Tom and I have attended a considerable number of festivals in our time, supporting local vendors and soaking in the joys of people-watching, art appreciation and hanging out on a fine day. When we moved into the City of Richmond ten years ago, many street festivals were in walking distance, and we’ve built up quite a collection of the wrist bands that allowed us to imbibe (see photo). TCI festivals are more laid-back about ID checks, so souvenirs are more likely to be freebies from FLOW, Digicel or Fortis, or purchased hats and T-shirts. Always T-shirts. You can’t have a festival anywhere, but especially in the TCI, without a T-shirt.
But, you know? I think we’re festivaled out.
No matter where they are, these events, I believe, have a life span that is too often exceeded. I know that their goal is profit, and they bigger they are the more money they bring in for whatever cause they promote, but at some point the size overtakes the fun. What at the beginning was novel and fresh becomes repetitive and overcrowded. The beer lines get longer, the same artists sell the same things, the parking gets crazy enough to warrant shuttle buses, and finding a nice vantage spot for people-watching becomes impossible.
Maybe it’s just me, but the smaller and newer a festival is, the more I enjoy it, which means I stay longer and spend more money. I am festivaled out, yes, but not festival-averse. Give me something kooky and new, and I’ll be there.
Am I alone in this opinion? Or have festivals become Christmas, with traditions and expectations that change only to draw the wrath of those who must have the current T-shirt?