Now, I’m no festival expert but nor am I a novice. Having grown up on the likes of Reading Festival and Glastonbury, with an obsession with music that sees me paying huge prices for live shows, I know what I like to see at a festival or concert and what I don’t. And let me just say, Bay Dreams sucked.
Let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter where you are – if you’re in great company you’ll have a great time, and I was lucky to have a solid group of friends to enjoy the day with. So it wasn’t the worst. day. ever. or anything…
But practically, here are the reasons I thought Bay Dreams sucked in 2017.
One of my favourite things about music festivals is all the cool and colourful things to look at (and take pictures of). Held at the ASB Bay Park Stadium in Tauranga, Bay Dreams was a flat hole of concrete and clay. I felt like I was at a dirty NASCAR track. No rolling hills of grass, colourful stalls or cute picnic areas. Just plastic stadium seating and big ugly buildings. It just felt scummy and one of the major reasons I think Bay Dreams sucked.
Where were the speakers?
This is a very serious question. When you weren’t in the middle front of the main stage crowd, you couldn’t hear shit. Every music event I’ve been to that was held outside commissioned a second set of speakers, usually in line with the sound and tech tent. This means that whether you’re sitting down at the back or raving in the front, you’re still getting a quality audio experience.
But no because, you guessed it, Bay Dreams sucked.
Towards the end, the main stage was packed, which meant it was a struggle to get further forward than the tech tent. This meant the sound was shit. If nothing else when you go to a music festival, you expect to be immersed into the music and, at a minimum, you expect to be able to hear it. Nope, nope, nope – they couldn’t even get the “music” part of the music festival right. What hope was there for the rest of it?
No alcohol or drinks of any kind (including soda) were allowed into the campground – even drinks you’d purchased inside the festival weren’t allowed to leave. This led to people sitting in their parked cars to preload before the event – not attractive, comfortable or social.
One of the main attractions of camping at festivals is sharing a drink with your friends and neighbouring tents, and it makes no difference if that drink is a Diet Coke or vodka, but it’s sociable. However, with nothing to do at the campground, once everyone became as inebriated as possible in their cars, they walked straight into the festival grounds.
Getting into the campground was a rigmarole. We were warned, while waiting in the ticket queue, that no perfumes, spray deodorants or drinks were allowed in. No biggie, the boys took our prohibited items back to the car – we don’t want any makeshift flamethrowers either, so we’re on side.
But, once we got to the security gates I realised how ridiculous the rules were.
They completely emptied and searched all our bags – my underwear was searched through and packing it all back in was stressful – and they found my bug spray. It wasn’t a pressurised container, literally a spray bottle full of chemicals designed to stop flying and crawling things biting me, which they tend to enjoy.
It got confiscated.
“Really? Bug spray?” I asked, astounded and slightly pissed off. “No sprays,” the woman snapped.
Now, if they’re trying to avoid people sneaking in drugs and alcohol, and can take the time to completely empty everyone’s bags and rifle through their underwear, surely they can take the time to smell a spray bottle and figure out if it’s alcohol or not.
Also, pro tip, Bay Dreams team: When people want to hide drugs, they are not going to hide it in their folded underwear, which was evidenced by the amount of drugs floating around the festival. It’s also a lot easier to sneak in drugs than it is bottle of alcohol, so ban alcohol in the campground and you just get more drugs – common sense.
So, this is exactly what happened when the festival ended at 10:30pm – another reason why Bay Dreams sucked. Drunk and drugged-up campers, who were soaked by the rain, were not ready to finish partying yet. But what were they to do? They couldn’t drink so they finished off whatever drugs they had and moped around in their tents feeling anti-climactic. Not a great end-to-a-festival feeling.
While setting up tents, ushers had packed everyone in so tightly there was no space to sit together, even if it wasn’t pouring down with rain. It was the most unsociable camping experience I’ve ever had and what’s the point of paying that much for a festival if you’re not going to be able to have a good time with your friends?
The answer is none. Bay Dreams sucked.
Drinks were impossible to get
Why, when I want a Diet Coke or a water, do I have to stand in a behemoth line with all the people who want alcohol? The food stalls weren’t allowed to sell drinks – not even water. So, when the sun was at its highest and I’d been dancing my arse off and all I wanted was a drink of water, I had to wait in the longest queue I’d ever seen. Fine, if you’re wanting people to slow down between drinks, not so fine if I’m dying of thirst.
And sure, if I was desperate enough, I could have put my mouth to the taps that everyone was using to get free drinking water but, I’m more of a fan of drinking out of a bottle only my mouth has touched, thank you very much.
Why wasn’t there a bar set up for just non-alcoholic drinks, so sober people like me could buy a bottle of water without waiting for hours?
Seriously, Bay Dreams sucked.
It was an accident waiting to happen
There was a pathway, about the size of two cycle paths, along the bottom of the stands that most people used to get in and out of the main stage area. And once you’re on that path, it is impossible to get out- a fence on one side and seating on the other.
So, as big acts took the stage and people moved towards it, the path became gridlocked.
I looked up and saw police taking photos and video of the impatient crowd. All it takes is for one person to push, one person to fall, and you have mayhem – either a brawl or a stampede and neither are ideal.
If you’re going to have 15,000 drunk and drugged-up people in one place, you have to plan ways they can all get from one place to another without too much danger or hassle.
They didn’t. Bay Dreams sucked.
They tried, and failed, to be cool
Now, this isn’t necessarily the organisers’ fault. New Zealand is a small country and no festival is going to be big enough to replicate the likes of Glastonbury – I get it. But one of my favourite things about festivals is exploring everything, the sights, the stalls, the interesting shit.
There were two fairground rides, some temporary tattoo stalls and… oh, that was it.
I may just have been spoiled in the past, but it’s yet another reason why Bay Dreams sucked.