This week a debate has been raging. No, not about Afghanistan. No, not about Paul Gascoigne’s mental state. Not even about whether or not the return of Shooting Stars was any good.
No. The big hoo-ha is over whether people should be allowed to take flags to music festivals.
To some, flags simply add to the atmosphere, often providing a cheap laugh with their witty slogans and badly-drawn pictures, often of nudey males and females. Ooh look, a willy! Hee hee.
But others believe the obstruction they act as to fans stood behind them means they should be abolished.
Reading and Leeds festivals were the first to act, announcing this week that attendees would not be allowed to take flags on site. The website states simply: “Flags won’t be allowed in the arena. They restrict the view of people behind.”
Organiser Melvin Benn says he has also spoken to Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis about a possible flag ban at next year’s Pilton bash. About this year’s event, headlined by Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and Blur, he said: “You couldn’t see the acts. The flags were everywhere. There have always been flags, but not to the level that there has been. And the flags have become very long and tall.”
But a Glastonbury spokesperson claimed the festival would not be considering banning flags for next year.
Flags have been present at festivals for as long as we can remember. They’re especially useful for finding your tent in the middle of the night when you’ve had a few pints from the cider bus and a neighbour has something memorable attached to the outside of their accommodation.
But on the flip side, there’s nothing worse than getting into a good spot for your favourite band, only for someone to produce a flag thirty yards in front of you and stick it in the ground, with it obscuring your view for the whole set. People seem to take flags to festivals now just so they can brag to their mates afterwards: “Did you see me on telly waving my flag yeah? How cool am I yeah?!”What do you think? Should flags be banned? Should the thought police stop trying to stop people have a bit of harmless fun? Let us know below.
This article was written for TMM.