As years have passed, the context and current affairs of the respective years have coincided with the mood and atmosphere at the festival itself. During recent times, youth culture and the teenage stereotype have been rightly or wrongly pigeon-holed into categories such as ‘chav’ or ‘emo’ that have been portrayed in a certain light by the national media. Festivals such as Leeds show that teenagers can be free spirits and not have to conform to stereotypes.
Within the passion-filled environment of a festival crowd or the friendly atmosphere of sitting around a campsite with friends, these conventional terms fade away and – if only for one weekend – all corners of teenage society don’t have to conform to the media’s portrayal and instead live exactly as they choose to.
Since the millennium, teenagers have often been seen in a negative context. Knife-crime, violence and the London riots attended by a tiny minority of the teenage population has resulted in the vast majority being looked down on by the older generations. Despite the negative attitude of adults, teenagers have also had the pressure of their peers to have a particular attitude, like a particular kind of music or dress a certain way. The combination of these different emotions can have a detrimental impact on teenager’s lives, and large social events such as Leeds Festival can be the one annual chance they get to be part of a group specifically aimed at having a laugh, enhancing friendships and having a positive experience cut off from the pressures of the outside world.
You will probably not encounter an individual that negatively impacts on your experience or is there just to cause other people harm. On the contrary to some portrayals of youth culture, the majority of teenagers do not live to cause offence and live in a negative fashion and these types of events actually show the other side to otherwise unjustified stereotypes.
If a huge group of people – often almost 100,000 – can live together for a weekend sharing happy experiences then why can this not be replicated in the outside world? Surely this type of event can only be a positive way to embrace youth culture and allow the media to form a new opinion on the young generation.