Posted by: martinworster | April 15, 2012

135. COACHELLA: DESIGNATED DRINKING PEN

Please, let me enjoy bands at an open air music festival by roaming freely beer in hand in the land of the free…

 

Well it’s that time of year again – Coachella. I haven’t been for probably three years now so I snapped up some tickets as this might be the last festival I go to as a ‘thirtysomething’. Are you still allowed to go to festivals in your forties? To be honest the line up doesn’t really excite me as much as it normally does. Of course I’m looking forward to seeing Radiohead. I think there is general agreement that they are the best band in the world and have been for the last 15 years. Plus, I will wallow in some retromania due to all the other older Brit acts – Madness, Pulp, Noel Gallagher, Squeeze, Buzzcocks – performing. 

 

What I’m not looking forward to is the designated drinking area set up, which I imagine will still be in place like previous years Coachella’s. Basically you are only allowed to drink in fenced off pens to the side of the festival site. The mind boggles. So you’re not trusted as a responsible adult to wander freely beer in hand whilst enjoying bands at an open air music festival? I personally find it very insulting. I thought this was meant to be the land of the free? I thought this place didn’t like government interfering in your lives – ‘ooh, the evils of socialism, the State telling us what to do’ – yet here we are being told what we can’t do by the authorities. To use the local phraseology – ‘go figure’.

 

The designated drinking area can really affect the enjoyment of the day. How I wish I could stand by a stage ale in hand enjoying the racket of the latest flash in the pan indie schmindie hipster upstarts who saved up and bought guitars and keyboards. Whilst being elbowed and shoved by whippersnapper schmindie hipster types in the crowd. Instead of encouraging temperance and a controlled environment for drinking – I imagine the original rationale behind the ridiculous rule – it means punters go into the pen and get tanked up very quickly. Not a healthy or safe way to drink. 

 

It all stems from the strange, Puritanical attitudes that exist here with regard to alcohol (and other pleasure pursuits) that I personally find odd and contradictory. Why aren’t we trusted as adults to make informed and sensible decisions about how we act? Can we not be trusted and need to be mollycoddled by the authorities? People here don’t really question it or even seem to find it strange. The only solution is to smuggle in hard liquor and make cocktails whilst on the move. Who said you need to drink to have a good time?

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