Working Reading Festival 2012

This year I was lucky enough to be able to attend one of Britain’s best music festivals for free! Well, of course it wasn’t completely free, I had to work every now and then for my ticket but the work wasn’t exactly hard. I was part of the Peru Support Group charity, established in 1983 as an independent organisation (meaning without political affiliation) it’s aim is to support the people of Peru targeting the poorest sectors, getting volunteers to help wherever they can.

You can donate, volunteer and become a member of this fantastic group and my friend and I chose to volunteer for Reading festival, working just six hours every day we were at the festival but the other 18 hours of the day were left for us. And we made the most of it. We arrived on the thursday ready to meet the people we would be working with, some who were newbies just like us and others who had been doing it for years. Camping away from the main festival area we were able to meet each other quickly and the whole place had a instant friendly vibe.

After a night of no music (the festival was not due to start until the next day) we retreated to bed after playing drunk Uno and watching another of my friend’s throw up dangerously close to his tent. Friday came and we were working 12 til 6pm, so we got to see some pretty strange music on the main stage (well strange to us, it was heavy metal) but then we had the evening free to explore, leaving us to find Bombay Bicycle Club on the main stage then Foster the People and The Maccabees on NME/Radio 1 stage. I had seen The Maccabees earlier in the year when they were touring and they were just as fantastic as they were then, and Foster the People grabbed the audiences attention as soon as Pumped Up Kicks came on.

peru support group

Then Saturday came, without a doubt the best day for me. A little 11am-5pm shift to get out of the way (but with Green Day playing right next to us who cared?) and we were free to watch Enter Shikari, The Vaccines, Florence and the Machine and Kasabian. It was the best night for me, even the torrential downpours couldn’t dampen everyone’s high spirits. The Vaccines performed new and old material (saving surprises for their tour later this year, no doubt) getting the audience ready for the big headliners. Florence looked as gorgeous as ever, despite the rain pelting in her face throughout her set, bare foot as always she brought love and an air of euphoria to the evening, but then it was time for Kasabian to hit the stage. To be honest, vodka had got to me at this point, but I do remember Underdog erupting through the arena and everyone dancing to the bands rocky and iconic anthems.

Sunday was the peaceful day, we headed out early to catch Tribes, Django Django and Zulu Winter but then had to head off to work for the killer shift of the weekend (6pm-12am) but as our bar was so near to the main stage we were able to see The Kaiser Chiefs and The Black Keys and have a little listen to the eclectic King Charles. People were drunk and loving life when it came to headliners Foo Fighters, not being a massive fan (I think I literally knew two songs) I was quite glad to be on the other side of the bar, security had never been needed as much as that shift.

I have now been struck with the Post Festival Blues, it is a great festival to go to and it had one of (if not the) best lineups. I would definitely recommend working a festival if you are pretty flexible with your music, and it is something that I would certainly do again.

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