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Festival Fever Second Time Around

Festival Fever Second Time Around

I’ll be honest; I misspent much of my youth at various festivals around the country, in an up all night, kipping drunkenly in your tent during the daytime if you were lucky, shivering with trench-foot if you weren’t, kind of way.

Those were the festivals you dreaded and longed for in equal measure. The funniest, nuttiest times with your mates, the bank of memories that despite the savage over-indulgence that went alongside it, seem indelibly stamped on my brain. I can remember the lines that made us laugh for six hours and they still seem funny now.

I can remember seeing Primal Scream in the rain, The Cure in a thunderstorm, Pulp at a blistering Glastonbury where everyone got sunburned.

This summer I’ve got my (very muddy) festival boots on again, 3 in the last week, 7 over the whole summer and not one camping experience in that whole time.

It’s very different turning up to festivals as a daytime visitor with kids in tow but, gotta say, I’ve loved every second of it.

I love arriving with nothing but a wristband and a pocket full of cash. I love sipping cider in front of the main stage, or watching my children shrieking from the top of the big wheel. I like the mix of people you meet - crusties, middle class parents, even the vomiting teens.  Yep, I'm a born again festival groupie.

It’s been interesting too seeing how completely different the festivals are – they may all be based in the West Country but each one had a unique identity.

Larmer Tree was just so civilised despite torrential rain, flooding and inches of mud, this is one place where I could possibly even face up to camping. The food is amazing, the crowds are peaceful, it's safe to let your children roam.

Camp Bestival is a brilliantly organised family fun-zone, kids kipping in trailers while their parents rocked out to Adam and the Ants and were briefly transported back to teenagedom again.

Boardmasters, admittedly brought me up sharp. I knew this one was for kids but not quite to what extent that would prove the case. Think hoardes of teenagers, swilling sweet pear cider and moshing to Dizzee Rascal. My children loved it, I just felt pretty old.

Then there was Beautiful Days which might sneakingly be my favourite of the summer. From the moment you arrive, you realise this one is going to be different. Every single person we met was friendly from the security to those working the bar. I loved the backstage bar decked out like a speakeasy club and (apparently) a mad party zone with DJs til 3 am. The whole festival is like a mini Glastonbury. I loved the madness that was totally unmanufactured but still unthreatening. A group of five male pirates pogoing in the mid-afternoon sun whilst sharing a flagon of rum.

And then there was Strummer of Love, a one-off boutique event to celebrate the amazing life of Joe Strummer which concluded with Mick Jones and friends performing songs from The Clash for an unforgettable, you should have been there, night.

Now it's just Bestival to go and we're dabbling with the idea of leaving the kids behind and camping for this weekend of notoriously hedonistic mayhem on the Isle of Wight. But, I think, deep down we both know that's just asking for trouble......


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