If you were one of some 55,000 people lucky enough to venture up to Co. Laois last weekend for the Electric Picnic festival then you may have been feeling a tad bit down the past few days. Getting over that first initial day of exhaustion and dehydration is obviously going to be incredibly tough if you decided to partake in a few socials during the festivities but even a few days after some people can find themselves still feeling quite blue upon adjusting back into normal life. So why are people so Blue? Utility.
Utility is the economic measurement of satisfaction. It basically refers to how much use an individual will get out of something. For example, the average adult would probably get more satisfaction from receiving a new car than a free movie ticket so we say that they would receive more utility from the option of the new car. Of course, there is no way to perfectly measure satisfaction because it is a subjective concept for each individual, but the concept of utility does allow economists to make more accurate assumptions about individuals in the market. It is this concept of utility which explains why festival goers may feel down the few days after returning, well more the lack there of it.
It is a fair enough assumption to make that the people who go up to music festivals expect to enjoy their time there what with paying the large ticket prices required to gain tickets. And it’s fair to say most festival goers probably do enjoy at least some of their time at the festival what with being able to be with friends all through the weekend while enjoying alcohol, take away food, music and sex in the process. Although some festival goers have been known to engage in other activities which increase their level of utility.
A price is paid later for all this fun though. The initial hangover and shitty ride home smelling of your fellow campers sweat isn’t really the highlight of anyone’s weekend at Electric Picnic. Then coming into home to a situation with far fewer people, noise, overly-social companions, bright colours or freedom tends to give a huge drop in elation for people. No longer can you laugh about last night’s antics with all your friends as you chase the hair of the dog the following morning. You’re left to just your own thoughts and normal quiet surroundings with no excitement or massive adventures to be had.
Some behavioural economists say that disappointment is three times as strong as elation so feeling the loss of satisfaction is a far more powerful feeling than that of enjoying yourself the few days previously. The good news for last week’s EP heads though is that this post-festival blues does pass it just takes a few days for your head to plateau back down to normality from such a high few days. The best way to get over it is to start engaging in social behaviour again with colleagues, friends, family or classmates and obviously to get some well-deserved rest and fluids after the big sesh you’ve had.
By Daragh O’Leary