Two of the most important practices to keep in mind when attending a festival is of course; staying hydrated, and eating well. Now, as important as these are, they’re rarely the first things to come to mind when we are attending an event; who really cares about what we are eating, when there’s so many amazing experiences happening all around us? Who has the time to make sure they are eating healthily, at a festival of all places? The idea of associating festival food with the word ‘healthy’ may seem utterly ridiculous, as without a doubt; fast food makes the most sense – quick, delicious, cheap (even with raised festival prices).
However, perhaps it’s important for us to be more aware of our consumption, which can actually make the festival experience even better. It’s not entirely up to us, though – as limited food stalls are available, we will no doubt take what we can get. The question is, should festival organisers be more aware of the food options they are providing for patrons?
This year, across the UK, McDonald’s “McNuggets Van” has been travelling festival to festival, handing out free McNuggets to festival goers as part of a promotion for the massive fast-food chain and the upcoming Reading & Leeds festival will be no different. In fact, aside from offering the McNuggets, they will be promoting a “McNugget Maze” which patrons can explore and in a very interesting move; there will even be an experience offered through an Augmented Reality McNugget lens. Although this may prove convenient and fun for patrons, this kind of drilling promotion is quite an intense one; and it’s a wonder if this type of advertising for the massive fast-food chain is somewhat damaging in the long run.
In a time where we as a collective need to be more aware of how our consumption affects ourselves and the planet, providing more food options to patrons that are affordable as well as sustainable may perhaps be the better option when considering the impact we have on everything around us: the actions we take in our everyday lives, as well as the impact of these events on the environment. When trying to reduce the harmful effects of massive fast-food chains and their horrifying agricultural impact on the earth, as well as serious health issues: it may be important to examine what kind of ideologies and actions we are promoting.
This isn’t to say festivals should be limited to overpriced salads, or anything as ridiculous as such. Perhaps it’s more an issue of being aware of what exactly it is we are consuming, and what we are making convenient and easy for the public even if it isn’t in their best interest. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t consume fast-food obviously, rather, it’s important to be aware of when corporations are taking advantage of situations in order to lure in consumers. By providing alternate food options, and staying aware of when incredibly harmful corporations are working in ways that are manipulative to the public; we can make sure to decide responsibly what it is we want to support, without being forced to consume without thought because we have no other options.