Wanky Balls festival, or Lazy journalists are lazy

The Big Chill is a large music festival that takes place every year in Ledbury, Herefordshire. I’ve been – and played – several times, and am lucky enough to know a lot of the people who were involved right at the very beginning.

So it was highly amusing to open the Independent this Saturday and see this:

Independent - Big Chill Wanky Balls

Check the last paragraph - Wanky Balls??

Intrigued, I fired up Wikipedia and checked the entry for the Big Chill Festival:

Wikipedia Big Chill Festival Wanky Balls

Hehehe (click for full size)

Looks like someone’s been having a bit of childish fun editing the page – and also that someone at the Independent should check their facts a bit better.

41 responses to “Wanky Balls festival, or Lazy journalists are lazy

  1. Haha, proper investigative journalism – well spotted ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Ahahaha! Thanks, that made me laugh a lot….

  3. someone in Plymouth deserves original credit I believe… pirates no doubt!

  4. Superb.

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  7. Classic. Never fully rely on wikipedia.

  8. Pingback: Sub-editor copies “wanky balls” from Wikipedia into Independent article | Political Scrapbook

  9. Pingback: Wanky Balls festival: Wikipedia-reading journalists welcome | Journalism.co.uk Editors' Blog

  10. The IP address turns out to belong to the Apple store network, and if you look here:


    you’ll see an edit from that address that got automatically blocked by a wikipedia vanadlism filter, containing the message:

    “===I’m doing this to get the Apple Store banned. SCREW WIKIPAEDOIA!=== PENISPENISPENIS”

    Heh. Obviously done for teh lulz.

  11. Nice one. Very funny.
    Though who would ever have suspected that journalists could be so easily led?

  12. allotmentprincess

    That made me do a great big lol. Brilliant (though sadly unsurprising on the lazy journo front).

  13. I blame cuts in sub-editing staff, whose job it is to fact check. Mind you, as a sub-editor, I have to ask if you or anyone has checked back to the source if it is actually true? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I personally know Pete Lawrence, the founder of the Big Chill, and many people who’ve been involved in the festival since the very beginning. So I can categorically tell you it’s incorrect.

      • That’s good to know. I was thinking maybe they bandied around some comedy names before settling on The Big Chill. As a representative of the non-lazy journo community, it’s always good to check these things.

        It may well have been a lazy writer but there are other things to consider – free online content and the collapsing business model for print is definitely squeezing resources. Which means overworked staff are cutting corners or being asked to write and sub-edit their own work, which is never a good thing.

        Too easy just to blame lazy journalism, though admittedly that may be true in this case.

  14. Would also suggest The Big Chill moderates their Wikipedia info!

  15. Hahaha love it when papers are so obviously wrong

  16. Very nice catch Kat! FYI, this got bounced on the NME blog today (with credit).
    Much as I cannot condone wikivandalism, that’s pretty funny.

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  18. Dammit Kat, you’ve driven me to blog!

    10 sub-editor’s excuses for Wanky Balls


    • Hi Fiona,
      While I completely sympathise with the pressures of the modern news-world, and those are certainly good excuses, even so – Wanky Balls?? Even if the sub/journo left it in for humorous reasons, you’d think they’d corroborate something like that. After all, if it sounds too good/funny to be true, it probably is. And this is the Independent, not Viz.

      Anyway, I didn’t put the original post up to particularly have a dig at journalists – more, as someone who personally knows Pete Larence, and has long been involved in the Big Chill community, I found it funny as fuck.

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  20. Indeed. I was more sticking up for the honour of non-lazy journalists. Having working on the Independent on Sunday’s subs desk a few times, I saw different levels of professionalism โ€“ as in any industry there were great and not-so-great workers. But as a sub, I would love to know what >actually< happened.

    There's a rumour spreading on Twitter that it came through from AFP that way. But that's uncorroborated. Have heard the opposite also.

    But yes, at the end of the day, funny as fuck.

    • >I was more sticking up for the honour of non-lazy journalists.
      Indeed, and I am totally with you on that. I know a lot of extremely dedicated and hardworking journalists (notably in science and tech) who are ruthless factcheckers, and work very closely with a press office as part of my job. And I would also love to know what really went on ๐Ÿ™‚

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  22. Well I’m happy to say that it didn’t come via AFP. I wrote the caption for my photo and AFP didn’t change anything during validation. My caption reads;
    “UNITED KINGDOM, Ledbury : An audience member listens to the Malian Tuareg group, “Tinariwen” performing on the main stage at the Big Chill festival near Ledbury in Herefordshire on August 6, 2010. Running from the August 5-8, 2010 the festival features some of the more popular bands and musicians from the underground music scene as well more established acts such as Lily Allen and Massive Attack. AFP PHOTO/Leon Neal ”

    Hope that helps to clear both myself and AFP!

  23. Myself and a friend managed to get this in the Mirror a couple of years ago. The journalistโ€™s error was reported worldwide, and โ€“ our proudest moment โ€“ in Private Eye!


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  27. There’s nothing wrong with turning to Wikipedia to remind you of something you already know, but it’s the biggest load of festivals if you choose it as a primary source.

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  33. Pingback: Wanky Balls: Mea Culpa | Simon Usborne

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