Friday, 12 July 2013
DEAR LATITUDE FESTIVAL: A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS......
I don't want to bang on about the ever-increasing wealth gap in provision of/attaining the arts. I did it last year (and the year before) and it's out there for everyone to read.
The gap gets wider by the day, 'culture' is mainly unaffordable to those on low incomes, and the middle classes still pretend to care about Oxfam, Greenpeace, Water Aid and environmental issues, whilst littering the land with disposable barbecues, gazebos and tents.
The ticket prices for the modern day arts festival are now astronomical, and in order to stay for the duration, one would need an overdraft the size of Bristol just to survive.
The irony is that the only low-income attendees at these orgies of excess are the performers themselves.
And their guests.
And one wouldn't blame them, if after all the hard work & effort they have put in, a Penguin Publishing or SkyTV corporate-type came along and offered them a chance to escape the seemingly endless void of poverty. Only for they themselves to leapfrog aforesaid gap, and suck on the teats of the overlords, until the milk runs dry, and someone else is commissioned to entertain jester-like for the chosen few.
I do however want to have a pop at Festival Republic.
I'll get straight to the point.
The profit-obsessed promotions company who entertain us yearly with events such as Reading, Leeds, Berlin, Hove and Latitude (notice the last one isn't called 'Beccles' or 'Wangford') are a bunch of wankers.
They employ incredibly low-paid staff to do the jobs of people who should be highly paid within their profession; they charge punters ridiculous sums of money to stand about in their own shit & piss, in a field that suffers the degradation of human excess, every fuckin' year; they over-hype their events to the point where we all feel like failures if we haven't attended, and they cheat us out of our hard-earned cash through being coralled into a open-prison, where the only escape is to over-consume, over-inflated food, over several days.
I have had many issues with Festival Republic in the past.
Not least the time that Melvin Benn's storm-troopers threw my tent into a ditch, in order to accommodate Rufus Hound's camper-van;
or the time I left the site to go home, only to find on my return, that in their desire to get more & more Day Ticket punters onto the rain-flooded site, they had gone through three temporary car-parks, and were unsure where to put the fourth, resulting in a five hour trip for me, from house to tent.
I live in Beccles - nine minutes away!
The following day it took me a further seven hours to get home, but at least the AA were doing a roaring trade.
My issues this year are ones that will not arise from my attendance at Latitude 2013, but from details on the ticket itself.
There is now a "£30 Compulsory Donation to Charity" on the FREE tickets for guests.
Apart from the fact that this donation used to be voluntary, and by definition can't be 'compulsory', this figure has increased from £10 in 2007 to a sum that is way out of line with inflation (and welfare benefit increases), despite the fact that they have increased the number of guest tickets allocated by several thousands.
If you refuse to pay your donation, you are immediately asked to forego the Performer's Camping facilities (overflowing toilets & an angry barbecue chef) and pitch your tent in 'Normal Camping', away from your performer friends, and by the fifth day, in a zone that resembles anything other than 'normal camping'.
QUESTION 1: What are the charities that benefit from these donations? Trying as hard as I can with the search-engines and information supplied to me, I can find NO indication as to where this money goes, or who it benefits?
Several years ago I took my daughter to Latitude.
She had a lovely time, and I took advantage of the 'Under 14's Go Free' policy.
I note this year that the policy is now 'Under 4's Go Free'.
The very fact that this information on the ticket is proceeded by (Must Be Accompanied By An Adult At All Times) and even the feral yuppies of Latitude know that Under 4's need parenting, can I suggest that your profit-driven obsession with costs has stooped so low, you did a bit of a cheat on the ticket info?
QUESTION 2: Did you just scratch off the 1 from 'Under 14's' rather than re-write your T&C's to reflect your new policy?
QUESTION 3: In the light of Vodafone being exposed as Britain's largest tax-shirker
(£294m operating profit - NIL tax paid) couldn't you find a slightly less despicable sponsor for your festivals?
QUESTION 4: Why did Glastonbury drop you as a promoter after 12years?