Category Archives: Festival References & View Points

The People’s Palladium of Liberty is the Trial by Jury preserved for them by the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution for the united States

This post is a condensed version of “An Essay on the Trial by Jury” by Lysander Spooner.

This was write up was done by Chaplin Raymond of the Texas Jural Society.

The People’s Palladium of Liberty is the Trial by Jury preserved for them by the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution for the united States

It serves as a Barrier against the Tyranny and Oppression of the Government

Consider the Alternative
The Government’s Palladium of its Liberty is the Jury Trial
Which is merely a tool in its hands, for carrying into execution any injustice and oppression it may desire to have executed. The jury trial serves as a Barrier against the Prevention of Tyranny and Oppression of the Government

“The trial by jury,” then, is a “trial by the country” —that is by the people as distinguished from a trial by the government.

“For more than eight hundred years — that is, since the Magna Carta, in 1215 — there has been no clearer principle of English or American constitutional law, than that, in criminal cases, it is not only the right and duty of juries to judge what are the facts, what is the law, and what was the moral intent of the accused; but that it is also their right, and their primary and paramount duty, to judge of the justice of the law, and to hold all laws invalid that are, in their opinion, unjust or oppressive, and all persons guiltless in violating, or resisting the execution of, such laws.

“Unless such be the right and duty of jurors, it is plain that, instead of juries being a “palladium of liberty” — a barrier against the tyranny and oppression of the government — they are really mere tools in its hands, for carrying into execution any injustice and oppression it may desire to have executed.

“But for their right to judge of the law, and the justice of the law, juries would be no protection to an accused person, even as to matters of fact; for, if the government can dictate to a jury any law whatever, in a criminal case, it can certainly dictate to them the laws of evidence. That is, it can dictate what evidence is admissible, and what inadmissible, and also what force or weight is to be given to the evidence admitted. And if the government can thus dictate to a jury the laws of evidence, it can not only make it necessary for them to convict on a partial exhibition of the evidence rightfully pertaining to the case, but it can even require them [*6] to convict on any evidence whatever that it pleases to offer them.

“That the rights and duties of jurors must necessarily be such as are here claimed for them, will be evident when it is considered what the trial by jury is, and what is its object.

“The trial by jury,” then, is a “trial by the country” —that is, by the people as distinguished from a trial by the government.

“It was anciently called “trial per pais” that is, “trial by the country.” And now, in every criminal trial, the jury are told that the accused “has, for trial, put himself upon the country; which country you (the jury) are.”

“The object of this trial “by the country,” or by the people, in preference to a trial by the government, is to guard against every species of oppression by the government. In order to effect this end, it is indispensable that the people, or “the country,” judge of and determine their own liberties against the government;
“But all this trial by the country” would be no trial at all “by the country,” but only a trial by the government, if the government determines its own powers over the people or could either declare who may, and who may not, be jurors, or could dictate to the jury anything whatever, either of law or evidence, that is of the essence of the trial.

If the government may decide who may, and who may not, be jurors, it will of course select only its partisans, and those friendly to its measures. It may not only prescribe who may, and who may not, be eligible to be drawn as jurors; but it may also question each person drawn as a juror, as to his sentiments in regard to the particular law involved in each trial, before suffering him to be sworn on the panel; and exclude him if he be found unfavorable to the maintenance of such a law.

So, also, if the government may dictate to the jury what laws they are to enforce, it is no longer a trial by the country,” [*9] but a trial by the government; because the jury then try the accused, not by any standard of their own — by their own judgments of their rightful liberties — but by a standard dictated to them by the government. And the standard, thus dictated by the government, becomes the measure of the people’s liberties. If the government dictate the standard of trial, it of course dictates the results of the trial. And such a trial is no trial by the country, but only a trial by the government; and in it the government determines what are its own powers over the people, instead of the people’s determining what are their own liberties against the government. In short, if the jury have no right to judge of the justice of a law of the government, they plainly can do nothing to protect the people, against the oppressions of the government; for there are no oppressions which the government may not authorize by law.

How is it possible that juries can do anything to protect the liberties of the people against the government, if they are not allowed to determine what those liberties are?

Any government, that is its own judge of, and determines authoritatively for the people, what are its own powers over the people, is an absolute government of course. It has all the powers that it chooses to exercise. There is no other –or at least no more accurate– definition of despotism than this. [In this case the only rights are those defined by the government; i.e., civil rights – not indigenous constitutional rights.]

On the other hand, any people that judge of and determine authoritatively for the government, what are their own liberties against the government, of course retain all the liberties they wish to enjoy. And this is freedom. At least, it is freedom to them; because, although it may be theoretically imperfect, it, nevertheless, corresponds to their highest notions of freedom.

 To secure this right of the people to judge of their own liberties against the government, the jurors are taken, (or must be, to make them lawful jurors,) from the body of the people, by lot, or by some process that precludes any previous knowledge, choice, or selection of them, on the part of the government. [*7] This is done to prevent the government’s constituting a jury of its own partisans or friends; in other words, to prevent the government’s packing a jury, with a view to maintain its own laws, and accomplish its own purposes.

It is supposed that, if twelve men be taken, by lot, from the mass of the people, without the possibility of any previous knowledge, choice, or selection of them, on the part of the government, the jury will be a fair epitome of “the country” at large, and not merely of the party or faction that sustain the measures of the government; that substantially all classes, of opinions, prevailing among the people, will be represented in the jury; and especially that the opponents of the government, (if the government have any opponents,) will be represented there, as well as its friends; that the classes, who are oppressed by the laws of the government, (if any are thus oppressed,) will have their representatives in the jury, as well as those classes, who take sides with the oppressor — that is, with the government.

It is fairly presumable that such a tribunal will agree to no conviction except such as substantially the whole country would agree to, if they were present, taking part in the trial. A trial by such a tribunal is, therefore, in effect, “a trial by the country.” In its results it probably comes as near to a trial by the whole country, as any trial that it is practicable to have, without too great inconvenience and expense. And, as unanimity is required for a conviction, it follows that no one can be convicted, except for the violation of such laws as substantially the whole country wish to have maintained. The government can enforce none of its laws, (by punishing offenders, through the verdicts of juries,) except such as substantially the whole people wish to have enforced. The government, therefore, consistently with the trial by jury, can exercise no powers over the people, (or, what is the same thing, over the accused person, who represents the rights of the people,) except such as substantially the whole people of the country consent that it may exercise. In such a trial, therefore, “the country,” or the people, judge of and determine their own liberties against the government, instead of the [*8] government’s judging of and determining its own powers over the people.

The jury are also to judge whether the laws are rightly expounded to them by the court. Unless they judge on this point, they do nothing to protect their liberties against the oppressions that are cable of being practiced under cover of a corrupt exposition of the laws. If the judiciary can authoritatively dictate to a jury any exposition of the law, they can dictate to them the law itself, and such laws as they please; because laws are, in practice, one thing or another, according as they are expounded. [*10]

The jury must also judge whether there really be any such law, (be it good or bad,) as the accused is charged with having transgressed. Unless they judge on this point, the people are liable to have their liberties taken from them by brute force, without any law at all.

The jury must also judge of the laws of evidence. If the government can dictate to a jury the laws of evidence, it can not only shut out any evidence it pleases, tending to vindicate the accused, but it can require that any evidence whatever, that it pleases to offer, be held as conclusive proof of any offence whatever which the government chooses to allege.

It is manifest, therefore, that the jury must judge of and try the whole case, and every part and parcel of the case, free of any dictation or authority on the part of the government. They must judge of the existence of the law; of the true exposition of the law; of the justice of the law; and of the admissibility and weight of all the evidence offered. Otherwise the government will have everything its own way; the jury will be mere puppets in the hands of the government; and the trial will be, in reality, a trial by the government, and not a “trial by the country.” By such trials the government will determine its own powers over the people, instead of the people’s determining their own liberties against the government; and it will be an entire delusion to talk, as for centuries we have done, of the trial by jury, as a “palladium of liberty,” or as any protection to the people against the oppression and tyranny of the government.

The question, then, between trial by jury, as thus described, and ‘jury trial’ by the government, is simply a question between liberty and despotism. The authority to judge what are the powers of the government, and what the liberties of the people, must necessarily be vested in one or the other of the parties themselves the government, or the people; because there is no third party to whom it can be entrusted. If the authority be vested in the government, the government is absolute, and the people have no liberties except such as the government sees fit to indulge them with. If, on the other hand, that authority be vested in the people, then the people have all liberties, (as against the government,) except such as substantially the whole people (through a jury) choose to disclaim; and the government can exercise no to power except such as substantially the whole people (through a jury) consent that it may exercise.


The Spirit of Mindvalley Academy

[jwplayer player=”1″ mediaid=”1996″]

I enjoy watching Vishen Lakhiani introduce his spiritual principles in his company called Mindvalley.

I want to propose that we attempt to adapt to introduce spiritual principles in our project as well.

He has managed to fill a very interesting niche for a publisher.



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I think we should be this way on our project. To do things happy people do!

22 Things Happy People Do Differently

bodymindsoulspirit |

22 Things Happy People Do Differently

via oohphify

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. – Dalai Lama

There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fortune, fame, material possessions, or other people. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable, while a homeless person could be walking around with a spring in every step. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.

The question is: how do they do that?

It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …

Don’t hold grudges.

Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you in the past have power over your wellbeing? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.

Treat everyone with kindness.

Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.

See problems as challenges.

The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try referring to it as a challenge.

Express gratitude for what they already have.

There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.

Dream big.

People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will keep itself in a focused and positive state.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely boost your happiness.

Speak well of others.

Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.

Never make excuses.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.

Get absorbed into the present.

Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.

Wake up at the same time every morning.

Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.

Avoid social comparison.

Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.

Choose friends wisely.

Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.

Never seek approval from others.

Happy people don’t care what you think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.

Take the time to listen.

Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the more your mind eases, and the happier you become.

Nurture social relationships.

A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, and significant other, and you’ll feel better about yourself.


Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people can silence their minds anywhere and anytime whenever they need to calm their nerves.

Eat well.

Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape!


Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.

Live minimally.

Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.

Tell the truth.

Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.

Establish personal control.

Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.

Accept what cannot be changed.

Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.

Why I Am Not Going to Burning Man

Why I Am Not Going to Burning Man This Year – Reality Sandwich

About the Author

I have gone to Burning Man 15 years in a row. When I went the first time, back in 2000, I was a journalist on assignment for Rolling Stone. That was an amazing introduction to the event, as I was able to go “back stage” and meet the organizers, artists, and geniuses behind the sculptures, lasers, and camps. I was immediately hooked. I couldn’t believe such a place existed – that tens of thousands of people shared the same ideals, and worked together to realize their visions.

I wrote this piece about my experiences. I also wrote a feature about the festival for ArtForum. By proposing that Burning Man had validity as an artistic expression – I discussed Joseph Beuys’ idea of “social sculpture” – I got banned from ArtForum after they published my piece. I also wrote about the festival, personally and philosophically, in Breaking Open the Head, my first book, and 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, my second. Burning Man has had a profound experience on my life, in many ways.

This year, I am skipping it. There are a few reasons for this, but the main one is that I feel Burning Man – an institution in its own process of ongoing change and evolution – has lost its way. Hopefully, this is temporary. I know and love many of the people who create and run the festival, and believe in their intentions and their vision.

Burning Man has accomplished amazing things, opening up whole new realms of individual freedom and culture expression. At the same time the festival has become a bit of a victim of its own success. It has become a massive entertainment complex, a bit like Disney World for a contingent made up mostly of the wealthy elite. It always had this vibe, to some extent, but it seems more pronounced in recent years. It feels like there is more and more of less and less. The potential for some kind of authentic liberation or awakening seems increasingly obscure and remote.

The change in Burning Man – admittedly it is subtle – is happening as our world slides toward ecological catastrophe. The ecological crisis has become my almost monomaniacal focus recently. From my perspective, it is crucial that people awaken to what is happening to our Earth. We need to quickly understand and then start making the changes necessary to ensure the continuity of our ecosystems. Part of my enthusiasm for Burning Man was that it seemed a place where a new human community could arise – a new way of being. This potential is still there – but it seems like it has been co-opted, distorted.

At Burning Man, there was always a tension between two world views, which I would characterize as libertarian hedonism and mystical anarchism. I feel, as a result of its rapid growth and, also, as the festival has become a magnet for the wealthy elite (the Silicon Valley crowd, the media moguls and their entourages, the Ibiza crowd, etc), it has tilted too far toward libertarian hedonism. Art cars have become the new yachts, representing expressions of massively inflated egos. Wealthy camps will drop hundreds of thousands on a vehicle, then parade it around, with a velvet rope vibe. Increasingly, the culture of Burning Man feels like an offshoot of the same mindless, self-interested, nihilistic worldview and neoliberal economics that are rapidly annihilating our shared life-world.

I remember, a few years back, I stayed near a camp that had been built for the founder of Cirq du Soleil, Guy de Liberte, and his friends. The camp was empty throughout the week. There were many beautiful gypsy caravan-style tents set up, awaiting the weekend visitors from Europe and Ibiza. There were also a few Mexican workers who labored over the course of the week, building shade structures and decorating the art cars. Nobody had offered these workers a place to stay in one of the carefully shaded luxury tents, so they had pitched their small nylon tent directly in the hot sun. That image seems to sum up where Burning Man has drifted, inexorably.

We lack a moral center in our society, and we are rapidly caroming toward the abyss. It is absolutely extraordinary – in itself, miraculous – that the new Pope, Pope Francis, has shown up as one of the only people in our entire planetary culture able to speak directly to the needs of our moment – he calls for an “ecological conversion,” for shared sacrifice on the part of the wealthy elite, a new mode of empathic and compassionate action for us all. In the Encyclical, Care for Our Common Home, Francis writes:

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.

Is it possible that Pope Francis could rehabilitate the Catholic tradition, which seemed utterly hopeless, corrupt and antiquated, and turn it into a progressive force for good? We are going to need a number of miraculous conversions and transformations such as this one, if we are going to survive as a species, and learn to flourish together with nature, in the short time before it is too late to do anything but undergo a universal, horrific meltdown – a Chod ritual, on a planetary scale.

As I wrote in my books, I believe Burning Man represents an organic expression of something innate to human being-ness: We need initiatory experiences – centers where non-ordinary states of consciousness can be explored and, also, interpreted, with a shared context for understanding and integration. Emerging from the psychedelic culture of the Bay Area, Burning Man is, to a certain extent, a postmodern reinvention of centers of Mystery School wisdom, like Eleusis, which the artists, philosophers, and leaders of the Classical World visited each year. However, at this point, it lacks a deeper awareness of its own value and purpose. Without this, it is in danger of becoming another appendage of the military-industrial-entertainment complex – another distraction factory.

I find that many people I know are living on the razor-edge of nihilism right now, skating the edge of the Void. In my own life, I have lived through the eruption and the projection of my own shadow material – and I see many people undergoing their own versions of this, in different areas of their lives. I can’t help but see this as a perfectly appropriate and even necessary part of a process that could lead to our apotheosis as a species (the birth of the Ubermench, who according to Nietzsche, represents the fusion of “the mind of Caesar” with “the soul of Christ”) or our collective dissolution. It is exciting that this process seems to be happening within our current lifespans.

The infusion of Eastern metaphysics into the Western worldview is not necessarily helping, and it may actually be exacerbating our current crisis of values. The popular Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn has recently noted that, within 100 years, the human race may go extinct. His perspective is accurate, according to scientific predictions. He notes, with an accelerated warming cycle like the one that caused the Permian Mass Extinction, 250 million years ago, “another 95 per cent of species will die out, including Homo sapiens. That is why we have to learn to touch eternity with our in breath and out breath. Extinction of species has happened several times. Mass extinction has already happened five times and this one is the sixth. According to the Buddhist tradition there is no birth and no death. After extinction things will reappear in other forms, so you have to breathe very deeply in order to acknowledge the fact that we humans may disappear in just 100 years on earth.”

There is a kind of fatalism to Buddhist thought that doesn’t mesh with our Western approach to reality. Personally, I find myself resonating far more deeply with the Pope’s call for a new spiritual mission that unifies humanity behind protecting life and nature, than I do with Hahn’s view, although I recognize the validity of his statement. Ultimately, there is only the white light of the Void, which certain psychedelic experiences – particularly 5-meo-DMT – experientially confirm. However, there are many other dimensions of being and levels of consciousness we can know and experience. We also possess creative, empathic, and imaginative capacities, which seem be a divine power and dispensation. I think it would be truly amazing if we chose to make use of our deepest abilities to reverse the current direction of our society – to confront the ecological mega-crisis as a true initiation, and offer ourselves as vessels of this transformation.

In order to accomplish this, we would need to overcome our desire for spectacular distraction and insatiable consumption. Burning Man has always drawn its imaginative power from the paradoxes which are essential to it. A huge amount of money, energy, time, and fossil fuel is expended to create conditions which are difficult and force people (except for those wealthy enough to have air-tight sanctuaries built for them) to undergo a certain level of inner confrontation. I think we could further generalize from this, realizing that difficult and uncomfortable conditions are, in fact, necessary for our own development.

I will wrap this up, for now. The main point is there are many crucial lessons to learn from Burning Man: In many ways, it reveals our innate capacities to build a new society, a redesigned society, based on creativity, community, inspiration, and compassion. At the same time, Burning Man has become another spectacle – another cultural phenomenon, in a sense, a cult – and one that sucks a huge amount of energy and time from people who could re-focus their talents and genius on what we must do to escape ecological collapse (building a resilient or regenerative society). The organization, itself, needs to undergo another level of self-analysis and transformation – much like the Catholic Church appears to be doing, under Pope Francis’ lead.

In order to survive what’s coming, we must find a way to awaken a new spiritual impulse in the human community, beginning with our cultural, technocratic, and financial elites. And we don’t have time to waste.

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The cost of staging a music festival: ‘We spent £30,000 on the waste’

Original Post


As you hike in through the gates of whichever festivals you attend this summer, you might survey the scene – a miniature city, centred around stages, with its own infrastructure – and imagine that the £170 or so that you and tens of thousands of others have paid is going to make quite a lot of people quite a lot of money. You’ll be paying for the bands, of course, but you’ll also be ensuring the promoter’s bank balance looks an awful lot healthier. Right? Hardly.

The economics of festivals are finely poised. These events wobble on a knife-edge between glorious success and ignominious bankruptcy, and looking at where the money goes is a sobering undertaking.

The first thing to remember is that a chunk of money has been taken from what you paid for your ticket even before the promoters and bands take their shares. There’s an automatic deduction of 20% in VAT, and 3% goes to PRS, which collects the money owed to songwriters for performances of their songs. That means the promoter is down by almost a quarter of their gross from ticket sales before they’ve so much as booked a band or installed a portable loo.

That miniature city (or, in the case of Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, Isle of Wight or T in the Park, not-so-miniature-city) doesn’t pay for and build itself, either. The promoter has to pay to hire the site, put up the fencing, build the stage, lay on water, electricity and waste management, sort out security – and more. “For a 10,000-capacity festival, your power will cost you between £60,000 and £100,000,” says Gareth Cooper, co-founder of Festival No 6. “We would spend up to £30,000 taking the waste away.”

And the bigger the audience, the greater those costs are. “At the Isle of Wight festival, between security and police, it costs £1m,” says John Giddings, the event’s head. He has to employ around 5,000 people to ensure he can lay on all the necessary amenities and a greenfield site isn’t imediately fit for a festival just because you’ve made it fine for campers and live entertainment. Giddings says he spent £250,000 building roads into the site’s car park. “Parking cars on grass,” he says with the weary voice of experience, “is not the best idea in the world.”

As Jon Drape, managing director of outdoor event production company Ground Control, puts it: “Most festival sites are, literally, green fields. There are no utilities there. There is very stringent legislation that festival organisers need to meet to stage a festival. A lot of the expenditure is around very unsexy items – sanitary provision, showers, toilets, waste management, power, site lighting. All those utilities need to be brought in.”

Even after you have made that investment, it can all disappear. This year’s T in the Park festival, running this weekend, has had to move to a new site at Strathallan Castle, having been forced out of its 18-year home in Balado owing to issues caused by an oil pipeline running under the site. “We are the fifth biggest town in Scotland when T in the Park is on, with all the issues that come with running a major town,” says festival director Geoff Ellis, who estimates the running costs over the years at £1m. Now he has to start from scratch on a new site and get it up to the standard it took nearly two decades to reach at its old location. And even then there is no guarantee he will get planning permission for T beyond the initial council-approved three years.

So you’ve splashed out all that money. How do you get it back? It’s not just from the ordinary punters who are paying no more than the ticket price and bringing their own tent. As with football, they might be the bedrock of the festival, but they also provide the atmosphere that turns a festival into an experience for those with more money to spend. Among them are a group that hardened festivalgoers despair of, but who bring in a load more money – the “glampers”. “[We] probably sell more boutique camping per head than any other festival,” says Bradley Thompson, festival director of Festival No 6. “It’s around 15% of people.”

There is a growing demand for it – glamping enclosures often have their own toilets and showers, and phone-charging tents – and festivals are mustard-keen to provide it. Chris Carey, CEO of Media Insight Consulting, spells it out in harsh fiscal terms. “Against the backdrop of a lot of festivals coming into the market, the big ones are doing a much better job of monetising people on site,” he explains. At Latitiude next weekend, you can get an Airstream caravan for between £2,150 and £2,750 – and a chunk of what you pay for your glamping goes back to the festival promoter.

Aligned to this is sponsorship. “Sponsorship is like a safety net that helps cover the cost of putting on the event,” Giddings says. But it is not just a case of taking the money and running. Sponsors want to be more directly involved, seeking to do “experiential marketing” on the site. Some festivals believe, if done right, this can improve the event for attendees. Others face bigger moral quandaries. “Finding ethical sponsors is never straightforward, so we have never relied on sponsorship,” explains Womad director Chris Smith. “If we were approached by a car manufacturer, it wouldn’t work for us at all. You have to make sure it’s the right motivation behind it.”

Others don’t have the luxury of saying “no” to sponsors – simply because they are too small to attract other offers. “We are interested in sponsorships, but one of our problems is our size,” says Marina Blake, director of the 1,000-capacity Brainchild, which takes place at Bentley Country Park in East Sussex this weekend. “But just reaching 1,000 people is not very exciting for a lot of sponsors.”

You’ve got your glampers and your sponsors. Now you need to work out how to get money from the caterers. Food and drink is a key way for festivals to recoup money, either by selling it themselves or bringing in external companies and charging them rent (or sometimes running on a profit split). Graeme Merifield, director of Wychwood, estimates that ticket sales only go to pay for 60% of running his festival. “The other 40% is made up from pitch fees from traders and caterers, sponsorship money and our bar profits as we run our own bars,” he says. “If we didn’t have any of those other incomes, then we wouldn’t be able to run a festival.”

Hardened festivalgoers despair of glampers who bring in a load more money for organisers.
Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

Hugh Phillimore, festival director of Cornbury, suggests that he would charge a trader between £300 and £400 to have a stall at the festival. “You have to be careful,” he cautions, “that you don’t have too many as then none of them will do any business.” Get it right, though – enough stalls to cater for everyone without massive queues, offering good food and drink – and your food can become an attraction in itself.

Even if your overheads are skeletal, ever-present meteorological risk can be unforgiving. In the wet summer of 2012, a number of smaller festivals went out of business as the costs of addressing flooding or dealing with cancellations were beyond them financially. “When it rains, you have to pay a lot of extra money for straw to go on the mud,” Giddings says. “When the sun shines, you have to pay a lot of money to give away water for free.”

Cooper puts it more bluntly. “You plan for a year and it could all be washed away. That’s not a sensible business. It’s a reckless business.”

Inclement conditions can also affect “walk-up” sales (people buying a one-day pass on the day itself). Phillimore said that, in 2013, Cornbury sold 1,200 day tickets, but the year before, because of rain, it only sold 200 – equivalent to a shortfall of around £80,000. Not every festival can sell out in advance, so walk-ups can mean the difference between disaster and success.

Making the numbers add up is going to become incrementally more difficult as musicians steadily hike up their appearance fees, as a means of offsetting declining income from record sales. Some festivals see that as an inevitable byproduct of market forces while others are refusing to be washed along with such demands since their margins are already wafer thin. “Not only are artists demanding more money, they can command it with the sheer number of festivals out there,” says Drape. For many of the biggest events, it becomes a financial arms race as a handful of headline-level acts know they can play rival festivals off against each other to secure the highest fee possible.

The punters are the bedrock of the festival.
Merifield says Wychwood will not allow the romance of securing big names to overtake financial pragmatism. “We have an idea in our heads for how much we are going to spend on the headliner and, if people ask for more than that, then we just walk away,” he says. “Years ago we put on an act that cost us more than we had ever spent before, thinking it would have a golden effect. But it had no effect at all.”

It is a sobering thought this summer – as you prop up the organic cider stalls, pondering which stage to go to next – to remember you are standing in the middle of one of the highest-risk businesses in the world.

“If festival promoters were better business people, they wouldn’t be in festivals,” says Cooper.

So, why do it? The possibility of making a fortune coupled with the thrill of taking a massive patch of grass and magically transforming it into a mini city where, hopefully, tens of thousands of people will have the best three days of their summer, still holds plenty of appeal for some. While you are having fun, spare a thought for the organiser, sitting in their portable building and sweating over their spreadsheets.

An Assembly of – Co-Creators

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