I have a hat! Not because I like hats. No, I have a funny shaped head, and hats do not sit well on my dome. I have a hat because music festival season is once again in full swing. And the reason for this choice of attire? When one of my friends sees the pictures of the weekend, they won’t say “Why are you in a field?” Instead they will see the hat and say “Hey, you’re in a hat! “That’s a festival hat!” What festival is this?”
The simple point that I am failing to make is that we all do something out of character when it comes to the musical festival. For most people in this century it’s the act of camping itself. Most people hate it, living a life of comfort, spending a weekend outside with other living things is not an appealing way to spend any free time. They soon realise the ground is not soft, it’s made of dirt., and that dirt is very dirty. Once a girl ask me if there was anywhere to plug in her hair straighteners? Maybe she thought it was electricity that came from trees,instead of oxygen. It’s all science at the end of the day.
The weather of this fair Isle is not most predictable but making the assumption that it will rain at some point is the safest bet. So even the most greenest of festival goer, will know to bring some form of water proof clothing. But because of our perpetual tepid climate, no-one has the skills to deal with the Sun, went it does confirm it’s existence. I’ve seen people freak out at the scary yellow orb in the sky, demanding that we all pray to it, or sacrifice a virgin to appease it! The only time we buy sun cream is in preparation for a holiday, but the thought that we would need sun protection in Draperstown is laughable to us. I can now speak with some authority here, because with the poor summers for the last 6 years and no holidays abroad I managed to get sunburn from clouds. Cloud burn. It was not a sunny day (as anyone at Glasgowbury could tell you) but because I am translucent skin, I got burnt when it was overcast from just being outside. At first, when I woke up I thought, why is my hangover in my face and arms? Then I looked at them and saw the stinging redness. Was this a practical joke from my friends twisted imagination? It wasn’t, it was just that my pathetic skin can no longer protect me from light. As I left the tent bemused, I could also see the bemusement in my fellow campers faces. “What festival were you at?”
By the end of your tenure you begin to hate the human race. You question your own and everyone else’s existence. I realised that my entire gender is nothing but a sex pest. A sex mosquito if you will. We can not even blame the alcohol on this because it begins as soon as we see the young ladies arrive. A mad scramble is made to help put up their tents, only because of a promise that we may get some equivalent exchange, for example if I put up your tent, it is only fair for her to let me see her boobies.
But as we think of how we only ate two (very overpriced) burgers the entire weekend, surviving on 4 hour sleeps, because the guys who pitched their tents beside me were “pied” the entire time and refused to sleep. Telling each other the same joke over and over again, because the one brain cell they have left is beginning to short circuit. We return home, the grumpiest we have ever been, waiting to be embraced by our loved ones like a returning solider from Afghanistan in our muddy camouflage water proofs and sun burnt faces. We brace them for the horrors of the haunted port a- loo, (Think of the elevators in The Shining, then remove the flow of blood and replace with human waste) and the weird cow in the next field that would not stop staring at me. That cow definitely knows something. We tell ourselves, no more. I am too old for this. The recovery is too long to be worth doing this all over again.
As we get some needed sleep and the pictures start to arrive on Facebook, the smiles come back to our faces. We remember that we have the best friends that anyone could ask for, and that band that we thought we just “liked”, were absolutely amazing live. We remember that even though we do not dance in night clubs, we completely lost it to that one song, in a field in front of hundreds or thousands of people. We remember the reason we actually choose to go to the festival in the first place. The music! We pour scorn on those of us who are ignorant, and who brag that they didn’t see a single band, like the idiot who is proud to say that they don’t read books. We realise that sharing that feeling with as many people as you can is something that few experiences can compare to . Yes the joy from music may be fleeting but it is worth all the muck, rain, wind, sun and disturbing looking farm animals, to feel even for just a short time and with as many people as we can, that joy. So are music festivals for masochists? Hey, where there is no pain, there’s no gain!