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Beef Of The Week #391: Live music v Any fun at all

By | Published on Friday 9 February 2018

Prohibited items

Back in the good old days, music festivals used to be fun. You could turn up, eat a fistful of drugs, take off your clothes, set fire to all your belongings and throw yourself around in the mud for days on end. On occasion, you might even do this close enough to some music to hear it, but it didn’t really matter.

Festival organisers turned a blind eye to all this because they were probably doing the same things. Once they’d wheeled a generator onto the site and placed it in a puddle, their work was done. They were happier times, where everyone was free to do whatever the hell they wanted.

Nowadays it’s all rules, rules, rules. You can’t do this, you can’t do that. Don’t smoke this, don’t eat that, don’t put that in there. Sure, you could say that people are safer, but are they naked and on fire? No. And I think we can all agree that’s sad.

This week, there have been various news reports about things that have been banned from live music events. Kicking off the trend was a sign placed at the entrance of a Foo Fighters show at the Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand. Among the prohibited items were:

• Unflattering photos of Ryan Seacrest
• Mixtapes not in CD format
• Scythes
• Pirated VHS tapes of ‘Land Of The Lost’.
• Cream magazines that do not mention Ted Nugent
• Any mention of Friendster or ‘Webster’ (starring Emmanuel Lewis)
• Beige or mustard coloured macramé wall hangings
• Leg warmers
• Free radicals (including antioxidants or Hong King Phuey, as voiced by Scatman Crothers)
• Derogatory press clippings of Shania Twain
• Any pencil that isn’t a number two (2) pencil
• Homemade nut milks

It’s lucky that I don’t live in New Zealand and I’m not really fussed about seeing the Foo Fighters, because it would have taken quite a while to get all of that stuff out of my bag. And I’d have had them in a bag larger than the 200mm x 300mm x 200mm size permitted too. Rather than hand it all over, I’d probably have just set fire to it in the car park, which would have been fun, but it’s not the same as doing it among the roar of a crowd.

Sure, you’re probably sitting there thinking that it’s just the famously-keen-on-rules New Zealanders who are at it. But no, British music events are also pretty keen on stopping you from properly enjoying music as it was intended.

I mean, what festival jaunt is complete without a potato peeler in your pocket? None. And yet Parklife Festival in Manchester had banned them outright.

After Noel Gallagher hired someone to play scissors in his live band, his brother Liam joked that he was “looking for somebody to peel some spuds live on stage”. He didn’t get anyone up to join him in the end, but there was a plucky young potato player in the audience, peeling away that night.

Since then, it seems, a disparate orchestra of potatoists has formed, all keen to join in when Liam Gallagher plays Manchester’s Parklife Festival in June. Sadly, such a beautiful moment has been denied to the city. Nay, the world.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, the festival’s Sacha Lord-Marchionne said: “We’ve been so blown away by this week’s launch and the demand for tickets, but even more blown away at how many people have asked to bring in potato peelers for Liam’s main stage performance. In case you’re wondering – the answer is most definitely no!”

Bloody fascists. Speaking of which, Truck Festival has banned people from bringing Katie Hopkins onto the festival site. I’m not sure there is even any flexibility for people who medically need to have Katie Hopkins with them at all times.

The professional outrage peddler and South African ketamine enthusiast is listed as a prohibited item on the festival’s website “due to her vile and horrendous opinions that Truck Festival wholeheartedly does not agree with”.

I reckon the founders of the Woodstock festival would be spinning in their graves over all this, if most of them weren’t still alive.