Quantities of drugs seized at music festivals across the UK have declined significantly over the last three years, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act which provide a unique insight into changing patterns of drug use at British music festivals.
The data, which covers festivals taking place over four years - from 2008 to 2011 - shows drug confiscations peaking in 2009 but falling away rapidly in the years since.
Between 2009 and 2011 seizures of cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy all fell by over 65% and the total for all substances dropped by a similar margin - from £288,420 to £101682.
On the Isle of Wight it’s been largely about cocaine and ecstasy, at Glastonbury the hauls of ketamine have been creeping up, while the drug of choice for heavy metal fans would seem to be Jack Daniels and other booze.
As a tens of thousands of young (and not so young) music fans await another festival season, new figures based on police activities at 10 major festivals over the past four years provide an insight into the range and scale of drugs seized.
They show that seizures of popular drugs such as cannabis and ecastasy have been in decline, possibly due factors such as changing behaviour, demographics and policing priorities.
Cocaine seizures have been in sharp decline since the onset of the economic hard times, and there is some evidence to back up suggestions that recreational drug users have been turning to relatively cheaper drugs like ketamine, the horse tranquilliser dubbed the ‘new ecstasy’.
Individual events also meanwhile display particular characteristics when it comes to the type of drugs seized.
The lion’s share of cocaine seizures last year took place at the Isle of Wight festival and the island’s other big musical event, Bestival, where 50,000 people enjoyed an eclectic mix of rock, folk and dance.
The two festivals also stood out from the others in terms of ecstasy seizures, accounting for nearly half of the value of all drugs seized at Bestival last year.
By contrast, drug seizures were almost non-existant at the Womad (World of Music, Arts and Dance), often regarded as the festival of choice for a stereotypically Guardian-reading, older music fan. Last year, the only drugs confiscated in swoops by Wiltshire Police was cannabis with a street value of £151.
Expectations that rock fans meanwhile might be prone to emulating some of their harder living idols are also somewhat confounded. Seizures were comparatively low at the two festivals catering for them - the Download festival in Leicestershire and Sonisphere at Knebworth House, Hertfordshire.
At Sonisphere, where 190,000 fans last year moshed along to bands including Motorhead and Slipknot, just over £400 of drugs was seized across the weekend. It was mostly cannabis, with cocaine making up the balance. Ecstasy and amphetamines were absent.
At the country’s best known gathering of music lovers, where Glastonbury organisor Michael Eavis last year said that the drug culture “had changed beyond belief” and that it was “a cheek to even suggest there’s a problem”, more than £200,000 worth of drugs has been seized by police over the past four years.
Last year’s haul of more than £44,000 was a rise of 12% on the previous year although, like other festivals where larger quanties of drugs have been confiscated, seizures are considerably down on 2009’s relative high.
Across all 10 festivals - Glastonbury, V, the Isle of Wight, Bestival, Download, Sonisphere, Leeds, Reading, Womad and Wireless- there has been a sharp decline since that year in the value both of cocaine and cannabis seized, according to the figures obtained through a series of Freedom of Information requests by Request Initiative, a nonprofit that makes requests for charities and NGOs.
The graphic below shows total street values of drugs seized in 2011, with figures broken down by substance and festival
Peppermint says; Good work Police! You don’t need drugs to have a good time at a festival, they have no place. Just come and visit one of our bars!
Are you going to a festival this year? I bet you are. Have you thought about what you’re going to wear? Ah. Before you start panic-buying Hunter wellies and spending ridiculous amounts of money on over-priced band t-shirts, have a read of this.
Some of you may remember our festival fashion trends article from last year. This was one of our most read pieces ever - we’re back with 2012’s installment of what exactly you should be wearing at the festivals this summer!
The well-known faces on the festival scene, such as Alexa Chung, probably don’t have all their clothes for the weekend scrunched up in a back pack along with baby wipes and crisps. They step out looking fresh, crease-free and usually pretty fashionable in their expensive-but-casual ensemble which unfortunately for us normal folk, can be difficult to emulate. We can but try!
Firstly, the essentials. It’s going to rain, it’s a British weather habit that we are used to, but still complain about, and therefore wellies are top of the festival fashion list. Hunter wellies are good quality, come in a range of fun colours and are in the not-so-fun price range of £45-80 on their official website Check eBay for some bargains though. They’ll keep your feet dry and you can even wedge pocket money and a mobile phone inside them. If you don’t want to necessarily pay for the Hunter name, then places like Tesco and Asda sell wellies in a variety of patterns and colours and does the same job of preventing trench foot.
A recent fashion phenomenon is the playsuit; it encapsulates your torso allowing your limbs to be free and gives them a rare chance to get a sun tan. H&M have got new stock of playsuits for the summer season that are a bargain at only £12.99. It’s essentially a whole outfit, which can be worn with a big cardigan or denim jacket for the cool evenings around a campfire, or dressed up with lots of accessories, such as copious amounts of bracelets or a weird and wonderful headband. Did you know that headbands now do more than keep your hair out of your face? They can be an addition to your outfit, colour co-ordinated, and essential in disguising how much your hair needs a wash after a weekend without a shower. ASOS have got a good range of ‘off the wall’ headgear that should get people talking.
For a less pricey look go for Pret a Portobello’s Elmstone Peacock Feather Crown (£30). A regular fixture at London’s Portobello Market, Elmstone creates beautiful works of art from feathers, lush velvets and vintage appliques and buttons. Make yourself a queen with this crown - which was even featured as one of Vogue’s top festival buys.
Or do you want to channel your inner hippy chick? There’s an array of pretty flowery headbands to help you conjure up that 60s vibe. Accessorize sells a Flower Crown Bando in green with little white and yellow flowers for £6. If that’s not your style, they have 43 other bandos to choose from - none of which will break the bank.
Dry shampoo is all the rage - but, any of the above hats or headbands will help tame locks that haven’t been washed for a few days!
Working our way down the body - scarves are another festival accessory staple. Alexia has scarves made of and with just about anything you could dream of - tie dyes, stripes, fringes, pom poms, jeweled beads, chiffon, silk, sequins, and even zippered pockets! They’re a bit expensive - ranging from £49 to £149, but take a look and you’ll be hooked! (Or head to your favorite high street shop for a more pocket-friendly look alike)
We all love abit of denim. But the tricky weather can mean soaked denim that takes a life time to dry, or traps the sunshine heat in a way that gives a less than pleasurable burning sensation. Never the less, try some denim shorts. Every vintage shop tend to sell the old Levi’s brand of denim shorts; high-waisted ones are great to tuck in a T-shirt and have deep pockets, handy for a mobile phone or
money to save taking a bag around the festival site. Denim shorts could be paired with some patterned tights, try Topshop for some bright and brilliant designs.
For guys, you may prefer less flowery wellies and the usual jeans and T-shirt combination, which is fine. Check out Topman for some fabulous printed sweatshirts that could be layered with a checkered shirt or teamed with some skinny jeans. You’ll look sharp, despite the lack of sleep and the elongated hangover.
Oh, and don’t forget sunglasses! It might surprise everyone and turn out to be a brilliant summer.
By Jennifer Jordan
“THE Magic Fox Vintage Smoothie Boutique Urban Forest Pop Up Chill Retreat” is to be Britain’s first 100 percent twat-friendly festival.
Source: The Daily Mash.
Festival ‘curator’ Tom Logan said: “My friends and I wanted to create something for ourselves - a right bunch of wealthy jumped-up media twats with a ridiculous sense of entitlement and legions of horrible mop-headed children, all of whom are called Mungo.
“We would probably get punched at Latitude. Honestly, we’re that bad.
“Magic Fox Vintage Smoothie Boutique Urban Forest Pop Up Chill Retreat is a combination of all the most annoying, smug, po-faced aspects of festival culture into a smorgasbord of heavily-branded twatness.
“There will be deerstalker hats, depressingly nostalgic 90s dance acts - we’ll probably go with Faithless, who are now old enough to be considered ironic - and some fucking thing called The Mystic Dell.
“We’ve got people with moustaches playing gypsy jazz records on a gramophone while the Wombles perform a burlesque routine, stupid fucking food stalls where you can buy a ‘hand-raised’ pie with an infantile name, and luxury woodland play areas where horrible designer-clad infants can kick frogs while giggling.
“It will be a hybrid of Waitrose and The Wicker Man.
“Also there will be macaroon biscuits. And people wearing fox masks, just prancing around aimlessly.”
He added: “But the Magic Fox Vintage Smoothie Boutique Urban Forest Pop Up Chill Retreat isn’t just about twats. There’s also plenty for pricks, like a bicycle-power retro puppet eco-show that reworks Punch and Judy as an environmental fable.
“There will be stalls. We don’t know what they’ll be selling but everything will be a tenner.”
Music fan Emma Bradford said: “I’m going to spend that weekend in West London as it will have become temporarily pleasant.”
Station Sessions Festival is returning to St Pancras International and is on track to entertain the millions of music fans, commuters and tourists visiting the station this spring.
Over 100 established and emerging artists will perform free gigs over 44 days between 22 March and 4 May 2012, making it not only the first festival of the season but also the longest music festival in the UK.
After a storming debut festival last summer, the second Station Sessions Festival launches on Thursday 22 March with a special stripped-down performance by postpunk pioneers The Futureheads as a taster for their upcoming a cappella and acoustic tour.
A Facebook competition is underway to find an unsigned band to fill The Futureheads support slot. Ten bands are shortlisted on the Station Sessions Facebook group, and the band with the most ‘Likes’ will open the festival.
Station Sessions Festival performances will be based across a central main stage and number of additional fringe stages around the station. This year highlights on the main stage include performances from Get Cape.Wear Cape.Fly, Alt-J and Molotov
Jukebox. Performances on the main stage will be every weekday between 5.30pm-6.30pm. In addition to the main programme there will also be a number of secret gigs from household names throughout the festival, which will be unannounced but will surprise and delight visitors to the station.
For the finale on Friday 4 May, Station Sessions Festival is partnering with the infamous Camden Crawl. Closing the festival, four acts will perform for 30 minutes each between 2pm and 5:30pm. More details will be released nearer the time.
Station Sessions, which runs weekly gigs at St Pancras throughout the year, has recently been shortlisted for the ‘Best Music and Brand Partnership in 2012’ prize at the upcoming Music Week Awards.
By Imogen Reed
Festivals come in all sorts of shapes, and all sorts of sizes. The big festivals, such as Glastonbury and Reading, are reassuring fixtures in the festival calendar. Having been in existence for years, they are not likely to suddenly fold or be refused a licence. These are festivals everyone has heard of and everyone knows what to expect from. However, these are not the only festivals on the scene. Glastonbury started off back in 1970 with 1500 attendees, who paid a pound to get in. The ticket price included a free pint of milk.
Things are very different now with some festival goers prepared to set sail on the Fred Olsen line to see acts play at the oft sold out Norway Rock Festival. However, if you want to re-capture the spirit of Glastonbury in its early days, there are plenty of smaller festivals around which might fit the bill. Some are newer festivals which may or may not go on to bigger things (as Secret Garden Party has done, growing from 1000 to 26000 capacity in eight years). Others have no intention of growing, their small size being part of their reason for being. Either way, the smaller end of the festival scene is very often the most exciting. Every festival has to start somewhere, so this is where new ideas get tested and sometimes, legends are born.
Croissant Neuf Summer Party, Monmouthshire
Croissant Neuf is one of Glastonbury’s most eclectic and oldest stages. The summer party is the stage’s own ‘breakaway’ festival, in a stunning setting in the Welsh hills. There is a strong emphasis on green credentials: Croissant Neuf is a solar-powered stage, and at Glastonbury forms a key part of the Greenfields. Most food is organic and recycling is a must. Families will feel at home, with lots of workshops for kids and adults, and a strong community spirit (especially around the communal campfire). Expect to hear a broad mixture of music, including up-and-coming bands and old favourites. Tickets cost £95, capacity 2000, festival dates 10th-12th August.
Truck Festival, Oxfordshire
Truck Festival has been around since 1998, and like Glastonbury, is located on a farm owned by the people who run it. The festival is intended to be a smaller version of bigger festivals like Glastonbury, with a mixture of rock and dance music. Food is served by the local rotary club, and local beer and cider is available. Truck has that cobbled-together, local feel that the bigger commercial festivals lack. Tickets £69, capacity 5000, festival dates 20th-22nd July.
Glade Festival, Norfolk
Like Croissant Neuf, Glade is a Glastonbury spin-off. The Glade Stage at Glastonbury is a dance stage set in beautiful wooded glade. The Glade Festival offers a heady mix of pretty much any kind of electronic music you can imagine, and a friendly atmosphere which is hard to find at many festivals. Having doubled its capacity this year, it is a bit of a stretch to call it a small festival. However, it makes the list because its ethos is most definitely ‘small festival’, with a strong emphasis on community spirit and fun in the countryside. Tickets £135, capacity 10,000, festival dates 14th-17th June.
Loopallu is (of course!) in Ullapool, a remote town in western Scotland. It would hardly be the first choice of venue for most festival organisers. However, the location on the shores of Loch Broom, with festivities spilling over into the local village pubs, makes for a unusual and diverse festival experience. The organisers started Loopallu because they wanted to put on a festival in their home town, while giving back something to the community. It’s certainly worked, and the festival has attracted names like Franz Ferdinand and the Stranglers in the past. Tickets £75, capacity 2500, festival dates 21st to 22nd September.
End of the Road, Dorset
End of the Road is a friendly, varied festival that really does have something for everyone. It is almost like a mini-Glastonbury, with so much going on, everywhere you look. As well as a varied music line-up, you’ll find comedy, art, cinema and even a woodland library. That said, it is a music-focussed festival, with an emphasis on strong programming and with most bands playing longer sets than is standard. There is a strong green ethos, with most of the food stalls being fairtrade, organic or both. Tickets £150, capacity 5000, festival dates 31st August to 2nd September.
No Glastonbury, so What’s the Alternative?
So as Glastonbury takes what some (particularly the local residents) would call a well earned break in 2012, others are looking at the summer calendar in sheer desperation at the prospect of missing their summer fix of that heady mix of the weird and wonderful in terms of the music and performance that the country’s biggest convergence provides. Well there is no point in staring at the website pages for the 2011 event and refreshing your browser every five minutes, the big event is not going to happen this year. It is time to plan what you can do instead. Whether your preference was for the John Peel Stage, The Acoustic Tent or the Dance Village stages (or all of the above) there is a bountiful summer selection of events which should go some way to filling the void during the months ahead.
So what are the alternatives? There is no doubt that there are plenty of promoters out there desperate to fill in the cataclysmic vacuum that the absence of the big festival leaves behind. But who will step up and provide the best combination of noise, camping and mud slides?
Here is a quick look at some of the preferences that are out there and being used to keep the entertainment junkies in check until the Glasto returns in 2013:
Bestival could prove to be the event that picks up most as a result of Glastonbury’s absence. The late summer/early autumn event on the Isle of White, which kicks off just after schools have gone back between Thursday 8th and Sunday 11th September plays host to some hot festival acts including Pendulum and Primal Scream. The event also boasts the world’s biggest fancy dress party with up to 40,000 expected to attend attired under the themes of Rock Stars, Pop Stars and Divas.
Reading & Leeds Festival
Perennial event, The Reading Festival, could also mop up some of the vagrant glasto goers form the summer streets during the final weekend (From Friday 26th to Sunday 28th) of August. The event has already filled its 87,000 capacity and is show casing some of the serious festival heavyweight acts including My Chemical Romance, The Strokes and Muse in and event which would serve to satisfy those who prefer the main stage of Glastonbury to the diversionary tents.
The Big Chill
The Big Chill at Eastnor Castle from Thursday the 4th to Sunday the 7th of August will give some outlet to those who enjoyed the mixture of dance and entertainment provided at the Glastonbury gig. In addition to playing host to some of the biggest names on the festival circuit including Kanye West and The Chemical Brothers the event has an extensive arts programme which promises and eclectic mix from the fields of film, comedy, dance and cabaret. And for those who are confident enough to give it a go the festival also plays host to the Skate Ramp, provided by GreenpeaceHeathensk8 and Third Foot. This is an eco-friendly and challenging way to burn off the excesses of the night before as well as a way of entertaining your mates before you head out to do it all again. Catering to ensure the whole family gets something from the event there is even a Boutique Babysitting ‘mini festival’ which will allow the little ones to play in their own music studio, and set up in their own wardrobe, production and stage areas.
Another event which may well see its 90,000 capacity filled by those who normally would have held on until the main event of the summer is the V Festival in Chelsmford on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th August. Although the acts are as yet unconfirmed the bill is sure to list some big name festival acts and in addition to its reasonably accessible location its timing is fairly central in August not clashing with many of the other main events of the summer.
If in doubt probably the best alternative is to find a venue close to your own doorstep with reasonably good pub insurance and ask the landlord if he wouldn’t mind cranking up the sound system to 11 and allowing you to sling a few tonnes of wet topsoil across his beer garden. Not very likely, but you never know.