601 words on Hurricane
Essentially this year’s Hurricane festival wasn’t as exciting as that in 2004 or 2006. If it hadn’t been for Arcade Fire and my friends I probably wouldn’t have gone. But with both of them there it was fine anyway. I thought the line-up was a bit unfortunate. Not only in that it contained many bands – especially among the headliners – which I wasn’t interested in or even actively didn’t want to see, but also in the scheduling which managed to cram all the stuff I liked into the Saturday and thus made for a somewhat dull Sunday.
I also have to remark that the festival has grown even further. They extended the capacity not just in numbers but also in campgrounds and facilities and they didn’t fully sell out which made for a reasonably relaxing camping experience with queues even at the proper toilets not being too much of a problem unless you really wanted to go there at ten in the morning. They also moved the second stage outside the main festival area, thereby enlarging it quite a bit but also making things much less crammed and solving the problem of music from both stages overlapping.
Other things that were different: there seemed to be more police around that there were previously; drinks prices rose even further (I think 2,50 to 2,80 but don’t take my word for it) making you wonder what exactly having the beer and soft drink industries sponsor your festival improves…; and talking about sponsors, they made much more effort on emphasising their sponsors as well. Enough for it to be annoying and overdone. They even played overly loud and distorted commercials on the screens next to the stages in the breaks between the concerts. But hey! I learned loads about shower gel and some band the industry wants to promote now… if just I hadn’t forgotten their names.
In total the festival has become more ‘civilised’ as well. I think they started forbidding crowd surfing a while back (which was a real annoyance in 2004) and this time they had two crowd barriers at each stage, probably making things quite safe and putting even more distance between people and the bands. The frontmost section, which people often had to queue to get into, seemed somewhat poorly managed, unfortunately. At many times it looked as if it was only 80 or 90% full and that with people still being eager to get in. The guys handling the security there had strange ways of doing their job. Ways that mainly consisted of deciding that it’s ‘full’ at some stage and then saying they won’t let anyone else in. Rather than actually counting the number of people in there and operating on a one-out-one-in policy once the capacity was reached. Not only would that have let more people get in, but it would also have been reasonable and easy to understand rather than some security guys playing their random games.
Many things remained the same. The Asian food stalls made surprisingly bad food, but crêpes (or crépes as many of the stalls prefer to write) and burgers were tolerable. There were cameras driving in front of the bands all the times and I still didn’t enjoy camping or the rain although I look like a real camper when compared to other people.
But the main take home message of this weekend is that Arcade Fire rule. Big time.