Tag Archives: camping

Bearded-Theory

Bearded Theory Festival 21 – 24 May 2015

Bearded Theory festival is a 10k capacity music festival held on a lovely site at Catton Hall in South Derbyshire.  It is a small, relaxed and very friendly festival.

Some of my longtime readers might recall that 2014 was the first time that the festival was held at Catton Hall and as you would expect there were a few teething problems, though to be fair these were largely caused by the truly awful weather we had.

Bearded-TheoryOne of the things that I like so much about this festival is that they acted on all of the feedback they received last year and as a result made the festival even better this year. The team at Bearded Theory are determined that people will have a great time when they come to the festival.

Our party met in a layby a couple of miles from the site and we timed our arrival perfectly, as a result we were the first onto the site.  Our arrival was painless and easy.  The live in vehicle field this year was in a new location, it is huge, flat and well laid out.  I understand that some people had to queue for some time to get onto the site but this wasn’t the case for us.  Our arrival was smooth and easy and we were set up in no time at all.

There were numerous toilets and a shower block in easy reach and the entrance to the arena was just a couple of minutes walk away.  In my experience the toilets were also spotlessly clean, even first thing in the morning.  We were also positioned near to the wonderful woodland stage so if the mood took us we could simply chill out by the van and listen to the music from there.  Ideal!

Bearded-TheoryA word on the woodland stage.  What a wonderful area this is.  It is situated in a little hollow in the woods and at night is lit br fairy lights strung from the tree.  A huge amount of work has been put into this are since last years festival.  This year saw the addition of a beautifully designed stage, a fantastic upgrade to the sound system and the addition of a top eatery with Adele’s superb ‘Nana’s Kitchen’.  This combined with a great line-up of bands ensured that the Woodland stage was a very popuar area indeed.

The festival proper at Bearded Theory starts Friday lunchtime but there is a line-up in one of the big tops.  This years Thursday line up was very good indeed.  Zombie Met Girl opened up and Barsteward Sons of Val Doonican followed up with their usual brand of musical comedy madness.   Levellers frontman Mark Chadwick played a blinding set with a few of his solo project songs but the bulk of his set consisted of festival favourite Levellers songs.

Bearded-Theory3 Daft Monkeys played their usual excellent set of high-octane danceable  folk tunes.  This really is a band that gets better and better.  They have been around for many years but I never fail to be impressed by the energy, enthusiasm and fun they bring to every performance.  I will simply never tire of seeing them.

The evening was rounded off by Hobo Jones and the Junkyard Dogs.  If you have never seen this band you really should.  They are the self styled godfathers of skunk, a crazy mix of punk rock tunes played in a skiffle style with a topping of crazyness.  It all blends to produce an hour of unadulterated festival fun.

Bearded-TheoryUnlike most of our friends we settled for an early night, a decision we were very pleased with come Friday morning.  Bearded Theory is set in a great site for a festival, it is a flat site and fairly compact just a few minutes walk from the camping areas to any of the stages.  It has to be said though that a festival can be a tiring experience as you dash around to see all the acts you want to see, spend a lot of time standing.  Combine that with late nights and lots of alcohol and you know you are going to be pretty tired by the time you get home.

This year Bearded Theory made a massive in their younger customers.  The children’s area was safe, secure and free to parents.  The range of activities was superb and everyone from tot’s to teens were having an amazing time.  The festival even recognised that in order to allow parents to have the full festival experience it might be necessary for the kids to have an extra day off school.

Bearded-1Taking children out of school during term time is becoming increasingly frowned upon so Bearded Theory came up with the perfect solution.  The Bearded Theory school was born.  With lessons based on the national curriculum and centred on the festival experience the school had close to 200 attendees who experienced a fun-filled day of learning overseen by qualified teachers.  To the best of my knowledge this was a first for a UK festival.

Over the next few days I will be posting a review of the music at the festival.  The next post in this series will focus on the first day proper of the festival.

Music Festival Survival guide

Music Festival Survival guide

Well at long last the festival season has arrived.  This week sees my first major festival of the year, Bearded Theory at Catton Hall in Derbyshire.

I count myself as something of a festival veteran having attended numerous festivals both large and small over the last “god knows how many years.”  I thought it might be useful to share some ideas on how to ensure you have the best possible time at the festival you have paid a small fortune to attend.

I am in the fortunate position of owning a Camper Van so I have the luxury of being able to pack my van with food, drink and just about everything I need but most people are not in that position and have to camp in a tent.  If you are camping then hopefully this guide will help you.

What To Take

  • A tent!  Aim for a decent sized tent preferably with a porch where you can remove muddy boots etc.  Don’t expect your 3-man tent to sleep 3 comfortably, it won’t!
  • Sleeping Bag:  You don’t need a £300 duck down 4-season bag.  A cheap 2-season will suffice for UK summer festivals
  • Sleep Mat or Air Bed:  Many larger festivals will have a camping shop where you can buy these but do check, a little comfort goes a long way.
  • Torch:  I swear by this type, they are tough as old boots and slip easily into your pocket.  Essential to find your tent, and the loo in the middle of the night.
  • Loo Roll: You do not want to trust that the port-a-loos or long drops will have paper.  Trust me!!
  • Wet Wipes: Absolutely essential, you can wash with them, freshen up during the day and use as emergency loo roll.
  • Water Bottle: keep hydrated from fill points and keep some water for that first coffee of the day
  • Small Camping Stove: These little solid fuel ones are ideal especially as some festivals no longer allow gas canisters.
  • Metal Container: Something to boil water in
  • Sun Block
  • Waterproofs: Trousers and coat, the best you can afford.  You may not need them but if its a wet festival you will be glad of them.
  • Suitable footwear: This means good quality waterproof boots, either walking boots or army style   gore tex boots.  If it’s wet take wellies.
  • Toiletries: Soap, toothbrush, tooth paste, deodorant and a small towel
  • Changes of clothes: socks and underwear.  I highly recommend walking trousers like these, especially the ones you can zip off part of the leg to convert to shorts.  Wicking T shirts are great as a base layer.  Take a nice warm pullover or hoodie for the evenings.  Don’t go over the top, its a festival not a fashion parade. T-shirts are the order of the day.  Do not take jeans.  If they get wet you will never get them dry!
  • Medication: inhalers, tablets etc as required, paracetamol and something like imodiem can be useful
  • Condoms: you too ladies!  You might get lucky and if not they make great balloons.
  • Matches or Lighter
  • Food And Drink: remember you have to carry it and at larger festivals it can be a very long walk from the car to the campsite.  As an example at Reading last year I had to walk 25 – 30 minutes from the camper van field to the arena!!
  • A Rucksack: Do not be that moron trying to pull your wheeled suitcase through 6 inch deep mud!

Some Top Tips

  • Do not camp right next to the toilets!  They may smell OK when you arrive.  They will be absolutely rank by the time you leave.
  • Do not camp at the bottom of a hill, guess what happens when it rains!
  • If you arrive in a group pitch your tents facing each other around a Small circle.  this will allow you to chat to your friends and provide shelter if you are cooking.  If you leave too much space at a large festival someone will pitch their tent in your circle!
  • Remember at all gatherings of large numbers of people there will be thieves.  Don’t take anything valuable with you and take care of what you do take
  • Make friends with your neighbours
  • Sleep with your cash and mobile phone at the bottom of your sleeping bag
  • Do not padlock your tent, this just advertises that there might be something worth stealing inside, and tents are very easily slashed.
  • do not leave anything valuable in your tent
  • Many festivals these days are very child friendly, the kids can have a great time too but do make sure before you go
  • Hearing protection is essential, especially for children or if you are near the front
  • If you don’t want to get trampled on in a wild mosh pit try to get your back to a safety barrier

My final and most essential tip

I am a committed festival goer, I enjoy every aspect of festivals but please ensure you take an open mind and leave your preconceptions at the gate.  However do not leave your common sense at the gate!

Have fun at whichever festival you choose and hopefully I will see you in a field somewhere over the summer.

If you have any additional tips then please leave them in a comment below.

Glastonbury 2015

Well whoever would have thought it!

A couple of weeks ago I decided to register for tickets for Glastonbury Festival of contemporary performing arts or Glasto as it is more informally known.  This will be a first for me.  If I am totally honest, I registered believing that I would have no chance of getting a ticket.  It is a convoluted process, you have to register in advance with a passport type photograph and then enter the annual web based scramble for tickets when they go on sale.  In an effort to prevent ticket touts and scalpers each ticket carries the photograph of the buyer and cannot (theoretically at least) be used by anyone else.  I do applaud this initiative though I don’t know how effective it is in real life.

glasto2Tickets for 15k people who wanted to buy a joint entry and coach ticket went on sale on Wednesday this week and sold out in 10 minutes.  The remainder of the tickets 135K of them went on sale at 9am this morning and by 9.26 am they were all sold.  It seems that over 1 million people registered for tickets.

I logged onto my computer and sat poised just before 9am and despite hitting the ticket buy link 1 second after 9am I spent the next 20 minutes refreshing my browser to try to get past the holding page and into the booking system.  Even at this stage I didn’t really believe I would get tickets, suddenly as I hit refresh I entered the system and within about 30 seconds my card details were accepted and I had my confirmation that I had bought two tickets.  I am amazed that I struck lucky on my first ever attempt, I have seen messages from people saying they had been trying for 5 years or more without luck.

glasto4My son almost passed out when he crawled out of bed later and I told him that tickets had sold out so quickly and I had got some for us.  His face lit up, he dropped everything and came over to give me a huge hug.  That alone made the effort worthwhile.

Now I have to say that Glastonbury has never really appealed to me in the past.  Horror stories about the toilets, the crowds and the scramble to secure tickets has always put me off.  I had also attended Reading Festival this year and hated it.  Lots of people have told me that the vibe at Glastonbury is much more laid back despite its size and with so many stages and fields the music will be much more to my taste.  The age profile of those attending is also older than Reading where 95% of those attending were under 21.Glasto 3

I also think that, as a committed festival goer, you should experience Glastonbury at least once in your lifetime.  I am delighted to have the opportunity of experiencing Glastonbury for myself and I am  now really looking forward to attending for the first time.  It may be the only time I go but I am going to make the most of it and am determined to have a great time.  It is unlikely to replace my favourite small festivals in my affections, but it will be one more thing ticked off my bucket list 🙂

Something Else In The Dean – Review

In this life we spend so much time with people who know the price of everything but the value of nothing.  In these days when 3 days at a music festival can cost upwards of £200 can the reverse be true?

Something Else In the Dean is a small grassroots ‘Under the Radar’ music festival, held for the third time, at Elton Maize Mazes in the beautiful Forest of Dean .  The festival has grown out of the Something-Else Tea Tent which makes an appearance at festivals up and down the UK.

The Tea Tent is owned and operated by Gail (Something Else)  and her team.  It offers quality Tea, Coffee and Cake as well as a place to chill out.  Just as importantly Gail offers breaking musicians a stage at festivals, a great opportunity to gain exposure to new audiences.  What started out as an end of season party for her crew has now grown into a a fully fledged small festival with a difference.SEITD_Sat0029_wm

The festival takes place on a stunning site at Elton Mazes on level farmland near Newnham in Gloucestershire.  The festival is Eco-friendly, the stages solar powered and is limited to 500 revellers.  For those who attend it is a great way to have an end of season party.  It is also probably the most laid back and friendly I have ever attended.

Costing just £40 for three days of music (inclusive of camping) it is also the most incredible value for money.  You can even take your own beer onto the site but with a huge range of beers and ciders available from the bar at just £3 a pint many people don’t bother.  Food on site is also great value.  I was really looking forward to the weekend as was meeting up with others I had met over the course of the festival season and it was shaping up to be something of a ‘boys weekend’.  SEITD_Sat0016_wm

I took a slow drive up to the site from Dorset and arrived at about 2pm.  After setting up my van and having a chat with the neighbours I took a wander down to the site, exchanged ticket for armband and then spent a couple of hours chilling out whilst waiting for the weekends drinking buddies to arrive.  I even managed to leave enough space for one of my buddies to park his caravan next to my van.  This was great because my pal and I shared breakfast cooking duties for our little group and we were even able to sit under the awning for a late night rum before bed.  Unbelievably, despite it being the last weekend in September, the weather was gorgeous.

On site for the music you are really blessed.  The main stage (in the tea tent) is all of 30 seconds walk from the second stage.  The bands alternate between stages and once the party starts there is never more than a minute or two between acts.  You might just have time to grab a bite to eat from one of the stalls or a beer from the bar if you are really really quick.  On Saturday & Sunday there is even a 3rd Mini Stage inside the maze!  This is largely for acoustic acts and almost unbelievably it sits between two heavily laden pear trees 🙂  It is also striking that the site had no high fences or visible security guards.  Sadly there were a couple of thefts on-site but I really hope this doesn’t lead to increased security in future years.

You might think that at a cost of just £40 the quality of the acts wouldn’t be up to much.  How wrong you would be!  Admittedly the majority of acts are unsigned musicians who release their music independently, by crowd funding and so on.  Make no mistake though the line-up for the whole weekend was superb.  I did see a couple of acts that I didn’t care for much but the vast majority were excellent.SEITD_Sun0012_wm

Friday nights highlights for me were the inimitable Gaz Brookfield and longtime favourites Leatherat. Brookfield’s songs about love and life are always crowd pleasers.  He has an incredible stage presence and I am sure he must have enjoyed the sound of the entire crowd singing every word of every song back to him.  If you don’t yet know his music I urge you to check him out.  Leatherat are regulars on the UK festival scene and have no less than 5 studio albums under their belt.  Their brand of high octane folk-rock is sure to have you on your feet. I also really enjoyed the folk-rock-punk band the Leylines.  This 5 piece were new to me but I will be keeping a close eye out for them in future.  I also liked the Ska influenced Punk of AOS3.  A superb evenings entertainment.

Saturday’s line-up was top quality too.  I loved Skraelings, Muddy Summers & The Dirty field whores,  New Groove Formation, One Eyed God, Skewhiff, Tarantism & Back to the Planet were all excellent. The vibe over the whole day was fantastic.SEITD_Sun0002_wm

The quality continued throughout Sunday.  You have to give a shoutout to Ned the kids Dylan.  The confidence this young man shows is absolutely remarkable for one so young.  He performs his own songs on acoustic guitar and on this occasion he was joined on stage by Les ‘fruit bat’ Carter (Carter USM) for a full band performance.  This saw him jump the barriers and head off into the crowd for some audience participation.  Speaking of Les Carter, he appeared with his new band Abdoujaparov.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect and wasn’t sure I would like it as I confess I just never ‘got’ Carter USM.  This band has a much more ‘Punk’ feel that Carter and was therefore much more to my taste. I must say I loved them.  I also caught a brilliant set from Lukas Drinkwater (3 daft Monkeys).  I was looking forward to Firepit Collective, Doozer McDooze and Funke and the two tone baby but sadly too much sun and too much cider had me scuttling off for an early night.  What a lightweight.  It would seem that it rained shortly after I went to bed but I was oblivious 😉SEITD_Sun0017_wm

I was really sad to leave this festival.  Time spent in a superb atmosphere with great mates, great music and a great vibe really is a priceless commodity in a world where the music industry is dominated by formulaic dross.  This little festival is a true gem, so much so that just one day after it ended next years event is almost sold out.

It would seem that those attending recognise the value that Gail and her team provide is second to none and that real value doesn’t necessarily have a high price!

Daily Prompt – Soulful Machines

Sometimes our machines or gadgets seem to take on a personality

This is certainly the case with my Camper Van.  She even has a name!  Under no circumstances must she be referred to as ‘the Van’ or as ‘the camper van’.  She is called daisy!

She carries us around our music festivals, in fact I just finished cleaning and loading her for a little festival that we are off to tonight.  Its a small local Acoustic Music festival and just a few miles down the road from home.  Superb.

Daisy is getting on in years but is sound and reliable, she may not have all the bells and whistles of modern Camper vans, but to us she is beautiful & reliable and we love her.  We thought about replacing her with a newer model this year, attracted by younger sleeker models.  Its all just dressing though, when you have one you trust, who never lets you down and who suits you perfectly try to remember that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.  Be happy with what you have.

I wouldn’t swap Daisy for the world.

Beautiful Days Festival – August 2014 Day 1

Beautiful Days, established by the alt folk rock band The Levellers has been running for 12 years at Escot Park in Devon. The weekend before the August Bank Holiday weekend each year around 15,000 revellers take the trip to Devon to gather together for a 3 day celebration of folk, punk, ska, reggae and roots music.

Of all the festivals on the UK scene each summer, Beautiful Days is my favourite. It is quirky, laid back, family friendly, a little under the radar and on the fringes. The same can be said of those who attend. It is unquestionably the people who make the festival what it is.10499478_1481433045439264_3935823943694190632_o

Over the years the festival has won a host of awards alongside its host of fans. It sells out each year despite not advertising or having any sponsorship. News of the festival has spread largely by word of mouth but is the awards it wins that has made it increasingly popular and is slowly changing the profile of the festival. In recent years there has been an increase in the numbers of young adults and middle class families attending and this is bringing the festival more into the mainstream. It can only be hoped that this doesn’t eventually make the festival a victim of its own success.     

Escot park lies just off the A30 between Honiton and Exeter, access is fairly easy but it is approached through narrow country lanes, so queues can and do form at peak times. Our arrival was a breeze and we were soon set up on flat ground close to both toilets and showers. It says much about Beautiful Days that we chose this festival to allow my son and his friend to take a tent to one of the general camping areas and 1492121_908291749185201_7122772314380182950_ocamp away from us for the first time at a festival. We knew they would be safe, that they would be looked after by other campers. It was great to let them have some freedom whilst we had peace of mind at the same time.

The Thursday of the festival doesn’t officially have any music but the bars and food outlets are open. This year the evenings proceedings were to be a bit of a treat. Firstly we found our way to meet up with friends Addie and Jane Burns whom I had met at Bearded Theory earlier this year. Addie had cooked a curry for a group of us and we all met for food and a few beers. Superb!! Afterwards we made our way to Dirty Davy’s bar on the festival site.

12506_10203577877141738_3322075200996879744_nOn facebook there is a very active Beautiful Days chat group with over 200 members. As a result of an ‘in joke’ on the group we had decided to wear fezzes (tommy Cooper style) to the Thursday evening gathering. As we arrived we were greeted by the sight of hundreds of people wearing their fezzes. The effort that people had put into customising and decorating their fezzes was incredible.

As the evening progressed the atmosphere was fantastic as we all met up with friends both new and old. The conviviality was fuelled to a degree by Otter Breweries Beer and Cider which was priced at only £3.50 a pint. I took a shine to the elderflower cider, it went down very easily and at 7.5% alcohol certainly got the party going. During the evening we were treated to a ‘surprise’ busking set by the wonderful “Barsteward Sons of Val Doonican”. If you have not seen these guys you really need to check them out. They are fantastic festival fare.

At around 11.30 we decided to call it a night and so ended the first day of what was to prove an amazing weekend.

Reading Festival – August 2014

In November last year I attended a Naval reunion.  I had a great weekend with old shipmates from HMS London, a County Class Destroyer I served on in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.  During that weekend I got to talking about music festivals with an old shipmate.  He recommended attending Reading saying that it was the best festival around.  Acting on his recommendation I duly bought tickets, quite a gamble considering that tickets for myself and my son and a camper van ticket came in at the princely sum of £520.  So did the outlay prove a wise investment?  Well, dear reader, you will soon know if you choose to continue reading.85108

Although the festival didn’t begin until Friday afternoon early access tickets allowed us to arrive on Wednesday evening.  I thought this would help us to avoid the crowds on arrival.  The route into the festival was well marked out and whilst the recommend route caused long delays through some small villages access to the festival site self was easy.  I was surprised on arrival to find that there were only about a dozen vans in the field.  After set up Ryan and I went for a walk to work out where everything was.  That walk gave me the first inkling of what was to come.  The white campsite was easily the size of the main camping field at Beautiful Days, the festival I had attended the week before.  Even at that time the campsite appeared crowded, and this was just people who had bought ‘early bird’ tickets.  I later found that 20K early bird tickets had been sold.  This is more than the total number who attend the majority of the festivals I attend.  I was also surprised to find out that it took over 20 minutes to walk to the arena entrance from the camper van field.  This gives an indication as to the size of the site, but at least it meant I was unlikely to be disturbed by late night noise from the arena.  On the walk back to the van we decided to grab a burger.  Ouch, two burger, one portion of fries and one beer almost £20, it seemed an expensive weekend was in store.  especially given that, unlike most festivals I attend, Reading Festival does not allow you to take drinks into the arena, sealed bottles of water up to 500ml are allowed, everything else is confiscated, even sealed soft drinks.  This was especially galling as everyone in the arena was charging £2.50 for a 500ml bottle of water or soft drinks.  Food stalls in the arena were charging up to £10 for a plate of food, some of the very same stalls had charged just £7 a plate at Beautiful Days the previous week.  Whilst I am sure some of the difference can be explained by higher charges for pitches by the festival it does smack of profiteering.

The filth left on site after the festival

The filth left on site after the festival

Thursday was spent relaxing and wandering around the site.  It was amazing to see the numbers of people pouring onto the site, by the end of the day the campsites were simply a sea of canvas.  Every tent seemed to be touching at least 3 others.  If this had been a UN refugee site it would unquestionably have been closed down and yet it would seem that it is perfectly acceptable to charge people over £200 a head for the privilege of camping there.  As the weekend wore on the site became a disgusting filthy slum with people just dropping their litter to the ground, even when bins were available just a few feet away.  The filth had to be seen to be believed, it was horrific.  To be fair this was entirely the fault of the revellers.  The organisers did everything in their power to encourage people to keep the site clean, bins were plentiful, rubbish bags were freely available and there were even free soft drinks on offer if you took a bag of cans and bottles to one of the many recycling points.  One thing that really concerned me was that the festival allowed open fires in the campsite, even selling wood etc.  Given the overcrowding and the proximity of tents to one another this in my opinion is a recipe for disaster.

When Friday arrived we made our way over to the arena to find huge queues to get in.  This was caused mainly by the security staff carrying out searches to ensure that no drink or other contraband entered the festival arena.  This was a dismal failure as I saw numerous cans, bottles and even flares being used on the site.  It took us some 30 minutes to get onto the site.  When we got onto the site we made our way to the the NME tent to see Gerard Way (once of My Chemical Romance).  This tent has to be seen to be believed, it has a capacity of 20,000 (no that is not a typo) and there were probably more than that squeezed into it.  The sheer size of it was mind boggling.  I was in a tent and yet I could barely see the stage!  93_apiEven watching on the huge screens placed either side of the stage was a challenge.  I stand 6’1″ in my bare feet yet I rarely caught a glimpse of the screens because teenagers seem to think that climbing on each others shoulders and “crowd surfing” is the way to enjoy a show.  I lost count of the number of times I got kicked in the head, by a drunken teenager being passed over my head, over the course of the weekend.

I did find a ‘haven’ in the shape of the ‘Pit/Lock up’ & the ‘festival republic’ stages.  These were much smaller stages, again in tents and with much smaller capacities, perhaps 2K & 5K respectively.  These played host to less well known acts though some of the artists were clearly better known than the organisers anticipated.  Over the course of Friday afternoon I saw excellent performances from Hudson Taylor, Dave Hause, Misty Miller and others in these two tents.  By early evening I was exhausted and decided to make my way back to the Van for a rest whilst Ryan checked out some of the main stage bands.  I intended meeting up with him later but I just didn’t feel the urge to go out again, a new experience for me at a festival.

reading_festival_2014606_api_myhjSaturday saw the ‘Pit’ stage play host to a succession of hardcore ‘Metal’ bands.  Neither Ryan or I enjoyed these but we didenjoy ‘Imagine Dragons’ and the ‘Hives’ on the main stage before wandering around some of the smaller stages.  We managed to find a decent spot close to the second of three sets of barriers that break up the crowd at the main stage.  The barriers are designed to prevent crowd surges and were moderately successful in doing so.  Unfortunately they did little to prevent either crowd surfing or ‘mosh pits’, both of these dangerous activities were constant and I found it all very wearing.  I must also confess that the vast majority of the music I heard on saturday was not to my taste so after Ryan and I had some food I surrendered to boredom and returned to the Van.  Ryan had met some people his own age and stayed to listen to the Days headliners “Arctic Monkeys’.  He informed me that they were excellent.reading_festival_2014948_api_myhj

Sunday morning saw a lot of people packing up their cars either to leave  early or to leave later in the day in an effort to escape the rush to get off the site on Monday morning.  It did seem that the arena was a little less busy.  I again spent most of the day at the ‘Lock-up’ and festival republic stages.  The lock-up played host to a succession of punk bands.  Over the course of the day I saw, A Wilhelm Scream, Baby Godzilla, Every time I die, Masked intruder, Letlive, Mongol Horde, Neck Deep, Gorgol Bordello & the flat-liners.  I enjoyed all of them but Gorgol Bordello were, for me, the best band of the weekend by some distance.  My trips away from the two small stages were infrequent on Sunday.  I saw some of Papa Roach and A Day to Remember on the main stage during the afternoon but both Ryan and I hated both of them so quickly returned to the lock -Up. During the evening I went to watch the Kooks, someone I had been looking forward to all weekend, in the NME stage.  This was to prove the biggest disappointment of the weekend.  The huge tent was overcrowded, crowd surfing, pushing, crowd surges, kids on each others shoulders and a group of young people (boys) who screamed their way through every song meant that I spent an hour fearing for the people around me.  I picked up several girls who were knocked over in crowd surges.  At the end of the set I honestly couldn’t tell you a single song the band played.  I had intended to stay on to watch ‘the horrors’ but could not face a repeat performance.  In the end I returned to the lock up to watch the punk bands.  Things were a little ‘hairy’ at times here too as the crowd built up towards the end of the festival.  I did take a little time out to check out ‘Macklemore’ on the main stage.reading_festival_2014932_api_myhj  I watched about 30 minutes of his set and I can’t even begin to describe how hideous I found it.  In my opinion the worst crap of the weekend though judging by the huge crowd at the stage many man people disagreed with me.  I also watched around half of Blink 182’s set.  They were very good indeed though the sound wasn’t great towards the back of the field.  Ryan enjoyed their set from close to the front and said they were amazing.

I awoke early on Monday morning and dragged poor Ryan from his bed at around 0730.  We were packed and on our way by 0800 by which time the tailbacks from the car parks were already beginning to form.  It was raining heavily as we left and I dread to think what it must have been like to get off the site as the day wore on.  Thankfully our exit was pretty painless, and that my friends was the highlight of my weekend!

I have NEVER been so glad to leave a festival.  I hated virtually every minute of this truly awful festival.  It is overcrowded, dirty, expensive and dangerous.  The vast majority of the music was not to my taste, I had absolutely nothing in common with 99.5% of those attending.  The vast majority of those attending are under 25, and to be fair most are well behaved b2014_Paramore_Reading_WO_220814_01ut the behaviour of some left a lot to be desired.  

I would not attend this festival again if they paid me to go.  This was without doubt the worst festival experience I have ever had.  I truly hope that my son will avoid it when he starts to attend festivals on his own in less than 2 years.  I would be awake and worried sick for the entire time he was away.

For me it was a one off never to be repeated experience.

 

 

 The photographs in this post are not mine, they are from Reading Festivals website.  If you are the image owner and would like them removed then please let me know.

Glastonbury – Looks like it might be wet!!

Well here I am stuck between festivals.  How depressing 😦 .

I don’t join the annual scramble for tickets to Glastonbury festival.  I know that those who attend this most famous of festival absolutely love it and there is no denying that it has become as much a part of british summer life, as Royal Ascot, Wimbledon, cricket and the Henley Regatta.  I prefer my festivals much smaller and more accessible.  It is the sheer number of people who attend that puts me off.  Of course along with the numbers goes the rain.  When you have 200k people gathered together in a fairly small space it doesn’t take much rain to turn the site into a quagmire and we have all seen the pictures of the mud at Glastonbury.  ImageImageImageImage

UK festival goers are a hardy lot and it takes a lot to put them off.  The music, the atmosphere and the vibe is what keeps us going to festivals year after year come rain or shine.  Glastonbury seems to attract more than its fair share of rain and I am sure that as recently as last week ticket holders were breathing a sigh of relief as the weather was set fair and forecasters were saying that it looked like a dry Glastonbury.  Unfortunately today the forecast is saying that there will be rain coming in on Thursday and Friday looks like being a very wet one.

I shall put my feet up at home and catch some of the BBC’s coverage over the weekend.  I wish everyone attending a great festival and I will keep my fingers crossed that the rain passes you by.  Have a great weekend in any event.  Have fun, take care and stay safe