It’s August, and so we’re due the obligatory British comedy movie. This year it comes courtesy of the team behind The Inbetweeners – charting the agony and the ecstasy (and the Ecstasy) of the typical British music festival.
Everyone who’s been to at least one festival can confirm that they can be a harrowing experience. Whether it’s a lost phone or wallet, or the realisation that the friends you’ve come with are The Actual Worst, or if you find yourself missing your favourite band because your bowels have finally kicked into gear after several days without any fruit or veg, there’s always something that takes the shine off the magic of a music festival.
Clearly the writers of The Festival have endured their share of such woes, as apart from the occasional flight of fancy it’s a fairly grounded comedy. As far as a story goes, a bunch of friends treat themselves to a weekend of field-based debauchery with hilarious results. Given the background of the writers and director – and some of the cast – you’d be safe in expecting a fair bit of grossout visual comedy plus a large handful of cringe-inducing scenes to keep things ticking over.
It’s a tricky thing to get right on the big screen and so The Festival needs a solid cast to make sure audiences can get on board. However, the main gang really struggle to make the whole thing any more than an uncomfortable ride; Joe Thomas does his best as the lead but he never seems up to the task. Whether it’s down to the material or the support he has, something isn’t quite clicking here.
That isn’t to say that there aren’t a few glimmers of promise here: a few fun cameos keep things bouncing along, and when The Festival veers away from its wackier setups – the less said about the druids the better – it gets into more chucklesome territory. Sadly, these better moments are in the trailer, so there’s not much going into this that anyone would be pleasantly surprised by.
I’m torn as to whether or not this movie’s existence is really justified; it would probably have had more success as a television event. What’s more, The Festival doesn’t even offer the ultimate wry look at the British festival experience.
If you want to get a clever, witty take on that particular scene, Pulp captured the festival experience in just under 4 minutes, with the song Sorted for E’s & Wizz released back in the 1990s. Unless you’re intent on seeing The Festival you’re better off saving your time and money, and instead enjoy the anthem below.