Everyone has been to a festival that turned out to be a bit looser than they originally anticipated, but Iain Morris’ new film The Festival has taken the idea of a mad festival to a new level. With an all-star cast which includes Noel Fielding as DJ Hammerhead and Nick Frost as a trigger-happy tattoo artist, the film follows Nick (Joe Thomas), a freshly graduated university student and first-time festival-goer who is in for some big surprises.
The opening scene sets the tone with bodily fluids going astray, preparing the audience for the perpetually crude and often outrageous list of things that happen to Nick and best friend Shane (Hammed Animashaun) over the course of the weekend. Ripped piercings, smurfs, drunk tattoos, dogging, stripping, druids and bestiality (which are, surprisingly, linked) all feature in this coming-of-age tale.
Nick, who has a spectacular breakdown during his graduation ceremony after a savage dumping from his girlfriend Caitlin (Hannah Tointon), attends his first festival with Shane (a DJ Hammerhead superfan). Cue a series of both fortunate and unfortunate events throughout the rest of the film.
While this is a coming-of-age comedy directed by the man who created The Inbetweeners, it should be different enough to warrant its standalone title. The Festival, however, could have benefited from actually being part of the Inbetweeners franchise. From the opening scene, which sees Thomas and Tointon (who plays Tara in the TV series) once again in a one-sided relationship, it is hard to shake the idea that this isn’t ‘The Inbetweeners Movie 3’ out of your head.
We see Tointon dumping Thomas, something which all Inbetweeners fans have seen before, and The Festival even features Theo Barklem-Biggs as the drug addled ‘Gordy’ – a character not dissimilar to Richard, the seemingly omnipresent and enduring adversary in The Inbetweeners Movie.
The cinematography of the film is spot on. Having been filmed at both Bestival and Leeds Festival in 2017, the crowd and extras are actual festival-goers, which adds to the authenticity of the film.
Despite a pretty disappointing and predictable ending, The Festival is well worth a watch if you are a festival fan. It dramatises the festival experience well, giving an insight into what could happen if you left the campsite once in a while. Although it is hard to remove the perpetual reminders of The Inbetweeners from your head throughout the film, it is important to see The Festival as its own entity, as drawing comparisons to the former will most likely spoil the excitement.