There has always been a very close relationship between festivals and culture. culture is involved in the programming of festivals and each element within them constitutes a part of the culture of the society they occur in. All elements of a festival interact with each other in order to deliver a cultural experience. Festivals are a form of intangible cultural heritage and are important in maintaining cultural diversity but is maintaining this worth the drug culture and crime that comes with most British festivals?
From 1994-2016, T in The Park would become Scotland’s fifth largest city. The festival was a firm fixture on Scotland’s cultural calendar for over two decades and played an important roll in our small but vibrant music industry, attracting artists from all over the world and smaller, emerging artists, giving them a chance to be recognised. The festival was Scotland’s answer to Glastonbury and having been to the festival myself and spoke to festival goers from different parts of the UK, I was surprised to discover the demand for T in The Park tickets. T in The Park was a festival that people wanted to travel from all over the UK to see.
In 2015, problems began to arise when the festival had to be moved from Balado to Strathallan Castle. The size and accessibility of the site caused a lot of health and safety problems leading to the capacity being cut by 15,000. There were also other problems to do with the planning permissions of the new site due to ospreys nesting on site. As a result of these problems the organisers of T in the Park made the decision to take some time off until these problems could be fixed in order to deliver an unforgettable weekend to fans – but these were not the only problems with the festival.
Over the life span of the festival when it took place in Balado, there has been an abundance of criminal activity – Three attempted murders, ten sexual assaults and more than 2000 drug offences (and these are only those who were caught) and in the last few years of the festival there has been the death of three festival goers and the rape of one. With 54 arrests in 2015 and 40 in the first two weeks of the festival in 2016 – in addition to the theft of an ATM machine.
These problems have further encouraged the organisers to take a break from T in The Park as they have been blamed for a lot of these instances despite drug seizures doubling after carefully looking at better techniques and the idea of “zero tolerance” to drugs and as a past attendee of T in The Park, despite these extra measures, festival goers will always take drugs, no matter what measures are taken to stop it and criminal activity is likely still to occur despite increased police presence. Most sources state that due to the huge economic advantages to Scotland and its increasing popularity that there is no possibility of the festival ever dissapearing and so this poses the question to whether or not the rebirth of T in The Park and continuing the culture of the festival is worth the drug culture and crime that comes with any festival.
HeraldScotland. (2014). Figures reveal extent of crime at T in the Park. [online] Available at: https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13170715.figures-reveal-extent-of-crime-at-t-in-the-park/ [Accessed 10 Oct. 2018].
Ich.unesco.org. (2018). What is Intangible Cultural Heritage? – intangible heritage – Culture Sector – UNESCO. [online] Available at: https://ich.unesco.org/en/what-is-intangible-heritage-00003 [Accessed 10 Oct. 2018].
Nicolson, B. (2017). Why cancelling T In The Park 2017 might secure the festival’s future – NME. [online] NME. Available at: https://www.nme.com/blogs/festivals-blog/cancellation-t-park-2017-future-1874079 [Accessed 10 Oct. 2018].
The List. (2016). T in the Park organisers cancel 2017 festival. [online] Available at: https://www.list.co.uk/article/86607-t-in-the-park-organisers-cancel-2017-festival/ [Accessed 10 Oct. 2018].
Turbett, L. (2016). What the Hell is Going on With T in the Park?. [online] Noisey. Available at: https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/69y9gz/what-the-hell-is-going-on-with-t-in-the-park [Accessed 10 Oct. 2018].