Festival season in the UK is almost over and we’ve had rain, rain and even more rain
Thousands escape the UK for the likes of Dimensions and Outlook for beats and (more importantly?) blazing sun, while on home soil festivals such as Secret Garden Party are left with three inches of rain and a load of soaked punters.
There’s no denying that the weather can make or break a festival for some people but if there is one thing to be said for UK festivals it’s that you’re generally safe from being eaten alive by swarms of flying bugs.
Burning Man festival in the USA began very small, like most festivals. In 1986 Larry Harvey and Jerry James built an 8’ human effigy and took it to their local beach in San Francisco on the summer solstice. 35 people gathered around to watch it burn. In the 29 years since, Burning Man has grown to a “vibrant participatory metropolis generated by its citizens” in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. The effigy has grown to 105’ tall and the maximum attendance was 69,613 in 2013.
This year Black Rock Desert appears to have been taken over by an infestation of unexplained, flying bugs. With the festival starting in ten days, news of a plague is not what you want to hear if you’ve already got a ticket. Especially when it’s a week-long festival and they’re showing no signs on going away.
The weirdest thing is nobody knows how or why the bugs are there. On the official Burning Man blog John Curley reports “we are here to tell you that [the bug rumours] are all true… They’re everywhere. They bite. They crawl all over you. They get up and in you.” He goes on to say “What’s going on? We don’t know. We don’t know how the little critters survive in the heat and sun. All we know is that if you pick up some wood, you’re likely to uncover hundreds or thousands of the things.”
Thousands, under a single piece of wood. That really is the stuff of nightmares. Some people are getting bitten so badly just setting up the festival that they’re having to receive emergency medical attention.
With this in mind, perhaps next time you’re standing in a field somewhere in England with a can of warm Strongbow and it’s pissing down you’ll think “well it may be raining but at least there’s not a plague of bugs trying to eat me alive.” Probably not though.
Non killer festival tidbits over here:
20 Aug 2015