City or Field?

Festivals are a HUGE business these days with everyone getting in on the act. Picking your summer festival is a tricky business! From the huge corporate sponsored festivals (O2 Wireless, T in the Park, V) to the anti-corporate ethics of (Green-Man, Field Day) to niche fests (Creamfields, Download, ATP, etc… ). The current indie explosion of “discovering the hottest band in the land” clearly has a lot to answer for!

It is one such festival, which has sprung up over the last few years, that I attended over the last May bank holiday.

Dot 2 Dot festival is a relatively small but ever growing city festival based in Nottingham and Bristol, I personally was at the west country leg. The idea of a city festival is a great one and whoever came up with the concept should be knighted for lots of reasons I’ll go into. But which is best – City or Field? Let’s ponder…

The Dot 2 Dot lineup was packed with emerging and more established bands, clean undercover venues, cheap tickets, no overblown marketing ploys, good sound systems, in a vibrant city to explore, a city full of choices to eat and an actual bed with shower/catering facilities (that’s if you live nearby, which thankfully my girlfriend does…yay Anna!)

No more being woken by the sun at 6am in a sizzling tent or the drunk louts singing “feeling hot-hot-hot” at 4am, no eating greased up burgers from those dodgy catering vans, no beer from cardboard cups, no standing in the pouring rain watching your favourite bands, and most importantly no damn portaloos! Of course these are all part of the summer festival experience and I would never think of changing them.

The city festivals are not immune to criticism either. There is no possibility of standing in sun to watch bands, venues tended to be quite far apart (up to 40 mins if you were really unlucky), you may not be let into a venue if its too crowded (thankfully this never happened to us), no huge bands could ever play them, you lose a sense of the festival camaradery as other non-festies are chilling out sipping their Sunday afternoon coffee’s totally oblivious to the action unfolding around them. Plus some venues (huh.huh …Trinity Music Centre…huh..huh..) are in some rather unpleasant areas.

I hope that you, like me, realize the definitive answer to this question. And that is no matter how long I can compare them to each other, essentially they are totally different concepts. The only similarity being it appeals to the music fans and any one who remotely enjoys music will love both experiences on their own merits.

So here I find myself back at the start of this ramble and no further along to an answer than when I started. Still I hope I may have ignited a spark within some of you to get out there to at least one festival over the summer, there truly is no better way of sampling all the best bands in the world on a budget!

Standby for the full Dot 2 Dot 2008 (Bristol) review shortly….

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