I had no idea that a music festival means 40,000+ people coming together to go camping in the middle of a national park.
I also didn’t know that a music festival means erecting multiple stages and tents in ajoining fields of a national park, putting on many many different bands playing different music continuously for 3 days+ straight!
The Main Stage is where the action is. The headliners this year were Elbow, Kraftwerk, Lily Allen, Massive Attack, and MGMT. (Don’t worry, I’ve only heard of Massive Attack only until a few months ago…)
Unfortunately, the Main Stage was idiotically set uphill and half the time you couldn’t see over the people in front of you. It certainly doesn’t help to have some girl sitting on top of someone’s shoulders in front of you…
We were all issued wrist bands on entry and that was basically our lifeline. We had to keep it on throughout the festival – or else. It was designed in such a way that you couldn’t take it off and put it back on again (and possibly, on someone else). (Although I did experiment with it once I got home and managed to do it using a pair of pliers…)
That precious bracelet, plus ferry tickets, cost me £161.95. Add in train tickets (£32) and return shared taxi fare (£7), plus spending money (£100 just enough to survive from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening)…this is not the cheapest thing to do!
Pay £8 on the grounds and you’ll get a programme booklet and this mini-program thing listing all the gigs that you can hang around your neck and check out what you want to see next.
Besides from the headliners and the crush of the Main Stage, there are all sorts of other music and venues around. The grounds was impressively big. Before I went, I thought I might get bored from being “stuck” in the same place doing the same thing for 3 days. But the size of it and the variety of things on offer meant I didn’t even want to waste my time reading the Saturday morning paper!
The Band Stand here sits up a hill near the entrance to the festival and everyone just chilled to small but impressively good bands.
At night, every tent/area has different DJs and gigs going on and this is one of them. You crawl through a make-shift tunnel sticky with spilt beer into a space-themed tent with random decor hanging off the tent top – toilet plungers, toilet rolls, and metallic kitchen sieves! I can’t explain it, but it all somehow seemed to work quite well with the outer space theme…
The Afterburner was set in a different field, with laser flashes and strobe lights, exploding flames and a rotating stage. The music and the crowd heaved well into the night.
The blue tent is the Big Top and it contains the second largest stage of the festival where bands play in the day and proper raves happen at night after the Main Stage has closed.
The Bollywood Bar…half empty in the day time, but you’ll really struggle to get in after dark.
The Rizla Arena – where all the cool kids go to dance on a raised platform, showing off your moves and gesturing down to all the losers who were queuing to get in. I was on the platform, and therefore I am cool. Except for the fact that I was stood right at the back behind everyone, so no one knew how cool I was.
But probably might as well, coz I can’t dance for the life of me!
Besides from music, there were loads of other stuff to keep you occupied and entertained. This is the comedy tent where stand-ups perform day and night. The festival was set up so that there is always something going on at each place and it is literally impossible to see them all!
And that four-post bed? There were loads of quirky things like that around and it was the essentric colours, decor and set-up that made it so much fun!
Time for Tease was a burlesque tent offering, besides from the obvious burlesque, saucy bingo games and performances with proper English afternoon tea and cakes. Both Nasty and I have never seen burlesque before so it was an eye-opener. It was all done in a saucy, dirty and comedic way and it was just cringingly hilarious.
Unfortunately for Nasty, they all wear tassles and nothing extreme was seen. Teases they were.
I had such a laugh I decided to go to their afternoon burlesque lesson. Had more of a laugh at my own expense, learnt the basic moves and a routine, and realise that I have little sense of grace and don’t know how to put a dirty look on my face without laughing. Hmmm, I guess that’s it for my porn-star aspirations.
But then porm involves no grace, does it?
This is in the area called Restival where the chill-out cafes, vegetarian food, hair salon, comfy toilets, and massages are, and where tai chi and yoga sessions are held. (Basically, what I call the hippie section of the festival.) This particular tent has a live music and cafe/food area and for £5, you can go into their sauna. Walk a few steps further and you’ll be able to peek into their enclosure to see hippies lying naked in the sun with their bits, um, dangling about.
More tents offering pampering sessions. Apparently, just like the burlesque afternoon tea sessions, some of these are in such high demand that they operate a booking system and some could be fully booked out as soon as the afternoon of the first day. One tent even told us that, for next year, we should start booking on their website BEFORE the festival even starts! WTF?!
Watching the Insect Circus. I have no clue what the heck that spaceman is doing there…