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They All Shit: The Festival Edition

Festival season is upon us guys which, for many, is the best time of the year. Everyone scrambles to get tickets to the coolest festivals, the most popular-yet-still underground parties, and be seen at the hippest after-parties and pre-parties.

This is all well and good until you realise it’s all one big game of ‘who’s who’, and one that, as a normal guy therefore, you will be destined to lose. It’s no fun seeing all your friends flood their social media pages with how much fun they’re having, how much the sun is shining and how much they partied, all the while having perfect hair and teeth, while you’re sitting at home by yourself because you can’t afford a ticket to a two-day weekender.

Festivals have become the new stamp of cool. It’s not so much about who’s playing but more about who’ll be attending, what clothes to wear and which hashtag will get the most likes. People dress up in clothes they would never normally wear (flower crowns feature heavily), as it seems festivals bring out the inner hippie in almost everyone. Mainstream newspapers and magazines run features 12 pages long detailing which festivals are essential (even though it’s near impossible to attend them all) and Instagram accounts are taken over my models to show a day in their fabulous life. The festival becomes more about who is and isn’t there rather than who is performing (does anybody know if Coachella is actually any good?! Answers on a postcard please). Even shop window mannequins are decked out in clothes that scream: ‘Wear me in a crowded field whilst live-streaming Katy Perry’s wardrobe changes!’

But here’s the thing: They all shit. No matter how good Calvin Harris looks in his Armani pants, with Taylor Swift hanging off his arm, he will still need to pee in a portable toilet at some point. No matter how flawless Kendall Jenner looked in her SS10 Roberto Cavalli pants at Coachella, she was probably sweating profusely under the Californian sun. And even though Nick Grimshaw is always surrounded by celebrity friends, doesn’t mean he won’t get something unwanted spilled on him at some point by some overzealous ‘Beleiber’ in the crowd. And someone, somewhere has to clean up all the shit these celebs leave behind them when they leave.

You see, a VIP tent is still just a tent. And VIPs are just people. They all must do some things they don’t want to, just like you. So, whenever I beat myself up because I don’t have their lifestyle, their looks or their millions I say to myself, ‘they all shit’, and suddenly I feel like I’ve put the whole picture in perspective. So no matter how good they look, and how much it may seem they are living perfect lives sprinkled with likes, shares and emojis, they all shit just like you do and you can’t put a filter on that.

The problem is that none of this is really authentic and we’re being sold a perfect picture on social media, yet again. And some fancy scientific research confirms this. In 2013, Israeli scientist from Tel Aviv University looked into the harmful effects of social media on our mental wellbeing. The study found increased exposure to social media can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and create a sense of delusion. So, this just goes to show in this game of ‘Let’s See Who Can Be Having The Most Fun At All Times’, there are no winners, only people scrolling ferociously through their Instagram feeds trying to get more likes rather than actually living life.

How does it feel to be invited to a festival abroad with friends but not be able to go? Pretty shit. How does it feel to want to go to a festival but not have a single friend to invite along? Even shittier. Being haunted by images of the whole world and his best friend Dave having the time of their lives in the beer-drenched sunshine can be very alienating if you can’t take part. Maybe social anxiety cuts you off from your friends, or depression means you find it hard to leave home, let alone pull on your wellies and dance in a tent.

Perfect lives do not exist so the next time someone’s festival diary on Snapchat gets you down, don’t beat yourself up over it; just remember my mantra, ‘they all shit’, and you’ll feel a lot better.

@Liam_JohnsonLDN

If you’re headed to Secret Garden Party festival this year, seek out ‘The CALM Zone’ tent and have a cuppa on us.

Image credit: bytorandthesnowdog

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article or in the comments below, are not those held by CALM or its Trustees unless stated, and liability cannot be accepted for such comments. We encourage friendly and constructive debate, but please don't share personal contact details when commenting and exercise caution when considering any advice offered by others. We don’t allow abusive, offensive or inappropriate comments or comments that could be interpreted as libellous, defamatory or commercial and we will remove these without warning as and when we find them.

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