Music Festivals: The Inside Perspective
The festival season is well underway and this year Louise Mason decided to work at one – she shares her inside perspective
Mud, mud, beer, mud, cider, portaloos, mud, tents, needing the loo at the most inappropriate times and finding a massive queue for a smelly plastic excuse for a toilet (looovvellyy), mud, chips, curry, burgers, chips, hand sanitiser, more mud, wellies, booze, standing for obscene amounts of time and not showering for four days straight. Ah festivals, you’ve gotta love them.
Sure, the list of slightly uncomfortable things goes on and, by the end of the weekend, you are more than ready for a shower, a good healthy meal and a nice cosy bed – but is it all worth it? You betcha! The reason? The music, the atmosphere and the people. If you are festival regular you don’t need me to tell you that.
For the uninitiated, let me elaborate: no one goes to a festival to have a bad time, and the amount of things to do and see is sometimes so overwhelming you don’t know where to start. Clash finders exist for a reason. You certainly don’t get bored. And with so much going on, and likely plenty of alcohol to hand too, you have little care for kicking off your muddy wellies and falling into a tent each night. You can even get past the toilet situation. Face wipes may not be the best for the environment but man are they handy.
This year, I crossed over to the other side and won’t look back. I worked at a festival and had my eyes opened. There were showers and luxury toilets, and my tent was so close to the arena that when I wasn’t working I could run back, down a cider and walk back in again – sweet. I got food vouchers so managed to try the otherwise extortionate food on offer and didn’t once eat a chip! I know! I had enough time to enjoy the festival, met some brilliant people and bombed around the site in a buggy all day dropping off artists and their kit at various stages. Superman pushed me up a hill and the crowd cheered when I managed to defeat the mud. It was awesome.
I always thought one of the main attractions of music festivals was spending some quality fun time with your friends. And it is. But I now realise that you don’t even need to have friends when you arrive to have a great time, especially if you’re working. Like travelling on your own, you get the opportunity to meet so many new people. And for me, well, I met some real characters.
“All aboard Lou’s horny buggy!”, my new mates would cry. One band even made up a song about my use of the horn as we hurtled along, the Cumbrian fells providing the perfect backdrop. “Snoop Dog coming through, Snoop, move b**** get out the way,” one band yelled (in jest of course). The punters faces were priceless. As if Snoop would get in a buggy! In fact, one slightly drunk singer commented that he didn’t reckon Snoop would ever have seen such an audience, an audience which included so many families and houmous eaters. “All you houmous eating mother ******* put the houmous down and jump, jump, jump.” Endless laughter. A merry go round of people with all varieties of instruments and stories to share. A novel experience which I think some of the bands enjoyed almost as much as playing their set.
So if you have any sense, you will wear the same jeans for four days and go to a disco in the middle of a field. Unless, like me, you’re an idiot and bring far too many clothes thinking you will actually care how clean your jeans are – you won’t and will end up carting them back to your car still clean and with sore shoulders from the weight of your stuff. Don’t do that. Less is more. You will be exhausted but happy, and probably sunburnt – for that, remember Baz Luhrmann, wear sunscreen.
Are festivals worth it? Stupid question really.
Image Credit: Eva Rinaldi