As regular readers probably know, at the time of writing, I’m busy making a webcomic mini series that will be set in a music festival. Although it won’t appear here until the beginning of June, I thought that I’d talk about some of the reasons why music festivals are such awesome settings for stories, comics etc.. But, first, here’s another preview of the new mini series:
So, why are music festivals such awesome settings for comics, stories etc…?
1) They’re both awesome and crap at the same time: If you’re making a comedy comic, then music festivals are one of the best settings for the simple reason that they are both awesome and crap at the same time. Although I’ve only been to three of them, and that was a few years ago, they really have a strange duality to them.
Yes, there’s the mud, the grim bogs, the overpriced food, the crowded campsites etc… but at the same time, they’re the kind of place where you can watch heavy metal bands every day. They’re the kind of place where wearing dark clothing is the norm rather than something very mildly unusual. They’re the kind of place where, when your 2am party is interrupted by the people in the next tent, they’re probably just going to ask to join in or bring more drink rather than complain about the noise etc..
They’re places dedicated to joy, self-expression and fun. And, in our dour modern society, this is always a refreshing thing – even if the only places they can happen is far away from any kind of civilisation.
So, festivals are filled with dramatic contrast. And, if you’re writing comedy – then dramatic contrast is an absolutely perfect source of humour. After all, you’ve got thousands of people paying for and actively volunteering to spend a weekend in a squalid field somewhere. It’s hard not to see the comedy value in this.
2) Eccentricity: One of the awesome things about festivals is that, like on Halloween, strangeness is almost the norm.
They’re the kind of places where you can see people wearing all sorts of bizarre outfits in the middle of the afternoon, they’re the kind of places where bizarre running jokes can just spontaneously appear amongst a gigantic group of total strangers within a single day. They’re the kind of places where the audience for a concert can look like an army on a medieval battlefield, due to the sheer number of giant flags and other random objects hoisted in the air.
They’re the kinds of places where not being at least slightly drunk by the early evening is probably a little bit suspicious. They have “villages” of stalls that can sometimes look a little bit like something from “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas” at night.
If you’re an artist then, needless to say, they are one of the most fun types of places to draw. Not only that, if you’re making a comic, then they provide a lot of opportunities for background jokes and/or art-heavy webcomic updates.
3) They’re a rite of passage: Although there are some awesome people who go to festivals literally every year, the most I managed was two years in a row. But, this is part of the charm of festivals -they’re something that most people should probably go to a couple of times, if possible. They’re places that fire the imagination. They’re almost a rite of passage in some way.
And, yet, they’re real things. Even if your comic has some vague pretence of being “realistic” (which my own comics gave up quite a while ago), then you can still set several comic updates at a festival.
Basically, setting your comic at a festival means that you get the chance to put your characters in a “rite of passage” kind of situation without the kind of serious dramatic weight that might come with more “old fashioned” situations of these types (eg: warfare, religious rituals etc…). In other words, it’s an instant source of drama and/or comedy.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂