Festivals are great right? The road trips down the M4 with your best mates crammed into a VW Polo. You begin to detest each other before you even hit the camp site. It takes hours of trudging through muddy wasteland to find a spot for your tent only then realising that half the essentials are left in your Mum’s attic. Festivals are great. Standing for ages in a field having a hippie doing his druggy crab-dance in front of you, before any band has actually made it on the stage. The lovely refreshing feel of warm piss tricking down your spine, after yet another pint of the golden nectar flies by your face. Festivals are great. The lack of any signal, the price of a burger and chips and when the band you travelled so far to see and paid a fortune for decide to only play for half an hour and turn up an hour late. Festivals are simply great.
The HTF staff have got together and with a heavy heart, have decided to share some of their worst festival experiences, so that you the reader can learn from their mistakes. Have fun laughing at our misery.
The last time I had to actually camp was 2008’s Secret Garden Party. I had a last-minute review gig so unfortunately didn’t have time to book a local b&b which I have learnt is the only way to have a fun festival experience. The delight of having hot running water, electricity and a bed is so worth it. I highly suggest you do the same. Anyway, I purchased a £20 tent from Asda on route up to Cambridgeshire and drove for miles and miles through the best countryside England has to offer. I reached the field where I was to live for three days plopped my canvas house onto the grass and then realised that Asda decided to save money by not including a piece of paper on how to erect a tent. That’s Asda Price!
After some struggle, and a bored girlfriend supervising, I managed to erect our first ever shared accommodation. A downstairs only living space with no mod-cons. I had gained many man points and walked proudly into the festival. It was only once I returned back home, that I remembered why I no longer camp. The sound of bongos that continue into 4:31 am is a treat. You have to literally drink cheap cider until you knock yourself out to get any sleep. In the morning the tent is dripping from our combined body heat: new species have seemingly been born in our new eco-system. When escaping the shed tent into the cruel summer sunshine, there was a half hour trip to the local Tesco to have a wash in the toilets and a cheap fry-up. There is no dignity for a man washing his balls in a Tesco toilet people. Why didn’t we shower in the campsite? Well have you ever been to a camp-site shower? No thank you!
Another camping delight I discovered was when trying to get romantic with your lady friend one night. The mood is generally broken by a man inches from your head calling out for his mate Dean a hundred times. This didn’t really do it for me, and thus ruined any romancing.
There is also the times when a random man tries to get inside your tent at 3:12 am and then apologies whilst I hold a tube of Pringles up to defend ourselves.
But the worst, worse part of camping all weekend is the constipation that at some point, like a time-bomb, will have to explode. But when and where are the two things that will haunt you all weekend. Being a man having a number one is literally a piece-of-piss, but the backside dilemmas are a cruel, cruel world that no one should have to face. My explosion happened about 1:13 pm on the Sunday. My tummy rumbled. The constipation had eased. A quick tour of the festival conveniences and I chose my destination. Little did I know what to expect, but on opening the cubicle I was met by a stench that is impossible to portray by the written word. Just end of days stink-time. As I gagged, trying to not breathe any of it in, I then noticed how filthy the seat was, but it was too late to leave, the motions were not to be reversed. I used my arms and legs like Spiderman and squatted about a foot above seat and my legs trembled as it all exploded beneath me, still without taking one single breath. Finally the orgasmic post-poo relief kicked in and on jumping back down to the ground found out to my horror that by Sunday afternoon at a festival, finding any bum-tickers is a likely as winning the lotto and not for the first time in my life I had to use my socks to clean myself up! It was a horror show.
I still refuse to camp to this day. It is the music I adore not the tent time mis-adventures. Remember always being wet wipes people. Always!
Back in my more hedonistic days where zero fucks were given, Reading 2009 took place and I triple bombed a batch of E’s with a pint of champagne. This led to the most unnecessary arousing sensations whilst on the boat going down the Thames, and talking about Dick Van Dyke’s moustache in glorified detail.
Later on I started eating the contents of a lone box of Cheerios that were left next to a pond, and was laughing hysterically at a guy dressed in all yellow. Then the gurning came, and I ended up chewing on a yellow toothbrush and cleaning my teeth with Strongbow for nine hours until my gums were bleeding, in a vain effort for ‘wanting to look as cool as Method Man’.
This all culminated in the subsequent green camp riots of Sunday night, where I got stuck in the middle, where police on horseback were present, explosions going off, rioting, looting, arson… and I was sitting cross-legged in the middle of all this with my iPod listening to ‘Adagio for Strings’. In a synchronized manner, everything started to seem like it was going in slow motion with the music (it didn’t help that I also took a tab of mescaline three hours before). I dodged many random missiles of glass, metal, and flaming toilet roll, but was inevitably conked on the head with a crowbar by mistake.
I got up out of this mess, and started screaming lyrics from Lady Sovereign songs, hoping everyone would join in. They didn’t.
The worst I can think of is getting to Glastonbury 2014 and my friend realising she’d left the tent poles for our tent at home. We had to buy a new one on site for £70 which all four of us barely fitted in & then after less than a day it flooded on my side so I had to jump in with a friend for four days in a tent that was already a squeeze. Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep that weekend.
To some people this would have been a dream but to me it was pure hell. It was 1999 and I went on an organised coach trip to Milton Keynes Bowl to Big Day Out. Had a great day watching some awesome bands such as Placebo, Marilyn Manson and Pitchshifter and then, just to fuck it all up, I had to sit through over 2 hours of fucking Metallica. I was cold, tired and sat on a muddy hill and just wanted them to shut the fuck up so I could get back on the coach and go home. Longest 2 hours of my life.
Jamie ‘Jay’ Hampshire
I didn’t do a number two for all six days I was at Download. When I hit a service station on the way home, it probably looked like the toilet from Trainspotting.
It’s 2013 and I’m the wonderful fields of Glastonbury consuming pints of ale while waiting for the music to start that Thursday night. With the weather being hit or miss, anywhere inside seemed the best option so we headed to the south-east of Glastonbury or it’s better known name, Shangri-La.
The rain lashed against my blue mac and I thought the best thing to do was to drink more ale so I couldn’t feel the cold – that’s just basic science. With that in mind I soon finished all of my ale and stumbled around with the mission of making it to Shangri-La. But instead I fell short of my objective and found myself inside Block 9 (The London Underground). The grotty club prevented the rain but the warmth made me feel tired so I decided to go lie on the stage and use a speaker as a pillow.
It didn’t take long before a so-called friend of mine found me asleep and tried to wake up. She told me to “drink some of this, you’ll feel better” while handing me a plastic bottle containing a dark liquid. I had full trust in this person until this point and almost saw her as a mother figure. I took 3 massive gulps with no hesitation. Stopped. The looked at her where she laughed knowing it was Jack Daniels & Coke. She then forced me to finish this litre bottle while still sitting on Block 9’s stage and before you knew it was gone.
I jumped up with a burst of new life and danced away to filthy drum ‘n’ bass in my horribly awkward drunken state. It wasn’t long before I started to feel a bit dizzy and needed to feel the fresh air on my pink face. I stumbled out. The air hit me. I crouched over when a tsunami of ale and Jack Daniels rushed out of my mouth. Thankfully before I feel to the ground the person who force-fed me the JD and coke caught me. Her guilty conscience ate away at her and thankfully she carried me half way across Glastonbury back to my tent.
Moral of the story, if someone offers you a bottle of Jack Daniels and Coke while you’re asleep on a stage don’t accept it because you will throw up and die.