So in my dayjob as a music journalist, I’ve been writing miles of copy about festivals – seeing bands, drinking cider from paper cups, having your tent blown away in a huge gust of piss, that sort of thing. And then it suddenly occurred to me that I really should have remembered to blag/buy a ticket to at least one this year. Fail.So here’s the thing: I’m not going to Glastonbury. Again. Or Lovebox. Or Beautiful Days. Or T In The Park. Or Latitude. I am sad. Some people, including my nearest and dearest, rejoice at this news as it means that I’m not going to try to get them to come with me. “Oh dear, does that mean we have to sit in a pub garden, eat in a restaurant and sleep in our own bed?” they ask with relief etched into every pore like a Banksy masterpiece. And I mean, I get it – why people don’t want to go to festivals. I’m a Virgoan mud-hating neat-freak who only normally lays her head on crisp Egyptian cotton sheets – and usually John Lewis at that. I tried to buy sheets from Matalan once that claimed to be from such hot climes but were a staggering half the price. It just wasn’t the same.
You see, I’m not one of those people who staggers round the country the whole summer, wristbands up to their armpits and crusted in bonhomie. I like to go to one festival, two at a push. Last year I made it to Wakestock, saw Calvin Harris, Groove Armada and Happy Mondays and danced in a tent clutching Merrydown cider while Jazzy B spun some tunes. I also ventured to Lovebox which had bars, pies and bands although sadly no stall selling love in a box – now that would have been good. What both of these festivals had in common though (besides the mud, cider and music) was that distinct festival vibe that makes my heart buzz and my faith in humanity soar. Yes, even the ones in tye-dye t-shirts. Festivals, it would appear, bring out my inner hippie and make me order food stuffs like hummus & falafel wraps. They’re other-worldly, even though the traffic’s just a mile off. At festivals, you leave your troubles at the turnstiles and escape. This year, there will be none of that.
I didn’t know it, but in my heart summer isn’t truly summer without a festival thrown in – even if it involves a river of mud. Summer isn’t summer until I’ve drunk cider from a paper cup. Summer isn’t summer until escape is on the menu.