Explore Issue 01 of LOOP Magazine

Featuring Sam Tompkins and Victor Ray as our cover stars, as well as internal spreads from Girli, Jords, Mysie, Finn Askew, Kara Marni and Master Peace

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2022 Festival Retrospective

Since the dawn of festival time, humans have flocked together in big open expanses of nature to watch their favourite millionaires strum musical instruments, all whilst causing havoc, donning a face covered in glitter and taking enough mood-altering substances to take down a large animal. 2022 kept the tradition going, with music fans heading out in their droves to festival sites across the British Isles to make memories and forget about the stresses of their day-to-day life for a short period of time.

However, with troubling reports seemingly coming from every festival that took place this year, we here at LOOP wanted to delve deeper into the now finished 2022 festival season and ask, was 2022 a successful year for festivals, or was it an overall disaster?  

This year of festivals saw huge steps taken in the musical scene, not only with all festivals finally coming back to their former glory with no Covid regulations in place and once again pulling in large crowds of fans, ultimately being extremely lucrative for the until recently, struggling industry. But this year also saw equality of the sexes take centre stage, with more festivals than ever having a huge amount of female acts and female headliners on their line up. This year saw Megan Thee Stallion and Halsey taking two of the six headlining slots at Reading and Leads whilst Wolf Alice acted as support for Arctic Monkeys on the main stage. Glastonbury had Billie Ellish and Diana Ross take to the prestigious pyramid stage, making up half of the line-up female; and Wireless’ Finsbury Park event was fully female headlined this year. This is not to mention the incredible year of success BAME acts from across the world have had with UK music festivals.

However, despite the year of incredible talent our stages have been blessed with for the past few months, we have also seen our fair share of painful last-minute cancellations that would make even the most even-tempered music fan turn red with rage. Doja Cat, Ski Mask the Slump God and Burna Boy all dropped out of the running to take stage at Wireless, whilst fans at Reading and Leeds hoping to see the mighty return of the Rage Against The Machine boys were instead greeted with chirpy pop in the form of Matty Healy’s 1975, a replacement that is still mind-boggling almost a month after the announcement.

Whilst in a post-pandemic world it was stunning to have music lovers don their hiking boots and bucket hats for a summer of fun, it was impossible to escape the debauchery and chaos we brits love committing when given the chance.

Knebworth’s Liam Gallagher two-day weekend event devolved into riots across the site of Knebworth house as fans of the more outspoken Gallagher brother stormed the bars (due to alcohol shortages), caused a motorway pile up and somehow triggered a temporary blackout on the final night.

Countless festivals were overcrowded, understaffed and poorly ran, with Victorious festival in Portsmouth reaching record high numbers of attendees and creating a dangerous second stage area during Sophie Ellis Bextor’s Sunday set due to the sheer capacity of people crammed in to see the Hounslow native sing.

Wireless (Crystal Palace) Festival even had to issue an apology due to the poor planning of their disabled access, later refunding all access customers the full amount of their tickets to try and make up for the damages.

Pair this with Reading festival’s love for tent fires and Notting Hill carnivals stabbings and hundreds of arrests, and it’s clear UK events still haven’t learnt their lesson from Astro World. More than ever it is easy to understand why your nan always tells you to take care before attending any form of mass event in the United Kingdom.

2022 was a disappointing year for the overseeing and planning of live music events. Personally, I was let into multiple festivals and live shows this year without being searched or even asked to see a ticket; one day I entered the wrong Wembley and arrived at an Ed Sheeran Concert instead of a Twenty One Pilots show because I was allowed in by security.

Live events being run this way Is dangerous. In a post Manchester Arena bombings world, it is so imperative that hiring trained security and customer safety is a priority, however, it seems to have fallen by the wayside.

2022 was a successful year for live music in so many ways and brought a lot of happiness to what has been a very turbulent world. But poor planning and money saving on security is a severely dangerous game to play, one that cannot continue in the future. The longer we can keep music lovers simultaneously entertained and safe, the longer this industry we love can continue to prosper. Hopefully, 2023 learns from the mistakes of this year and brings us another summer to remember.  

Words by Mason Meyers

Posted On 3 October, 2022