Friday, March 19, 2010

Fed Up with "Festivals"

It's that time of year again when festivals seem to be happening every other weekend. And up here in the Blue Mountains, there is one you could attend every day of every weekend.
Now, I hope I don't offend too many people here, but I am sick to death of "festivals" and I'll tell you why.

Festivals are usually promoted as community and family events but let me tell you about the last few festivals I have attended.

Firstly, they are full of stalls, the exact same stalls you see at every craft market held in the mountains. They either have handmade items or cheap, mass produced crap from China. Either way, I don't consider it entertainment and I know my family don't enjoy being dragged past 101 of these stalls as a form of weekend entertainment.

After the stalls come the rides. I have to admit that the smaller members of the family do enjoy this part of any festival and after I take out a second mortgage I am happy to let them have their 30 seconds of fun for around $5 a pop. But again, not family friendly and not particularly culturally enriching.

Of course there is some free entertainment, usually in the form of dance troupes and singers sourced from the local talent pool.

And I don't mean to be rude but unless you are these childrens' mothers there is nothing entertaining about watching a group of amateur dancers perform on a stage about as big as my dining room table.

And that's about it. Of course there is the unhealthy food, a few stilt walkers and a fire engine or two but unless you're a fan of dagwood dogs or under the age of 2, the entertainment value of these offerings is limited.

Nope, I'm giving the community festivals a miss this year and hopefully I'll have a lot more money in my pocket as a result. More money to spend on craft supplies, healthy food to cook up on the weekend and more money for books to read. The sorts of things that really do enrich my family.


Jane said...

As much as I like the idea of community, I'm inclined to agree, Ness. At the end of the day these are still marketing exercises, attempting to get you to spend money on things you don't need. And with kids in tow, it's very hard to not come away with anything left in your pocket.
I am very over rides like that. And most of those silly shopping centre rides where you can give your kids 30 seconds of entertainment for $2. Here, we have one store who's had the same old ride on horse out the front forever, and it's always been 20c a ride. When the kids were younger, I'd stash 20c pieces in my bag because I never minded giving them a ride on Trixie for that money. They knew better than to ask for a ride on the other rides that were owned by some faceless franchisee in all the shopping centres.

Debbie said...

we are lucky here , we have one festival only and that is next weekend.
It is a nostalgia festival and has old cars and rock and roll bands. It is pretty good as far as festivals go and the town is packed for the whole weekend. Streets are closed off and you can't get to shops unless you walk.
It is good for the town and it is getting very large now. They haven't got the rides here yet :0)
but do have markets and yucky food.
I only have it one weekend a year and can put up with that.

libby said...

I've never been to any of the festivals around here - and now I'm glad as I'm pretty sure they'd be like yours. I'm with you on the dancing - it's always seemed strange to me - esp. those that go all the way to Disneyland to dance a few songs - crazy!
Sometimes we'll go to Kiama markets and we do let the kids have a few rides :-).


Linda said...

I was just saying this morning how much I dislike our Festival. Saying that makes me cringe as the locals would be very upset with me having that attitude. I live close to the festival so ignoring it doesn't help, I was able to do that in our hometown before we came here. It spoils my autumn. I'm thinking I'm over reacting, but by the time it comes I'm sure I'll remember what I don't like about it.