Organisers of a British rock festival have been forced to change its circus theme after a number of ticketholders told them they had a phobia of clowns.
The Bestival event on the Isle of Wight, off England’s south coast, in early September was to have encouraged festival-goers to dress up in curly red wigs and oversized shoes.
Last year’s Cowboys or Indians theme broke a world record for the biggest fancy dress party when 10,000 people turned up in disguise.
But organisers feared thousands of clowns in one place could spark mass panic in the psychedelic atmosphere of the festival, which is popular with so-called “nouveaux hippies”, The Times reported on Saturday.
“We have had so many people with clown phobias contact us I am worried everyone might end up hiding in the woods,” Rob da Bank, a BBC Radio One disc jockey who will “curate” the show, was quoted as saying.
Fear of clowns – or coulrophobia – has symptoms including shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, nausea, sweating and a sense of foreboding, The Times pointed out.
Heavy make-up and bulbous noses, plus negative childhood memories of the supposed funnymen and women, are thought to be the root cause.