festival [ˈfɛstɪvəl]n1. a day or period set aside for celebration or feasting, esp one of religious significance
2. any occasion for celebration, esp one which commemorates an anniversary or other significant event
3. an organized series of special events and performances, usually in one place4. Archaic a time of revelry; merrymaking
5. (modifier) relating to or characteristic of a festival
[from Church Latin fēstivālis of a feast, from Latin festīvus festive]
Well that's what the on-line dictionary says.
When it comes to wine festivals this might be a better description:
or·gy n. pl. or·gies1. A revel involving unrestrained indulgence, especially sexual activity.
I have attended and been involved in: the Marlborough Wine Festival from the very early days; the inaugural Taste Martinborough and 15 following events; Canterbury Wine Festival; Auckland food and wine festivals; Devonport Wine Festivals and many others in New Zealand and overseas. Over the years these events have steadily increased in size and popularity but at a corresponding decrease in good behaviour, sobriety and common sense.
This is not to say that earlier festivals were without drunkenness and licentious behaviour. For many years one of the add-on attractions of the helicopter flights at the Marlborough Festival was the people bonking amongst the vines.
I remember once at Toast Martinborough when we took a short cut back to Palliser to get our bus there was a couple going at it by the track. Her Indoors observed that the guy was particularly well-endowed. I ushered her away saying that the poor chap was deformed.
Drunken and half-naked young women have become de rigeur at any events where alcohol is consumed whether it be a folk festival, a music festival or a food and wine festival.
Hey, I'm not complaining but the organisers of these events need to stop hiding behind the facade of 'culture' and face up to the fact that wine (or beer) + sun + time + music + festivity = recipe for disaster in some cases.
The 2011 Toast Martinborough is a case in point. Now admittedly there are two sides to every story and the wowsers have been doing a 'beat up' on this but there is no smoke without fire. See:
I remember serving wine at a festival at the viaduct a few years ago and seeing a woman, drunk, fall over backwards still holding her glass. She cracked her skull and had to be carted away by ambulance.
I'm not a misery-guts and I myself enjoy attending these events and, leaving the car at home, having a few (too many) glasses of wine. They have to be properly policed though because unfortunately there are a lot of people who just want to get pissed and whether it is beer, RTD's or Central Otago Pinot Noir to help them in this sometimes just doesn't matter.