It’s recently been floated as an idea that some friends and I should go to a festival next year. I’m am for this in principle, but I’m not the kind of person who fits in well at a festival. I try. God do I try. But it’s only getting worse as I get older.
So here’s my top reasons my peak festival-going days may be behind me.
Many people consider drinking to be a fundamental part of the festival experience. But I’m not a massive drinker. Plus I’ve paid a lot of money to come and see music, I want to hear the bands play the songs, not be leaving every 4th track to pee in a giant plastic cube while standing in the urine of a thousand other men.
I’ve genuinely seen people falling down drunk at 10:00am, and one guy at a day festival apparently passed out around 14:00 and missed all the bands he went to see. If you want to pass out in a field listening to “also appearing” acts, go to a battle of the bands and save yourself a lot of money. They’re closer too.
2) Back pain
I’m just getting to the age where office life is starting to break me. Oh sure, talk all you want about regular breaks and ergonomics, but being sat in an office for 8 hours a day is always going to leave a lasting impression. Generally my arse on the seat.
So if you’re going to have me in a field clapping all day, with the occasional raising of my hands into the air to adequately demonstrate my apathy, this is going to add up to a sore back. And that’s the kind of shit that a weekly pilates class is powerless to prevent.
3) Logistics of being over-prepared
Some happy-go-lucky types just wander in with nothing but shirt on the back. Some don’t even manage that.
Sun cream? Check. Lots of bottled water to stay adequately hydrated in the summer sun? Check (at least 6, just to be safe). Waterproof rain jacket. Hoodie in case it gets chilly. Healthy snacks? Unhealthy snacks? Wet wipes? Hand sanitizer? Sun glasses? Phone, wallet, keys and other valuables?
I look less like a care-free festival-goer and more backpacker-who-just-saw-a-crowd-and-followed-it.
Festivals are like my heaven – it’s all pizza, burgers, burritos, noodles and other delicious food stands. Proper food stands. None of these hipster veg-infused bollocks. Processed meats, American Cheeses and saturated fats all the way. But when you get to the stage when pie and mash is the healthy option, and you’re choosing burgers because you can add fried onions, which totally count as one of your 5-a-day, something may be going wrong. Like most of my internal organs.
The older I get, the more aware I am that I should eat healthier. An indulgent day used to make me worry I’ll get fat eventually. Now it makes me know that I’ll get heartburn and probably wake up with a food hangover thanks to all the salt and MSG and crap.
Hygiene is a major concern. I’m not so worried that I’m going to smell. I can’t smell me, what do I care?
No, my concern is more that I’ll die of dysentery by eating without scouring my hands for twenty minutes first, or I’ll catch chlamydia from the toilets. Again.
In these situations hand sanitizer is your friend. Although the first festival I went to was on at the same time as an England football match. I went to order some food as everyone was walking towards the screens, put some hand sanitizer on while I waited. As the woman went to hand me my burger she paused, looked at me doing this, and simply said “I’m guessing you’re not going to the football, are you…?” How. Rude. I mean, I wasn’t, but still, assumption much?