Since my eyes were opened to the wonderful freedom and frolicking of music festivals (back when I took the classic rite of festival passage at Reading in 2014) I have vowed to go to as many as I possibly can every year. This promise to myself has been silently kept by managing to scrape together just enough for one weekend each summer.
With the vast post-uni abyss stretching ahead of me after graduation I wanted nothing more than to cram each lingering weekend with the feeling that exists only in the gates of those temporarily transformed fields (anywhere but Reading, we’ve moved on) but my funds wouldn’t allow it and so I poured my heart and soul into Bestival, which provided me more than enough contentment to hibernate back into the boredom of ‘everyday clothes’ and wait another winter until the sequins could be unleashed again.
This year my heart still longs for the unrivalled peace that comes with waking up next to your best mates in a sweaty tent, plastered in last night’s glitter (which will always be lodged in the creases of that bloody tent along with dodgy face wipes and the crumbs from emergency 3am Pringles) without a care in the world.
You check your dying phone and see it’s 8am (a time that usually would not beckon your attendance on a weekend) which is a perfectly acceptable hour to crack open a warm can of Carling and sip it (semi-disgustedly) with the blissful knowledge that you have absolutely no other place to be except where you are in that moment. In the middle of some random field in the British countryside.
So when I began working full-time, naturally my mind began swimming with plans for the festivals I could finally afford; the only downside being limited days to squeeze them into my calendar. The beauty is the fact that they’re usually sprinkled over a weekend, so it’s kind of like a mini break (just with portaloos, not glamorous city hotels).
I’m heading to a couple of day events too as they don’t require as much effort (or half as much dry shampoo or dreaded baby wipe showers). The first of which was All Points East on the first weekend of June in Victoria Park, with the line up including Mac Demarco, Ry X and Bon Iver.
My mistake here was to schedule the day as if I were at a full camping festival: get pissed before going into the arena so I wouldn’t have to spend as much. Obviously then I hopped on the Met Line at 11am in my pink sparkly playsuit (£15 in last year’s Topshop sale – quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever exchanged money for) and my Dr Martens, bumbag fastened, face decorated with glitter and clutching a carrier bag of alcohol for dear life.
To avoid the confused and bewildered looks I hid behind my oversized love heart sunnies and proceeded to drink my pre-mixed g&t as if this was a completely ordinary thing to be doing alone in public on a Sunday morning.
By the time I got to Abi’s I was a little merry (and paranoid about my phone being nicked because she’d seen someone’s get plucked right of their unassuming hands by a cyclist at Bermondsey station the week before) to say the least. We had some drinks on her student accommodation balcony thanks to some stroke of luck with the weather and headed to the festival.
The day’s a bit of a blur of dancing with school friends and new friends, the familiar buzz of excitement and hum along to long-treasured songs and the regret of choosing my overly-priced festival food before witnessing and considering all of the stall options.
The night’s a bit of a blur of missing the last train to Watford (so predictable) and my phone dying, meaning I was stranded without the safety blanket of Uber and the man in charge at Harrow-on-the-Hill station had to order me a taxi, which I waited 40 minutes for in my very tiny playsuit, blistered Dr Marten heels and bumbag.
For this very reason, I have to say that I salute the weekend festival. There’s time to chill out and explore all the food choices and it doesn’t matter if you’re out until the early hours because your inviting tent is only a drunken stumble away.
I’m always up for trying something new, though, and there’s only so long you can be stranded in the moment and think – ‘fuck it, I’m still young’. I dread the day I can’t think that anymore.
I love taking disposable pics, but for some reason these haven’t scanned amazingly well, but even though the quality is shit they tell the story of my first music festival in 2019 so they warrant their space on the blog.
What festivals are you going to this year?!