Mile-long car park queue. Half a mile of shin-deep mud. Paralytic Australians.
Faded 90s indie band play their hit and their unwelcome new album in its entirety. Mud. Rain. Wind. Drunk, hour-long conversations with strangers you wouldn’t normally give change to in the street. Toilets like an explosion at a sanitation plant. Beer. Morons in the next tent blast out their tuneless music from 4am. No sleep. Wet-wipe shower. Battalions of young ladies in hot pants and wellies. Stumble upon a bank of spotless, flushing, well-stocked toilets. Clouds part. God winks and smiles. Frightened Rabbit. Beer. Miles Kane. Beer. Peace. Beer. Sun out, wellies off. Rain. More rain.
From mud bath to dustbowl to mud bath in 24 hours. Buy overpriced festival T-shirts for kids as presents. Gear up for second night of mayhem. Really angry unforecast rain. I Am Kloot. Beer. Editors. Beer. Kasabian. Beer. Riot. Arctic Monkeys. Beer. Frank Turner. Beer.
Skid back to your tent through ankle-deep mud in the dark at 1.45am. Party still going strong all around you. After standing in a field since noon your legs, feet and back are not. Who are you trying to kid? You’re in your 40s and every fibre in your body is screaming at you to stop. You make an involuntary groaning sound like a dying elephant as you hit the ground in your tent.
Asleep within three minutes. Awake again at 4am to the deafening sound of your neighbour’s Rammstein collection. Beer for breakfast. Rinse and repeat.
See that? That’s every music festival you’ve ever been to, that is. Right there. Festivals are a young man’s game and it’s a challenge that should be rewarded with a medal when you go home.
But what makes me laugh are the features in my daughters’ magazines about ‘Your Ultimate Festival Fashion Wardrobe’. Ha! If you’re off to a festival this summer, here’s a piece of advice from a survivor. Only take clothes that you’d be happy burning. You’ll never want to wear them again. Take wellies, a waterproof poncho and wet wipes. Everything else is mere detail.