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twice as big, half as good?

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Neil

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The cancellation of some of the more major festivals this year have brought a lot of easy headlines for newspapers and the music press, with a raft of reasons suggested as the cause - the olympics, the recession, poor bookings, expensive tickets, and the like.

Those things are of course in the mix and it would be foolish to dismiss the effect they have, but there's much more going on to effect the festivals scene than just those.

Back in 2006 I wrote this article titled "Regulation, Retro and Rubbish", and having just revisited it I can see I called much of it right.

Regulation has tended to tighten again, the change of licencing laws being just a false dawn. Spontinatity is now only permitted if it's been included in the programme and a full risk assessment is carried out. The freedom that festivals once represented and gave the central appeal to the whole idea is long dead and buried.

Retro came and stole the show, and with the dominance of so much dreadful indie landfill it deserved to. But when it goes huge for pop acts like Take That and even Steps can get in on the act then it's time recognise that retro is hitting the bottom of the barrel marked sub-standard, and it's time to move on.

And the rubbish - both kinds - have got more rubbish. When The Hop Farm's booking of Bruce Forsyth is the freshest thing to happen in festival bookings for years then it's time for a re-think.

I said back then "with festivals now so firmly mainstream that they’re something even your grannie might do, are the fashionable days of festivals numbered?."

The grannies have eaten the festivals.

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