If you could go back in history and experience any event, what would it be? For me, the answer is easy. Woodstock, 1969. I love everything about Woodstock. The bands that played, the sense of community, the crazy hippies, the photos, peace and love, etc, etc. It’s just one of those things that makes me think “MAN, I wish I could have been there.”
So when the opportunity arose for me to go to a 3 day music festival this summer, I jumped at the chance. Surely this was a chance for me to grab some semblance of a Woodstock-esque experience???
Well, T in the Park turned out to be far, FAR from what I imagined, and even though it was severely lacking the whole peace and love aspect I was so desperately hoping for, it was absolutely amazing. Music festivals do require some serious survival skills, so in this blog post, I hope to impart a little wisdom to those going to a festival at some point in there lives.
So here it is: How I Survived my First Music Festival (And how you can too!)
- Take a crowded, loud bus with other revelers to the location of the festival. Try not to scream/suffocate when the group of rowdy boys in the back start smoking cigarettes like this is the first time they’ve ever been anywhere without their parents and need everyone in the vicinity to know just how incredibly cool and rebellious they are
- Arrive at the massive field where the festival is being held. Ignore the fact that you have to pee while you wait in line for the better part of 4 hours before you can actually get into the camp grounds
- Drag your camping equipment and bags around 3 different camp sites before you find a tiny space you can pitch your tent, all the while wondering: “How the hell did these thousands of people get in before us to take up all this space, and where the hell are the thousands of people coming in after us going to camp?” (Don’t spend too much time mulling over this, it’s every man for himself)
- Begin to pitch your tent. Wait for the fatigue and frustration to set in and bicker with your best friend Erica the entire time you pitch your tent, and wish you had had Amy, who is coming tomorrow, explain how to set up the tent before you left her house
- Stand back and admire your lopsided handiwork. Apologize to Erica for being snippy, eat some terrible festival food, and crawl back into your tent, exhausted. Wonder vaguely if the people in the tents surrounding yours will judge you for falling asleep at 10pm, but you’re too tired to worry too much
- Wake up feeling almost refreshed, and wait for Amy to arrive with sustenance (her mom’s homemade sandwiches and as much cider as she can carry)
- After Amy arrives, the three of you begin to realize just how tiny the tent you brought was, and try not to imagine to discomfort of sleeping 3 to a tent that was clearly made for holding one (very short) person
- The music doesn’t start until 3pm, so now it’s time to day drink and make friends with the people in the tents surrounding yours. Don’t worry, people at music festivals are mostly friendly, and the fact that when people find out you and Erica are Canadian, they will want to hear your life story, laugh about your accent, and ask what the hell two Canadians are doing at a Scottish music festival
- Be eternally grateful to Amy’s mother for sending her with a cooler full of individually wrapped sandwiches, as well as the foresight to bring a family sized 24 pack of crisps. Festival food sucks and is overpriced. You’ll eat it anyways, but it sucks.
- Go see Ed Sheeran play and have all your dreams come true as you’ve managed to push your way to the front of the barriers and can see perfectly. Life is so good
- Until your body remembers you haven’t had any water all day and it’s 30 degrees. Faint, get yourself pulled over the barrier, and have a lovely chat with a very nice EMT as he brings you cup after cup of water. Feel slightly embarrassed, but think “Well they’ve probably seen worse. At least I’m not that 17 year old girl 3 feet away that looks like she’s OD’d on something, and ohh, yep, I think she’s having a seizure.” Creep out of the medical tent, because they clearly have more important things to deal with
- As you, Erica, and Amy sleep like sardines, wish you’d brought warmer socks and a better pillow
- Feel completely vindicated when it starts to rain, as Wellies are the only footwear you brought with you
- This vindication will vanish shortly, when you realized just how little fun it is when it’s raining and the only shelter you have is a (kind of) waterproof tent
- Today is the day you’ll realize the trick to the port-a-loos: only use them around 11am, which is right after they’ve been cleaned. Any other time, using a music festival port-a-loo will be perhaps one of the worst, most disgusting things you’ve ever seen. Luckily, Amy has a solution to this, and it is called a SheWee, which is a plastic device that allows girls to PEE ANYWHERE. Including into a bottle, without having to leave the comfort of your tent. And let me tell you, it might be the smartest invention ever. Pro-tip: Dodge the port-a-loos, pack a SheWee. Your life will be very much improved.
- Luckily, if the music is good enough, it’ll make up for the fact that it’s pouring rain, and when you see George Ezra, The 1975, and Paulo Nutini play you’ll have this great moment, where you get the hype of music festivals, and when the three of you dance around in the rain to the music you get that realization that this is a moment you’ll want to remember forever
- Then of course, you realize your tent leaks, but it’s okay, because there’s no one you’d rather be sleeping in a wet tent with
- The last day! It’s kind of sad actually, because by day 3 you’ve fully accepted the dirty-hair, peeing in bottles, day-drinking warm cider lifestyle that a music festival offers
- You’ve found the Healthy Food section of the park that they had really hidden away, so things end on a good note once you realize that you can have something else to eat today that isn’t overpriced chips or 2 day old cheese sandwiches (not knocking the sandwiches, Amy’s mother is a saint)
- Experience the inadvertent festival highlight, the Red Hot Chili Pipers, a Pipe Band that does amazing bagpipe covers, who kick start your intense love for anything played on a bagpipe. Seriously, bagpipes are amazing. Why don’t more people play them outside the UK??
- Squish your way to the front of the barriers while Jake Bugg plays
- End up one row back from the front, directly behind a group of very aggressive 15 year old girls, who are bracing themselves against the barriers like they think the crowd is going to rush them. It’s okay, you can see over their heads
- ARCTIC MONKEYS!!!!!!!!!!!! Amy cries, we scream, we headbang, we sing, it’s glorious
- The sun sets, the band finishes, fireworks go off, and Flower of Scotland is played on the bagpipes. You find yourself swelling with Scottish pride, and falling in love with the land of tartan and bagpipes. Scotland is awesome. Just awesome.
- You’re happy and loving life. You’ve survived your first music festival. Congratulations