What kind of mofo misanthrope hates festivals? What kind of po-faced, puling fool ain't full of ribald, tribal rapture at the prospect of a sun-soaked weekend of hemp-based, henna-hued horseplay, carbon neutral creativity and laid-back sonic socialising? Well.
Whisked off by work to Mile High music festival in Denver last weekend, I paled with despair beneath my faux folk frock and Factor 50. Everything was, as I suspected, multicoloured, masticating and sweaty. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were heartbreakingly petty. Salty, self-satisfied muso snobs barged around with Bud Light and bulging burritos.
Nonetheless, slowly, sweetly, I found myself won over by Steve Winwood, Michael Franti & Spearhead, and a Woodstock veteran called Ron. The heat softened my brittle British bones, the drums dulled my crowd-craven ways, and there was even a moment, listening to JJ Grey and Mofro with The Sun Is Shining Down, when I found myself, sun-soaked, beer-bellied and barefoot, almost thinking: I love you. All. Even you, you fat American idiots.
Almost. In the very midst of it all, giving in to the gladding crowd, there was still a little piece of me that cringed and curled. Even the best fest is saturated in a smog of smug, so much soppy, pseudo-pastoral posturing. The more I give into it, the more I hate the sound and sight of myself.
Which is why I've never gone to Latitude, that high-minded Suffolk soirée 'for people who don't like festivals'. A kind of Brownie camp for brown-nosing bourgeoisie, it sounds vomitously pretentious and posturing, but drop me into this middle-class creative heaven on granary toast and I would blatantly be squealing and rolling like a prosecco-marinated pig in organic shit.
Pathetic. A must for next year. Ready the yurts.