At 26 years old I finally lost my music festival virginity at Bestival last weekend! I had been appropriately briefed prior to departure by the girls and was armed with a tent, sleeping bag, wellies, rain coat, dry shampoo, vodka, beer and lots and lots of baby wipes.
We arrived at the Robin Hill festival site on the Isle of Wight on Thursday evening. Suitably flushed and perspiring we hiked across the entire site in the sunshine cursing all the people who were backpackless and luggage free. Once the tents were set up however, we gladly joined the throngs wondering around and got ourselves a couple of well deserved pints of Gaymers, our staple beverage for the weekend.
We were unbelievably lucky with the weather and despite applying sun cream every morning we still all managed to get varying degrees of sunburn. I currently have three different strap marks on my back. Wondering through the festival site we had permanent food envy, I was constantly peering at what other people
were eating and wanted to try everything. I can’t remember the last time I indulged and ate so much, it was heaven. From cheesy chips with loads of ketchup in front of the main stage, a delicious paella with lashings of tabasco by the Big Top tent to a divine falafel and hummus wrap from the vegan and vegetarian stall and a lush wood fired pizza on the way back to the tent I was well fed for the weekend.
I also re discovered my love for cheese toasties, I’d forgotten how satisfyingly cheesy these delicacies were. They quickly became our nightly 3am snack on the way back to the tent along with a warm cup of chai tea, mmm. It helped warm us up a bit as it was bloody freezing at night, and somewhat eased the pain of sleeping on thin mats on the ground while serenaded by dodgy guitar playing and drunken warbling from the neighbouring tent.
But the main reason, food, sunshine, time off work and cider aside, that we
went to Bestival was obviously for the music. Stevie Wonder headlined on Sunday night and he was totally awesome. The hours leading up to it inflicted by a number of less musically appealing bands were instantly forgotten when he came on stage. The XX were also brilliant and I enthusiastically supported my fellow Irishmen, The Two Door Cinema Club.
From Hip Hop Karaoke, the roller disco in the Bollywood tent, DJ’s in the Big Top, headliners and support groups on the main stage and late night dancing at the silent disco, we got around the festival site. Come Monday morning we were shattered, dying for a shower, a real bed, a clean toilet – without a half hour queue and more often than not an unwelcome surprise at the end – and healthy food. The fresh fruit we picked up from the Farmers Market on our hike back to the bus hit the spot, we were all craving vitamins in a big way at that stage.
I’m not going to complain about the journey back as we had an easy ride compared to the queuing other people had to do. We even had time for a cup of tea and a scone with clotted cream and jam while waiting for the ferry, although we did feel like we were repelling the cafe’s customers a bit. But I have to say I’ve NEVER had a more amazing shower in my life than the one I had when I got home, and my hair, well that took some time and perseverance to de tangle. As for my bed, I’ve never really appreciated how soft and horizontal it is. Ah the small things we appreciate after four days of roughed up camping!
I say, bring on the next festival!