Early this year it was announced that the Coachella grounds in the Californian desert would soon host a different kind of festival. Not aimed at the usual wannabe hippies, who sometimes don’t even care about the music, but only about wearing fake flower crowns and thinking of stylish outfits weeks in advance. It’s all about the music with this new kind of festival – and pretty damn good music at that. Desert Trip is there to celebrate the classics, to cherish and pay tribute to the tunes of the greats, hosting THE ROLLING STONES, PAUL MCCARTNEY, NEIL YOUNG and THE WHO amongst others.
Last weekend the smaller and slightly more local festival Together The People took place in Brighton (UK), running a similar approach. The headliners of the two-day festival were BRIAN WILSON playing Pet Sounds and the BEACH BOYS‘ greatest hits, SUEDE and PETER HOOK AND THE LIGHT with a best of NEW ORDER and JOY DIVISION songs, pulling the crowd in.
However, unlike Desert Trip, the Brighton based festival is also a platform for a lot of upcoming bands. Very talented and young musicians get to play their sets during the day, with memorable mentions going to lesser known bands such as FICKLE FRIENDS, EPISODES, MARTHA GUNN, STEVIE PARKER and PHORIA, all representing youth and coolness in a hipster sort of way, pulling in like-minded teenagers like magnets. Naturally, so close to hipster central London. While the classics were taking over the main stage, the young talents were able to showcase their music in two other tents, not far from the main stage. The relatively small festival site allowed festival goers to switch between tents easily and quickly. The scheduling of Together The People is to be praised: Short 30 to 45 minute sets allowed for a lot of variety and the schedule lined the shows up neatly one after another, so one would never miss too much and get to see as much as possible.
There is an obvious point in supporting upcoming and young local musicians, but why is it also important to give room to the classics? Because their music in itself is multigenerational. Most musicians who dominate the pop business don’t seem like they’re very likely to keep on playing their music in their 70s. But musicians from the past such as Brian Wilson have achieved the status of being a musical legend. Their musical careers truly last a lifetime and keep on influencing people all around the world. That kind of music is meant to last, spanning enthusiasm over generations, from parents to their kids.
At Together The People, it’s not only the right balance of old and new music played on stage, but also a mix of old and young music lovers attending the festival. The young people might cherish the musical genius behind the classics in contrast to the whitewashed output of today’s music industry, while the the older generations listened to the tunes in their own youth and are able to relive memories that way. And ultimately, it is about bringing these generations together. For example, there were multiple pairs of daughters and fathers in the crowd, sharing the same passion for rock music.
In every aspect it is apparent that Together The People is a multigenerational festival, with feeding tipis for breastfeeding mums, a tent with a kids’ programme, a massive bouncy slide and other fun attractions such as a ferris wheel and merry-go-rounds, which tempt the grown ups be kids again for a day or two. Another highlight is definitely the Bubble Inc tent, advertised as the Guinness Record Holders in everything to do with bubbles, spreading regular soap bubbles in all sizes above the heads of the crowd in front of the main stage as well as special smoke filled bubbles, which even the adults were eager to pop.
Overall it seems like a lot of love went into putting this festival together, visible in the little details and the selection from local bands to special food trucks, serving delicious treats such as savoury burritos to sweet ice cream with sherbet powder and flying saucers on the side. The relaxed vibes and general good mood make the festival worth going, for families and friends alike. So Together The People really does it’s name justice – bringing people together through music.