Bookmark and Share

NME Man Mocks Britain’s ‘Family Friendly’ Festivals ::

Reported by Ben Stroud on May 21, 2009

Top NME columnist Mark Beaumont ridiculed British festivals week, arguing that events including Glastonbury, Bestival and the Big Chill are gentrified and over-run by parents reliving their misspent youths.

“The British have been doing festivals for too long; the spirit of danger, rebellion and adventure has mutated into fancy dress and family-friendliness,” he complained in a polemic published in the Observer.

“Ads for Camp Bestival announce, in as large a font as any of the musical acts, the appearance of (TV celebrity chef) Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall,” he continued, “Instead of beating back hordes of rutting mud hippies at The Big Chill, you cut a swath through throngs of baby buggies and picnic hampers.”

One family friendly British festival the NME writer didn’t criticize was heavy rock/ hard dance event the Bulldog Bash, which this week faced much greater negativity from Warwickshire Police chief Bill Holland.

For the second year running the Assistant Chief Constable begged local councilors to ban the Hells Angels run event, despite it having dramatically low crime rates on site throughout its 22 year existence.

“Our objection to the Bulldog Bash is about criminality and the need to protect the public from harm here in Warwickshire, across the UK and abroad,” he told the Birmingham Mail.

“We consider that the actions of a minority could jeopardise the safety of the public and this is why we are seeking a review.”

The police chief tried and failed to stop last year’s event so instead mounted a massive security operation outside the Midlands event. Bulldog’s organizers were distinctly unimpressed by his latest move.

“We are very disappointed that Warwickshire police should seek a review of the show’s licence at this late stage,” they said in a statement posted on their website.

“They have had nine months in which to seek a review -we can only guess at the reasons for waiting until now; but it would seem to be designed to cause disruption to the show.”

“There was a full two day hearing of the licence application last year which went through every aspect of the show in great detail, this resulted in Stratford council granting us a ten year licence for the event,” they continued.

“This decision obviously disappointed the police who then mounted a hugely disruptive, expensive and we believe unnecessary operation outside the show. The event went off with no problems as it has every year, yet the police are again trying to get the show cancelled,” said Bulldog.

“We are confident the event will go ahead –any issues the police have can be resolved between the organisers, themselves and Stratford council.”

Hard dance diva Lisa Lashes regularly headlines Bulldog and chatting to Skrufff two years ago said the bikers are much misunderstood.

“I really enjoy playing for the bikers because my sister is part of one of the Hells Angels’ groups so I usually go to the parties with her and meet up with a few old faces,” she said.

“They love a good party and that’s why they put these events on, as you can’t really imagine a load of them rocking up to the likes of Godskitchen and being let in so they have to put their own shows on.”

“I basically grew up one street away from the Hells Angels club house so have known what they do and the kind of people they are for years,” she added, “They couldn’t have been nicer whenever I’ve played at their parties as they are genuinely cool people that look after each other like a special family. I can honestly say, I’ve never seen or heard of any trouble at any of their parties,” she said. (Bulldog bash: August 6/7/8: Long Marston Airfield, Stratford Upon Avon, tickets are just £50) (Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on cooking squirrels)

Jonty Skrufff (