Let’s be clear. You didn’t come to a festival to get a descent night of sleep. Because you won’t going to. If you are lucky you will get 3 to 4 hours of semi sleep, just after the last crazy camper decides to call it a night and right before the sun rises and the tent turns into a sauna.
Now it is day and you are hot but it’s still early to start your day (no one is performing anyway so there is no point of getting up – festival logic). You try to squeeze some extra minutes of sleep while you are sweating like a pig and you can now clearly hear your neighbor putting on his deodorant. After a hell of an hour you emerge from your tent gasping for cold air. Your friends are already awake making fun of your laziness.
Now begins the struggle that is getting ready. You put your clothes on in the lying position inside your tent hoping that no one can actually see you changing underwear or using intimate tissues. You then head to the nearest tap to wash your face and teeth while the most experienced campers next to you bust out shampoo, soaps, towels and give themselves a proper bath. You are still wondering who the hell has time for that? You go back to the tent to apply some makeup that day by day has been reduced to the basics (you started with a full face on but it’s day three and only an eyeliner seems fine to you). Breakfast is more likely to be some stale chips and cookies from yesterday that your friend yells to you to eat out of the tent because the cramps will attract ants. CAMPING RULES.
After all these you are all now ready to move on to the festival site. Following the stream of people emerging from their tents and heading to the site you are carefully trying to avoid all the street food temptations since it’s too early to eat and you need to save money for drinks. Entering the festival you are confronted with the first band playing the main stage. You obviously don’t know them and couldn’t be bothered but it’s nice to have a soundtrack in your ‘morning’ aimless walk around the site. You make the necessary stop at the drink stall and then start wandering around the stupid sponsors’ stations where half drunk people make a fool out of themselves. You of course going to join them (this is how epic photos are taken) in order to win some crappy t-shirt or water gun. Two hours later you are dehydrated, sunburned, hungry and looking for shade to rest. Before you lay your tired body down to the grass someone who is actually checking the program screams that this Band is playing at this Stage and You need to go. You go. Music always makes things better. For the rest of the day you are running from tent to stage and back, splitting from your friends depending on the music interests of the group trying in between to find some valuable time to nap or lay ‘dead’ in the grass stuffing your mouth with crappy food and beer. Someone is playing somewhere, music through your ears but you have no strength to get up. You just wave and applause at the end of each song, whatever the band is.
As time draws to the headliner ‘s appearance and you have already spent hours jumping up and down watching favorite musicians you try to stay strong and not fall asleep then and there. You don’t want to end up being photo abused by drunk kids after all. You sum up all the energy left into you to queue in front of the pit barrier in order to get to there. That’s the reason you are here after all. That’s the reason you endure everything. For those 90 minutes of pure music magic when you and thousands of people stare at your stage gods and try to live the moment. It’s your moment of pure bliss when among all those new best friends you share kicks, punches, sweat, hugs and smelly farts in order to scream those damn lyrics and dance your heart out. This is it. All are justified now.
The rest of the night is a mix of late night beers sitting in the grass, random new happy acquaintances and maybe an after party until you retire to your tent trying to avoid thinking of the pain in your feet. If only those damn kids could keep it down.
My first festival experience: Rock Werchter 2013
Despite the uncomfortable experience that camping is, especially if you aren’t properly prepared, the music makes up for everything.
Bands watched: The National, Green Day, Sigur Ros, Block Party, Blur, Kings of Leon, C2C, Rammstein, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, James Blake, Stereophonics, Django Django, Disclosure, Editors, Depeche Mode, Thirty seconds to Mars, Alt-j, Bastille.
Awesomeness: Blur, Depeche Mode.
Best Show: Rammstein.
Pleasant surprise: C2C.
Disappointment: James Blake.