We all know that the reason you go to a festival is to spend a couple of days getting blind drunk and behaving disgracefully, with Snapchat stories as the only way to remember what the hell happened. You’ll turn up, put up some sort of shelter in a field, drink a lot, fall over, drink more, fall over again and depart a few days later having never left the campsite.
Here’s the weirdest thing! There are a few… admittedly very, very few… of us festival goers who are actually there to see the entertainment. We go see bands. We might even find ourselves in the comedy tent when it is not raining. I know, so odd it barely seems to be true.
As festival season approaches, this article is for these wierdos, and yes, I am one of them. A few random tips for retaining your sanity when everyone around you is losing theirs!
- Make sure your tent is waterproof. Protection from the rain? – No, good clean water coming out of the sky is the least of your problems. Inevitably you will be in your tent when you will hear the dreaded rasp of a fly being undone, a pause and a bit of scuffling as the lad prepares himself, followed by a stream of warm liquid hitting the plastic above your left ear. Not the time to discover that minute tear in the tent fabric!
- Arrive with a good book. No matter how early you get there, a combination of festival goers bringing the entire contents of the Lidl drinks aisle on site and insanely disorganised security control will ensure that you spend a good 3 hours in an endlessly snaking queue to get into the campsite. Most will amuse themselves downing part of their vast supply of alcohol. If this is not for you, bring a book to read. (Put the book in a large, see through, plastic bag. It is inevitable that despite prevailing drought conditions over the preceding months, rain will fall as soon as there are enough people in the line behind you to make you “committed” to queuing)
- Just camp anywhere You arrive early enough to find a good pitch on the campsite, so wander around and select carefully, leaving a nice gap between you and the next tent… Sound! Nope, waste of time. By the end of the day the inadequate size of the campsite will be fully revealed as latecomers throw a tent on any patch of grass they can find. You’ll be 6 inches away from four lads sharing a two man pop-up!
- There is no way to avoid the mayhem. Pitching your tent on the edge of the site, you will fall prey to the “considerate drunk”. The lad has only consumed 15 cans of cheap lager and is just aware that pissing in the middle of the campsite is not a decent thing to do. He can’t make it all the way to the proper loos, so will head to the edge of the field. He thinks he’s relieving himself on a hedge, but hedges and tents are very confusing in the middle of the night. Pitching in the middle leaves you open to the lad who has consumed 30 cans and doesn’t give a fuck!
- Know how to put up your tent. Sadly, sexism comes into play here. A group of females confused on how to set up a tent will find a few willing helpers to sort things out. A group of blokes struggling will attract a crowd of hecklers, mistaking this for some random comedy performance. Don’t bring tools you would normally use. Anything that looks vaguely helpful will be confiscated by security as a weapon (another plastic mallet gone!!).The scout “Tent erection” team will get to you the minute you finally have the bloody thing set up!
- Bring huge (massive) quantities of toilet roll Inevitably the provided paper on site has gone by 2.30 in the afternoon, so you’ll need your own supply. Being the kind philanthropist, have some to share for your neighbours. By the evening of day two you will be a known and trusted supplier and, being the hard headed business man, you can hoover up some loose change or chocolate in return for a precious sheet or two.
- Along the same lines – Bring a number of battery operated mobile phone charges and a vast supply of batteries.
- Earplugs and blackout eye pads. You won’t actually get to sleep when it’s dark. The party will go on until three in the morning. After then there will be a good four hours of people shouting at each other to “be quiet!”. Even the best earplugs won’t help! Around 7 in the morning general exhaustion and hangovers will kick in and the campsite will quieten down to a pleasant hum for the next 6 hours. Pop in the earplugs, throw on the blackout pads and get some rest.
- Avoid the “trendy artist”. At some point in the festival the massed hordes will emerge from the campsite to go and see one band (yes, just the one.) Use the opportunity to grab something to eat from the strangely deserted Food Village or go find something else to watch. The other band will really appreciate the twenty people who showed up to see them whilst everyone else was at Kodaline!
- Start early. The first band of the day are usually mad keen and enthusiastic. They may be bloody awful, but there is an outside chance you could see something special. At least you know they won’t be “going through the motions”!
That’s enough for now. Wherever you end up – Enjoy!!!!!