I’ve now been to my first festival, and it has been confirmed, I’m not the festival type. Did I mention I don’t like to be cold, I like running water, I can only deal with large crowds of people for short periods of time? I struggle to understand why one would pay (a lot of money) to spend 3 days doing what I just did in more crowded, dirtier, and sometimes in less than ideally located tents (think next to porta-loos). Possibly my Canadian need for a certain amount of personal space comes into play, and the fact that I’m older than your average first-time festival goer.
I’m very glad I took the advice of those that told me to bring the essentials – loo roll, wellies and hand sanitiser. To that I would add solar charger for phone (or an old mobile phone that has a battery that goes for days), a sleeping bag that is ranked for the Himalayas and full on rain gear, as in what a fisherman would wear, I think sou’wester would be the perfect festival look.
I didn’t hate it but can’t say I had a great time either. Lucky for me I had to leave Sunday, as it turns out the rain and wind were pretty fierce that day and that I would have hated. I was surprised at how good some of the food on offer was, like the wood fired oven pizza I had. The crowd was friendly and the Isle of Wight lovely.
The shocking: The amount of people at the festival (70 000 this year, with permission for 90 000 for next year) and the poor layout which made going to and from different areas tedious. Tedious to the point of not being able to see who I wanted. England is a country mad about health and safety but I felt concerned for what would happen should something go wrong and the crowd panic or should a rush happen due to the narrow passageways and bottlenecks in some areas.
I didn’t feel I got to see as many acts as I could have, Not getting a wink of sleep the first night put running from stage to stage lower down on my list of priorities. I enjoyed the music that I did see/hear, Tom Jones, Kings of Leon, Iggy and the Stooges, Seasick Steve, and Chasing Status (which was pandemonium) so a good mix.
If you are ever in England and there is a festival, be sure to give it a go. Maybe starting off with just a day pass to test the waters, or (like I will be doing from now on) stick to the smaller festivals.