So it’s that time of year again – SUMMER aka FESTIVAL TIME. I have been lucky enough to attend Reading festival and a local festival in Hitchin and this summer I will again be packing my bags not only to go to Reading festival but also across the waters to a Spanish festival called Benicassim. Yes that’s right a festival where it will be sunny and warm. How amazing. Anyway as I always find myself in situations that you can hardly believe are real, I have come up with the festival guide of Do’s and Don’ts… Follow these and you WILL come back in one piece, well just about…
Do have fun – Festivals are all about fun. Maybe for some of you, this will be your first time away from home with live music, your friends, alcohol, hopefully sunshine but definitely lots of laughs. You’ll remember this weekend for the rest of your life. When you’re sitting in your armchair at the age of 83 chewing last week’s roast pork out of your dentures, just remember that weekend you lived off Malibu and Wotsits (obviously I didn’t do this mum, my ‘friend’ did…)
Do pack plenty of socks. Please pack lots of socks unless you want to become a shivery, attention seeking, moaning person in the corner of the tent actually rummaging through other peoples bags in order to find the things. You do not understand how cold feet get and wet feet get. In the end at Reading I actually paid £10 for 3 pairs of socks from a shady looking man at a stall. He was that shifty looking that I checked the socks didn’t contain any ‘extras’ before I bought them… But I guess desperate times call and shady or what, I needed socks.
Do take plenty of alcohol. Pack it in socks, in pants, in pringles cans, in tops, in trousers, on your body… Just whatever you do, take lots of alcohol. When someone mentions a summer festival, you can’t help but get the image in your head of you swaying on someone’s shoulders with the sun on your back, wind in your hair and an ice cold cider in your hand. The reality is, is that the beer is overpriced, small and vile. You end up drinking Tesco value vodka in your mate’s tent and putting a hip flask in your shorts in order to get into the music arena. Did you ever hear anyone saying festivals were classy? Er no.
Do take warm clothing. I ransacked Primark before going to Reading (obviously ransacking and then queuing to pay for my items, I’m not an official yob)… Yes the joys, Primark had a sale. I hear you sneering at me, Yes I shop in Primark sale section… Pfft you didn’t even know Primark had a sale, did you? Anyway stock up on tracksuit bottoms, fleecy cardigans and cheap blankets. You will never see these items again and if you are lucky enough to bring your items which are ‘so dirty they are grey instead white’ back, you probably won’t want to wear them again…
Do take chairs or blankets. You won’t actually believe this but people steal your camping chairs! There we were in 2011, festival newbies with lots of camping chairs and blankets. We went to bed on the first night with our chairs in a ring around a little cosy camp fire and woke in the morning to NO chairs and NOWHERE to sit. You might be thinking oh well, grab some blankets and sit on the floor… Yes this would be nice but it had rained and by rained I mean imagine having a bucket of freezing cold water poured over you, making your clothes impossible to dry and making the ground very very wet. Who wants to sit on wet mud? A pig wouldn’t even have enjoyed those conditions. So there we were in 2011, on our second night in another camp site running over tent wires, trying to control our laughter as we escaped with our ‘new’ chairs…
Don’t expect to sleep and don’t say you want to sleep. I think the most sleep I had each night was about 2 or 3 hours and honestly you don’t need it. Maybe it’s the alcohol and sugar inside you or maybe it’s the fear that your ‘friends’ may draw on you whilst you’re asleep. I’m not too sure but either way sleep is the last thing on anyone’s mind, that’s of course if you want to be a social reject. Everyone remembers that ‘boring boy’ who went to bed each night instead of eating greasy Chinese spring rolls, laughing so loud you can’t hear yourself and just covering up your fatigue with a sugar rush.
Do take wellies with good grip. This is a must. The mud at Reading was indescribable. I remember walking to the silent disco and we were actually slipping over. It was that type of mud which sucked up your foot almost like in a horror movie and the noise resembled that geeky boy at the front of the class in science sniffing up his snot instead of using a tissue. One day my friend fell face first into this mud but I couldn’t help her as the ground would have swallowed me. I was laughing. She was shouting. Then karma hit me face first and so did the mud as I fell too. To this day I think I can still find reminiscent of the mud on my wellies and this is no joke.
Do expect to meet utter weirdos. During my 5 days at Reading I met a man who wet himself during Madness, 2 girls having a full on fight, a barefooted man walking around the mud, several people high on life (or drugs I should say), saw a girl so drunk she fell onto a tent… whilst there was people in it, found a stranger in my tent (yes that’s right), saw a baby wearing headphones (the baby was literally like 10 months old), saw a group of boys dressed as monkeys and saw a man covered head to toe in marker pen. Nothing else needs to be said really.
Do expect to be pushed into a mosh pit. Before festivals I thought mosh pits were only for real hard core rock music and only for those who started them. After my first night, I realised I was wrong. Moshers as they are known as can create these circles of horror to anything… probably even Mozart’s classical finest. There I was minding my business at the side of an ‘Indie’ (everyone knows that Indie is meant to be a chilled, relaxed environment) concert, deciding whether I wanted to stay or go… suddenly my choice was taken from me as me and my friend were picking up by the circling freaks. What happened next was traumatising. Viewers with sensitive imaginations should look away now. Imagine yourself unable to breath, in darkness, with shouting and music you don’t really like, elbows galore, sweat heaven, being forced to jump just for a gulp of air. Round and round this horror goes until you escape and end up lying on the floor outside the arena looking a fat woman just after it has been announced that Krispy crème doughnuts are on sale. Not a pretty picture.
All in all, festivals are amazing and everyone needs to experience at least one in their life time. But just remember you will come back as a shell of person, starving, dirty, and still reminiscing for years to come.