Monthly Archives: August 2015

The illusion of ownership

Last month I attended my my thirtieth Cambridge Folk Festival.  (To see what I thought of it go here and to see some reasonable pictures go here.)  It’s the thing I’ve been doing longest in my life, longer than jobs, house, relationships so I inevitably end up feeling a bit proprietorial about it.  Inevitably, but wrongly.  The festival isn’t run for my benefit or that of any other individual attendee, it’s run for the benefit of the attendees as a whole and given that after a blip a few years ago it’s back to selling out the organisers must be doing something right.  In point of fact they do many things right and some things brilliantly.

And yet, and yet.  It’s hard not to stroll around and think “I wouldn’t do it that way” or peruse the bill and think “I’d have put X on instead” and so on.  An example.  The food available is, to put it charitably, poor.  Compared to say WOMAD or Green Man, both of which attract similar demographics, the quality, choice, price and even service are dreadful.  But it never changes and probably never will.  In terms of the festival as a whole this is a relatively minor gripe as its perfectly possible to put up with food that isn’t quite what you’d want and focus on the good stuff, like the chance to see band X.  But the very fact that so much of the festival is superb both highlights and magnifies the bits that aren’t.  And that proprietorial sense means that I feel that something should be done, because it’s my festival and it doesn’t meet my standards.  Which is ridiculous but unavoidable, at least for me.  It’s similar to the affront a superfan feels when seeing their favourite musician and they don’t play a song they wanted to hear.  They don’t control the musician but feel, at some level, as though they do or should.

All of the above is just musing rather than leading to a point, a description of a condition rather than a cure for it.  And knowing the condition and understanding it should be the first steps in resolving it, and maybe they will be.  I wouldn’t bet on it though.  And it would still be good if Cambridge improved their food.  And used social media better. And…