That’s The Festival Spirit

Posted on: November 14, 2011

This piece was written during my recent PR internship at Pumpkin, on behalf of creative agency Archibald Ingall Stretton to highlight their involvement with Coppafeel’s successful breast cancer awareness campaign..


Music festivals have become an essential part of the great British summer and are growing in numbers, with now over 450 nationwide. Whether a jovial gathering on the local green or a world renowned event; a cause to crack out the wellies or an occasion for a Pimms jug; music and the arts have been bringing people together in fields across the country for generations.

Criticism is brewing surrounding the commercialisation of some events, with claims that V, Reading, Glastonbury and the like have become too predictable and aimed at middle-of-the-road ticket holders. It is true to say that we live in an age where festival outfits are planned months before via heat magazine, and entry fees for a weekend at the larger events are reaching the £200 mark. The days when Glastonbury charged a mere pound to see T-Rex headline are very much over.

If the real spirit of these national and local shindigs are losing their meaning amongst the money-making sponsorship deals and overpriced beer, then the presence of charity work and voluntary aid gig-goers may be starting to readdress the balance. Charities such as Oxfam and Greenpeace have played a big part in providing events with rallies of site stewards in return for free tickets, whilst rectifying an essence of generosity and community support.

Various aid-based organisations have got involved with the increasingly packed festival calendar, such as Coppafeel! and its ongoing campaign to raise breast-cancer awareness among young people. Earlier this year the organisation began its festival tour at Beach Break Live in Wales, attracting the student-only crowd to their ‘Boob Tent’. The Hello Boobs project, created by Archibald Ingall Stretton, has been successful in drawing attention to the importance of checking breasts for prevention of late detection or misdiagnosed cancer, with the added help of celebrities Fearne Cotton and Lorraine Kelly.

The agency created a memorable pastiche of Wonderbra’s 1994 ad ‘Hello Boys’ that aimed to encourage young people to ‘name their breasts’ by pitching up at festivals with postcards, transfer tattoos, and a seaside style face cut-out of the infamous billboard advert.

The fun and quirky awareness campaign is an example of the many ways in which charities are targeting the public at festivals with their message – going some way to ensure these gatherings are a little more altruistic and a little less materialistic.


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