Finally, the sun is shining, which means it must be festival season. All across the land, students are updating their FB status to tell you just how AMAAAAAAAZING Download is gonna be because NIN are on, only to change it to inform you how awesome Def Leppard were when they get back. Bestival go-ers are packing their pickernick baskets, and the interminable hordes of morons who spent £100 on a Glasto ticket BEFORE THEY ANNOUNCED WHO WAS PLAYING are polishing their finest paisley patterned wellies.
There is however, a more sinister and disturbing side to all this. All over England, endless lazy Sunday supplement journos are throwing their free press passes in the bin (Journalists habitually go to a major festival once, excited to be getting backstage. They quickly realise what musicians and Pete Doherty know only too well-backstage is a much, much more boring version of out front, with less booze, and particularly, less chance of copping off with a sexy foreign type), and sharpening their typewriters to prepare that most non-challenging feature of music writing: The Festival Survival Guide!
You’ve probably already seen three or four hundred of these, each one dividing the audience into sub groups such as the ‘Newbie’, the ‘Top Shop Poppet’ and similar, and each either advising you to bring a folding stool or consulting some bloke out of Orbital for advice. The trouble with this is, the bloke from Orbital spends all the time not on stage ensconced in a velvet throne aboard his Winnebago, cheerfully oblivious to the mud-caked sunburnathon taking place a few hundred yards away.
All this is crap. There are a few things you’ll need for a festival obviously, but a Dolce&Gabana Jester’s hat is not one of them. Instead, you need a compact packing list that will maximise your fun,-simply follow this handy guide and you can be sure to dine out for years on your festival stories. Quite possibly on prison food.
Dress for excess:
On no account should you wear anything from a high street store, instead, head to surplus for combat trousers and boots. If Combats aren’t available, go full on and get leathers. Warm in cold weather, cool in hot, keeps out dust, cider and the human excrement that your ‘hilarious’ friend has smeared all over themselves. Those in the know choose Cow.
Next up is the T-shirt. Perhaps you are thinking ironic Motley Crue tour shirt? Piss off. You need a Darkthrone shirt no less than 14 years old, with the sleeves ripped off. This will look like you know your music, and double as a vomit mopping device. If you have to accesorise, go with chunky leather wristbands, and possibly a bandolier. Finally, a Stetson is invaluably. And I’m not talking about the straw ones. High thee to a western store and pick something black, that has clearly been designed to double as a trough for your horse. In short, you should look like Clint Eastwood if he was playing a bounty hunter. A real nasty one too.
You will probably pass out at least once at this thing, and if it isn’t in a hedge/bin/fire/other festival goer, then it’s worth bringing a tent (If nothing else, you can hide Vodka in it). I’m sure you are thinking;
“Hey! I already bought half my wardrobe at the Army & Navy, maybe I can get a deal on a second hand tent right?”.
Ex-military tents may be sturdy and waterproof, but they also cost a lot, weigh a ton, and take 6 months and a team of Chieftain Tanks to put up. Instead, it’s off to Tesco, where you can pick up a child’s play tent for a tenner. This thing will fit in a pocket-If you are wise you will have a hunting jacket with a thousand storage options, carrying bags is for losers man-and in emergencies will keep you dry. Of course, the ultimate aim of any festival goer is to spend as much time as possible in someone else’s tent anyway, and come the end of your 3 day stint in the rock n roll wilderness, you can happily skip to the front of the exit line, because while everyone else is trying to roll up groundsheets with a hangover, simply set yours on fire.
So, all packed up?
Grand, time to work out how to get there. If it’s in your country of residence (foreign gigs should always be attended by plane, thus maximising your drinking time in a foreign city), you have two options. One: Get a mate to drive. Remember, the best way to avoid paying for this is to work out a deal where they buy fuel, and you get the beer in. The beauty of this is that you can spend the entire trip quaffing colossal amounts of alcohol and hurling bottles of piss out the window while they try to keep a sensible eye on the road.
Your other option? The Train. Infinitely preferable to the organised coach. On a coach, you are guaranteed to be sat next to four cretins from Exeter, who will alternate their time between shouting about the merits of Slipknot, and playing their band’s crap demo on a phone. Travel by train however, and, along with the fun of freaking people out with your ‘Bravestarr’ look, you get a table. A table that will comfortably hold four 28 packs of Happy Shopper lager, and still leave enough room for you to pour Absinthe over a sugar cube. Or, if you are doing things correctly, Jagermeister, which leads us neatly to our next point;
Festival drinking is not like ordinary drinking. I don’t care you normally prefer a nice Viogner. Here, you are drinking Strongbow at the bar (or from a plastic, one-gallon petrol container, preferably used), and Jager. Ideally at least one optic-sized bottle should be consumed before attempting to watch any music. This will imbue you with a swaggering confidence, enabing you to eat the traditional deathburgers, and convincing you that the Tanita Tikarum set you just saw was the greatest moment in entertainment history.
At some point in proceedings, you will awaken next to a pink, rubbery wall in what appears to be an oven. Do not panic. This will be whoever you slept with last night. If this causes you to doubt your attractiveness, taste or humanity, simply apply more alcohol until the feeling lessens. Festivals evoke a unique code of the road, whereby meeting enormous Goths while Skid Row play in the background somehow leads to sexual intercourse. Remember, none of your friends have seen this person, and provided you can slip out of the tent with out waking them, then you never will again either.
You mean there are bands on at this thing too?