Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Monday, August 29, 2005

what a weekend

After two nights in a freezing cold tent, portaloos, cold showers, rubbish everywhere, Carling beer cans, smelly unwashed minging hippies, Marylin Manson and Iron Maiden, I'm not quite sure that festivals are my thing. Nevertheless, I raised a whole 130 quid for Oxfam, so that's something to be cheerful about! Still, I went, did stewarding, and survived... and came home sunburnt (believe it or not). If anyone is thinking of stewarding at an event like this, I would seriously think twice, unless of course you are completely broke and are desperate to see some band or other. I did two shifts that involved nothing more than standing in the bitter cold. Trying to make conversation with the same person/people for eight hours is not an easy task (believe you me). The second shift on Tuesday was not so bad - I was at exit c (ha, like anyone knows where that is...) with two guys (Bob and James) who were really nice and we chatted quite a lot. Bob (I hope his real name was Robert, otherwise he has pretty cruel parents) was telling me how his new student house next year has a huge garden, so he is going to grow vegetables! Wow. I don't think there are many students who grow vegetables in their back garden! Actually, exit c was near the main stage, so although I was on a shift, I got to see Elbow and Graham Coxon play. The gate we had to "guard" (I don't really know how else to explain) was for emergency vehicles only, so nobody was allowed to enter or exit the arena through those gates. Anyhow, at one point there was a loud bang on the gate, so we asked the two guys wanting to get through for their ID. It turns out that they were from Kasabian! Wow! (I say wow, but I don't know their music at all, only that they're pretty famous.) And, later on, the bassist from Ladytron asked me where the loos were (or something). Had never heard of Ladytron, but people tell me they're good... So quite an exciting afternoon overall.

That evening I got to see The Coral and Queens of the Stone Age. Not that exciting really... Although I do like the Coral I guess. On Sunday afternoon Katharine said we should go and see Roots Manuva... Not my kind of music at all, but they sounded really good on the stage and in the end I decided they were quite likeable.

The last shift I worked was the most exciting of the lot (!) - checking wrist bands on the main gate. (By the way, after working at the festival, I'm never going to complain about being bored in the office again...) Sooo many people try to get through with fake wrist bands, and it's really great when you actually catch someone and they just stand there looking really guilty not knowing what to do or where to look whilst security come over. I felt a bit bad for them because I would resent paying 60 pounds or whatever for a day pass... I saw a bit of Kings of Leon during my break, but (yet again, shock horror) I don't know them at all. I feel like an old woman, so out of touch with music, but then again I don't care that much.

So, I don't know. It was an experience, but after a few days there (and even cheating by coming home to sleep on Saturday night) I really don't think festivals are my thing. Or, should I say festivals sponsored by Carling... It's all about money... (We weren't allowed to let the punters in with cans so that they would have to buy Carling once they got inside. But sometimes we turned a blind eye...) Evil Carling. I think maybe Glastonbury would have been a better festival to go to - not commercialised, better bands, nicer people. Although, most of the people were friendly enough, just very very drunk and very annoying. And there were even families there! (I would never take my children to a place like that...) But, I'm glad I went, despite the grimness of it all. And, what was really great, was that one guy (who, wasn't drunk!) came up to me and said that he was going to go right home and make a donation to Oxfam because he thought we were such great people doing a great job!! Lovely, lovely man!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being forced to drink Carling is probably the only way they are going to get people to drink the horrible stuff!

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Richard said...

Sounds like quite an experience. Can't believe that you aren't familiar with the Kings or the Queens or Mr Manuva or the mighty 'tron. (Have a KoL CD and the first Ladytron one, they are quite good, though the new CD's supposed to be loads better.)

Even at small gigs I get really narked with people who seem to have just shown up with the aim of drinking (and in the case of an SFA show, throwing their half-empties in the air) and standing right in front of me, when I've gone out and bought my ticket ages in advance and got all worked up with anticipation.

I'm well impressed that you've done this volunteering, and well done for breaking down the Carling conspiracy from within. Plus 130 quid is quite impressive. It's a shame about the commercialism (and since they bought the Mean Fiddler in to run Glastonbury I think it's going the same way (did you read about the Glas-Toe trenchfoot?)).

Anyhow, you're surely in New York, so hope you're having fun.

10:29 PM  

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