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festivals ods rockers rollers hippes druids and Elvis-lovers... all share some fundamental desire to head out to a designated special place especially when the sun or moon comes out and party. Song dance and array of rituals specific to the tastes of the group are always central to the event. The practice is international its been going on for thousands of years and I can only assume it answers some primal urge to come together to commune to share our lives our common beliefs and passions with a backdrop of music. Perhaps its a natural exuberance that finds expression when a society is free at peace and spiritually open to enjoy favourite songs together. Monuments like Stonehenge stand as evidence that these gatherings were very serious business even five thousand years ago when the big blue stones were dug out of the rocks of Wales and carried to a clearing hundreds of miles away creating an arena for their festival originating from the Latin for feast. Talking of feasts this years Elvis festival will be hosted at Blackpool in July and no doubt thousands of men dressed in white with quasi- spiritual seriousness will gather and sing in low bass notes. A multitude of animals will be consumed and alcohol will flow freely just going to prove that although the songs have changed and even the chief priests essentially the human need has not. More than one-hundred and fifty thousand people 150000 attended the Glastonbury festival last year and all time ticket sales have exceeded 325 million - considering ticket prices were just SUMMER THE RIVER SPRING 2016 CULTURE 21 The long tradition almost ritual of heading to festivals needs some forward planning so here is a quick heads up of some of the music pilgrimages to consider this year by Rachel Lewis Street scene at Upton Blues Festivals Upton upon Severn T in the Park at Strathallan Castle Scotland