It's summertime and festival season is upon us, and here in Jockland if you mention festivals there is often only one that leaps straight to the lips of the public's consciousness, and that is the mighty, the legendary, the none so big, the undisputed champ of them all, T in the park.
And yet while it is the biggest, that doesn't necessarily equate to it being the best, and it would seem that it is not in as robust health as it probably should be.
In recent years, while people still flock to the event, there has been what appears to be a sea change in the demographic of those attending.
Where once it was a broad range of music fans, it now appears to be the 'go to' festival for Scottish teens coming of age.
Teens whose sole purpose is to push at the boundaries of how wasted it is possible to get without actually dying.
And in addition to the army of teens experimenting with cerebral destruction, the crowd is bolstered by those who couldn't tell the difference between an album chart and a bowel chart, the people who are there to tick off seeing a few headliners from their 'things I should really do to appear to be hip before I die' bucket list.
An example of the existence of these attendees can be found everywhere post festival.
They are the people who when asked who they enjoyed on the bill will, at best, inform you that they just stayed in the campsite all weekend, but they were told the Stoned Chilli Peppers were good. Or at worst will laughingly regale you with a story about how Buckfast Andy was mdma'd oot o' his nut and woke up gaffa taped to the groundsheet of a tent with a jobby on his chest.
We all know these stereotypes, and while all festivals do attract them, unfortunately T in the park has become the mecca for them.
And if we are honest and strip away the 'they bought a ticket and can do what they want' rationalization, then we have to admit that neither of these groups of people could care less about the t-break stage, or are looking to check out the latest band that the music press are getting all hot and bothered about.
They are barely engaged with much of what is on offer.
Unless an artist, or a band, have a legendary status, or are currently riding the wave of a one hit summer anthem then they may as well not exist for them.
And therein lies the problem.
Incrementally over the years the festival has become less about the acts for those attending, and the event itself is now the draw.
It currently gives the impression that it is the festival for people who don't really know what a festival is, or care.
If you were to consider T in the park as if they were a holiday break then it is the Shagaluf option without a guarantee of sunshine.
It's maybe even encroaching on a stag/hen weekend in Blackpool territory.
And at that point who gives a shit about the soundtrack to the weekend? (Apart from the unknown party animal that deposited one on Andy with that being more about simply providing a shit rather than giving one.)
The music on offer has slipped into secondary position for just too many now.
And with that, increasingly more are asking if this is the beginning of the end.
As festivals go it appears to have lost a committed audience and gained a transient one, it's lost a certain connection, and the performers and a solid chunk of those attending are now apparently just ships passing in the night.
Standing stage centre in a crush of bodies is akin to a Tinder booty call for the casual attendee.
It's possibly enjoyable, but ultimately forgettable as there is no bond between the participants.
Of course there is often the accusation that this view is rooted in music snobbery when it is expressed, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Teenagers from sink estates to secretaries in their mid forties can all find common ground in musical appreciation, so with that being the case the crowd doesn't have to be largely made up of 18 - 35 males in band t-shirts.
I doubt anyone would even claim that, but at the same time it would be ludicrous to cite that the majority attending are really there for the acts anymore.
Tickets bought pre line up announcements being made support the argument for the attraction being the event itself.
So with a background of alleged financial irregularities that were found to be legal, but demonstrably immoral, a downsizing of the capacity after Police Scotland pushed concerns to the fore, the nightmare of access to and from the new site in 2016 still providing a hangover, the dearth of big bands being broken by the music industry, and in general a toxic impression being increasingly embraced by music fans, then the question of how long has it got to go starts to gather some pace.
Who knows what is going on behind the scenes too?
The infrastructure investment required for this year coupled with artists fees and clean up costs measured against what could be financially accrued possibly isn't something that will be making the money men sing and dance.
And ultimately that is always the bottom line.
Bets are on that the festival won't see 2020, but we shall see because the future truly is unwritten.
*Originally posted on NHC MUSIC - 05/06