I seem to remember that in the late sixties and early seventies people set off to festivals with a tenner in their pocket and a carefree skip in their stride. Nowadays they seem to take with them all the comforts and anxieties of home. A friend of a friend’s daughter turned up at Glastonbury a few years ago with a pull-along suitcase and some hair straighteners. I thought this was funny until I saw, at last year’s Latitude, a special tent where one could go and, for a fee, plug in your hair and beauty aids.
What’s even more surprising is that while the original festival goers set off to the country intent on shrugging off the hierarchies and strictures of everyday society and getting back to the garden, nowadays people go to the country in order to obey the festival organiser's rules, codes which are far more draconian and much less amenable to reason than any they would expect to deal with in their daily life. If ever you think the law of the land is unreasonable, think again. Try arguing with a festival steward over whether you’ve got the right wrist band. That’s when you learn about unreasonable authority and how a dog's obeyed in office. But nobody seems to mind. They accept it as the price of taking part. It particularly amuses me how my daughter and friends keep the wristbands on for months afterwards – as if they’d like to prolong their weekend serfdom.