With the end of the summer comes the end of the big music festivals, and with the end of the festivals comes the end of the performances being shown on the TV. So rather than get sad about it and countdown the days till next summer, and because I cant sit and mope in my wellies and sunglasses all day, I thought I’d keep the festival blues away and enlighten you on my top five things I love and hate about festivals.
Rather than ending on a bad note, we’ll start with the five worst things about a festival.
This is an obvious one. I was at V Festival last weekend, and luckily the toilets nearest to our camp weren’t that bad. Yes they smelt bad, and no they never had any loo roll or hand sanitizer in them, but all I require from a port-a-loo is that the toilet seat and the floor is clear of any human waste. This was not the case for a lot of the toilets in and just outside the area on the Saturday and Sunday night. And the queues were ridiculous, since being back, it’s the one luxury I have been most grateful for. I feel like I should stand by my bathroom for at least 10 minutes before I use it.
Festivals cost a lot of money, tents costs a lot of money, food and alcohol in the arena cost a lot of money. The best thing to do, is not even think about it till the weekend is over.
Now I love a good party and not rocking up to bed till 4am in the morning, and the fact I was in a tent didn’t stop me, or the surrounding campers from doing exactly this. But when that is the case, 5.57am is not an appropriate time to then be awake again hearing the very near speakers, blaring out “Drop like an earthquake”
4. Cold nights
So you’ve been out in your shorts and sunglasses all day, rammed in the middle of a crowd, sweating from the heat. The last thing you expect is to get back to your tent and feel like you’ve walked into a freezer, but that seemed to be the case, and even the infamous alcohol jacket could not warm you up. So you mummify yourself in the warmest clothes you brought with you, and don’t move till morning. You are woken (not to DJ Fresh) but to the sun shinning through the tent, and you then get the realisation of panic because you are wearing two jumpers, two blankets and your sleeping bag and feel like you’re melting from the sudden heat that wasn’t around a few hours ago.
It’s a hard smell to describe, and it’s not something you notice while you’re there on yourself or other campers. To you, you smell fine, you’ve done the baby wipe wash, brushed your teeth and used a can of dry shampoo. It’s not until you’re home, and you step out the shower and walk past the bag you took with you that it hits you. It’s not a general BO smell, or even a distinct smell of anything, it’s just a festival smell. For me, the smell was revealed, (not that I realised at the time) during Calvin Harris’s set. We were stood in front of day goers, who were obviously freshly clean, and although the crowd was very packed in, I found myself having that bit of extra room around me.
Despite these five points, I absolutely love the festival experience, mainly for these five reasons.
I love the atmosphere at a festival, it is completely different to that of a usual gig. I am usually right at the front, bang in the middle of action enjoying the gig from a neck cranking view, but at V Fest, I could enjoy the performances from the back, the middle, sitting at the edge and near the front. The atmosphere back at the camp is great too. Usually after a gig, the buzz slowly dies, you try tell your mum or your cat about it, but they don’t care so you attempt to explaining it over social media but isn’t the same. Back at the tent, everyones buzzing from the performances, and even before the music weekend starts you form a bond over damp tents from the rain, broken camping chairs and sausages on the BBQ.
2. The Acts
Obviously the reason you buy the tickets is for the line up. But what I love about it, is you get to see acts you wouldn’t usually get a chance to see. For example, I was seeing Beyonce this time last week. Someone who although I’d love to see the chances of me ever getting tickets to her tour are slim. I also saw 5ive, who I have to admit were one of my highlights because they got the crowd going.
3. Crowd Control
This is my favourite part of any music performance, but at a festival its on a bigger scale. I love how an artist has so much power and control over the audience that when they say “clap” “jump” etc, the crowd do exactly as they say. Opposite to that, I love it when a crowd takes over, and sings the lyrics back so loud and clear, the artist is forced to take a step back. One of my favourite moments from V was during Rudimental’s well known track Waiting All Night. As well as singing, the crowd over powered the trumpet players solo. Although usually when a big crowd of tone deaf people sing, they sound good all in unison but that was not the case when Beyonce started Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You.
Without sounding like an alcoholic, I like the freedom you had. It is widely accepted to wake up at 9am (if you’e lucky to block out the noise till then) and crack open a Strongbow while you eat your over priced bacon butty from the van on the corner.
5. Futures/Unsigned Artists
The futures tent at V festival was my favourite tent out of the four. It was small and intimate and the artists that played were genuinely excited to see a crowd never mind a full tent. This year I saw Ed Drewett and Sam Smith and I can honestly say, they were two of my favourite acts of the weekend. The atmosphere in the tent was unreal and after hearing their sets I can’t wait for more music from both of them.
These are my most and least favourite from festivals, comment with yours.
- Kirstie Newman