the toddlers who disappeared into the creche two days ago and have not been seen since) are more than ready to throw their own toys and privilege out of the pram. Rightly so. As the Mirror recounted when Borough Market’s cheese festival became overcrowded: “Andy Green travelled all the way from Kent to eat cheese and was very upset by the meltdown.”

Enter the echo chamber 

Because you’re not only a free-spirit (trapped in Fulham for 360 days a year) but you’re also ‘an enquiring mind’ (temporarily ensnared by the City) you’ve made sure to book into all the most zeitgeisty talks. You are expanding your worldview. It is, I suppose, slightly odd then that everyone in the audience and on stage looks rather like you. In fact, looking around, you feel like you recognise a fair few from the school run/ski trips/the kids’ tennis classes.

Welcome to what the actor Keith Allen has termed: the Whitehallisation of festivals. He was talking specifically about the Edinburgh Fringe, and Whitehalls of the Jack, not governmental variety, though the same probably applies. Either way, posh white men have taken over, he claimed, with the result that: “The festival now has as much creative energy as a chartered surveyors’ away day.”

Wildly overblown use of the world ‘wild’

There will be wild swimming (strictly from 10-10.45 am, only under the supervision of the lifeguard), wild flower crowns (£35 a workshop), wild mushrooms in the organic £15 breakfast rolls, wild cooking by Michelin-starred chefs (£80 a head for some foraged sorrel off a trestle table), wild nights out dancing to DJs in their 50s and ending at just past 10pm. “How was it?” your friends back in High Wycombe will ask. “Oh, it was absolutely wild,” you absolutely must reply.

tipis on the festival site of Glastonbury Festival - Redferns/Getty
tipis on the festival site of Glastonbury Festival - Redferns/Getty© Provided by The Telegraph

Tipi or not tipi?

First they came for our perfectly serviceable Mountain Warehouse tents, and we did not speak out because bell tents do have a certain nostalgic charm, especially when sprinkled artfully with bunting. Then came pre-erected glamping tipis. And we still stayed silent because putting up the bell tent was a bit of a bore after a long week at the coal face and while we are still very much (can’t stress this enough) young and free at heart, the double bed and White Company sheets are rather easier on the old back and knees. 

But now, suddenly, The Pop-Up Hotel’s “luxe Glastonbury glamping experience” is charging £11,999 for five nights in a “Safari Suite” with a king size bed, sofa, and en-suite bathroom with (crucially) your own private flushing toilet, hot water, shower and basin. There’s a private bar on site too, which is nice as you don’t have to jostle with the grockles, and a pool, restaurant and spa. 

So really, you find yourself wondering, do we really need to traipse the ten-minute ‘flat walk’ to the festival itself. We can hear it all at a rather more civilised volume from here, and catch the highlights on the iPad (plentiful charging points). We’ll just dip in at the end to collect the kids from the babysitting service...  

Do you think music festivals have become too ‘middle class’? Or do you enjoy the modern amenities that can often be found at them? Please join the conversation in the comments below