Young people can spot inauthenticity a mile off. If political parties want to attract them, their events need to be led from the grassrootsby Emma Burnell / June 4, 2018 / Leave a comment
Tens of thousands of people hanging on your every word and singing your name to the heavens. Who wouldn’t want to experience that? More pertinently, who—having experienced it once—wouldn’t want to recreate it?
It is very easy to see how, after the high of Corbyn’s post-election appearance at Glastonbury, the temptation to go big on Labour Live was as difficult to resist as it has proved impossible to deliver. According to reports, ticket sales are rather low and my younger, cooler friends tell me the line up isn’t up to much. Even I can see that there’s no Stormzy there—an oversight apparently caused by him already being booked to do something else. Which begs the question why that wasn’t checked before the date was set.
There is nothing inherently wrong with a political party holding a festival of music and ideas. Despite some who seem to truly believe politics can only ever be done in grey suits, it is this kind of energy and approach that has played a big part in the appeal of Corbyn that brought Labour into serious contention at the last election. The monochrome mob (myself included) may have missed it, but the Glastonbury spirit infected the whole country for a brief period—or, at the very least, 40 per cent of it—and Labour are absolutely right to want to maintain that.
The problem is they don’t seem to have the understanding of how such a thing can and should be developed over time. Admin and booking issues aside, you’d think the Labour Party, while organising a “Glastonbury-style” festival in North London, would have recognised the importance of organic growth. Music festivals succeed by being discovered, not being shoved down your throat.
Take the Big Tent Idea’s Festival—nicknamed “Tory Glastonbury”; the problem being equally the “Tory” as much as the “Glastonbury.” It would never live up to that billing. When it actually transpired to be a marquee on the lawn of some posh mate of the organiser, the tag looked sillier still. Not a bong, a naked hippy or even a band in sight. It fulfilled every stereotype and negative expectation. You could almost smell the whiff of cucumber sandwiches from the photos alone.
Young people aren’t—despite the way some politicians talk about them—another species. Nor are they a homogenous…