This month’s protest organized by Extinction Rebellion became the largest single act of civil disobedience in modern British History with well over 1,000 arrests. Protesters superglued themselves to trains, held a ‘die in’ at the Natural history museum, and occupied areas including Marble Arch, Waterloo Bridge and Parliament Square. But amid the raucous defiance, there was also a more enjoyable side to the protest. The two weeks were full of music, and dancing with participants bringing instruments and erecting a stage to host bands. There was timetabled yoga and mediation sessions, face painting to entertain children, and even a campsite. Before the event began one of the founders of Extinction Rebellion Dr Gail Bradbrook affirmed this vibe, telling attendees “we want there to be like a festival feeling… bring your tent and family.” So, as the line between protest and festival becomes blurred, here’s why you should ditch Glastonbury and go the next Protestival.
1. Save your money
Glastonbury is bloody expensive, costing a minimum of £250 to stay in a sodden field that smells worse than London’s fatberg. Even after you’ve forked out the cash, you will probably end up spending extra on overpriced van food, weak cocktails and drugs more extortionate than the cartels that create them. Protests on the other hand are free! Why not save that money and, like eco warrior Emma Thompson, who’s “too old to fly economy”, use the cash to upgrade yourself on your next long haul flight. There may be an Eco in Economy but there’s miniature champagne in first class!
2. There’s a Better Line Up
This year’s Glastonbury has been widely described as the worst line up of all time, the protest in contrast had some great names. The aforementioned Emma Thompson, Greta Thunberg, Caitlin Moran, Diane Abbott… Here they’re not hidden away behind some unrecyclable red tape but close enough to swing a reusable bag at. Given the publicity of this protest, the 2020 one is bound to attract even more stars- bring your biodegradable autograph books.
3. Social Media Booster
No one wants to see your sweating, flower crowned face shouting along to a thumb sized Stormzy on Instagram. A witty pun on a poster on the other hand is social media gold dust; it’s bound to garner hundreds of likes and follows. Add in a policeman, a pink boat and a humble caption and you can practically taste the Boohoo sponsorship deal.
4. Go Home and Shower
Perhaps the best thing about a London protest is the proximity to your home (or to a Pret A Manger loo if you’re an out of towner). After days camping in Marble Arch you may smell like you’ve been at Glastonbury but chances are a welcoming shower is a quick uberpool away. Better yet, don’t camp at all, be a day protestor and pop by for a quick dance and shout before heading home. The perfect day out.
5. Better Transport
The Extinction Rebellion protestors pissed off hundred of thousands of commuters as they shut down bridges, roads and disrupted bus routes and yet still it was a hell of a lot easier than the transport at Glastonbury.
6. Feel Like a Good Person
At a normal festival, you leave with terrible skin, debilitating blisters and a headache bound to last twice the length of the fun, but at a protest you can leave with a giddy feeling of moral superiority. Tut at the planet destroyers and sigh at the blissfully ignorant, in the knowledge that you’ve done your part.
7. No End In Sight
Last year, Glastonbury was cancelled and the year before we all joyfully witnessed the collapse of Fyre. Festivals are unreliable. What can be relied on, however, is humanity’s destruction of the planet. At the end of the protest, attendees were queuing up to clean dishes, scrub chalk off the floor and sort the leftovers for those in need, but in the aftermath of Glastonbury thousands of tonnes of rubbish are left strewn across fields. The latter seems to encompass the majority’s attitude towards our environment. Luckily, this means the protests need never end! The more ice caps that melt the more reasons to break out that poster paint. Viva La Protestival!