Forever young – Festivalization

If there’s one thing that young people all love to do, it’s going to a festival. Festivals become bigger, are organized more frequently and become part of our culture. In the Netherlands alone there are over 800 festivals every year that each hold 3000 visitors or more.

In our current culture, the reasons to organize festivals can be very diverse. Basically, it doesn’t really matter if you’re famous or a jar of Nutella. For example, Linda de Mol, who is famous for her television shows and magazines, is organizing her own festival coming May. What’s striking about this, is that Linda de Mol is part of the older generation (as she is 51 years old), yet her festival focuses on the younger generation, which we call the Millennials.

But who are these Millennials? And why is festivalization so common in their culture? The best way to describe Millennials is perhaps the campaign video by Kinki Hairdressers, that was uploaded on YouTube on the 4th of April in 2016. Within one minute, they show how authenticity is of great value for young people today. This means daring to be who you want to be, regardless of any rules of regulations. In the video they state: “the young is old, the old forever young.” The boundaries between young and old are loosened and being and feeling young becomes part of our identity. Being forever young is the key value for the Millennials and therefore also part of the idea behind and organization around festivals. Besides feeling young, there are other values that are important for young people when going to a festival. In an interview on the festival Where The Wild Things Are, a young Dutch guy states that feeling free is one of the main reasons that he enjoys this festival. He says that there are no majorities or minorities, so that every individual becomes equal. Another interviewee states that music makes him feel in love with life.

Feeling young and carefree is what makes going to a festival so loveable. In a sense, you stay a child. Festivals answer to the need for this feeling, as can be seen in a festival coming September in the Netherlands. This festival is called the Bouncy House festival (Springkussenfestival) and is for people who are 18 years and older. The focus here lies on being young and having fun.

That festivals are held to have fun, that’s for sure. But it’s noteworthy to mention that sustainability also becomes an important part in the organization of festivals and almost as a requirement for fun. For example, the Dutch company DecoDive is established to make festivals in the Netherland more sustainable by recycling decors and using materials time and time again. Their mission is to decrease the footprint of festivals, so that more festivals can be organized in a more environmental friendly way.

The festivalization that is seen in the Netherlands (but also worldwide) is ground for staying young, feeling free, having fun and at the same time live a sustainable life. In this sense, festivals contribute to the quality of life, for the Millennials that now visit these festivals as well as the next generation to come.

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