3 girls road tripping to a music festival in the remote English countryside … what could possibly go wrong?! Nothing. Yes, that’s right. Absolutely nothing. It surprised me too. With bull in a china shop over here with 2 of my like minded besties, Rosie and Maddie, we imagined something catching on fire, getting slashed or stolen. Nothing! Just one of the best weekends of my life …
I admit I was anxious. With an online festival guide kindly telling me I could **** Off if I was going to V and reading in a magazine that only ‘Dave from the IT Department’ would be there, I had my doubts. Rocking up in Brunton in my dungarees and converse (standard fesitval wear, naturally), Strongbow in hand, my fears were in vain.
We instantly befriended our neighbours over beer and burgers and talked long into the night. Our initial party of 7 multiplied to over 20 of us singing, shouting ‘Alan’ at any passer by possible, drinking Skittle Vodka and wine straight from the box. At 10am we were still there. Such a bonding experience!
Despite our tiredness, we headed to the main Arena where the V stage greeted us. Just 3 rows from the front we saw Feeder. Absolutely incredible. With their beautiful children dancing side stage and ‘Buck Rogers’ (player, player, player …) making the crowd go crazy they were definitely one of my highlights.
A sloppy pizza later Paloma Faith greeted us. I have never had more of a shock when someone opened their mouth! Underneath that sophisticated, lampshade (yes, she wore one), gorgeous exterior was a broad Cockney accent rivalling my Nancy days! Shock of my life! Whether she was drunk or happy I’m not too sure but she made us sing along, dance along and genuinely have an amazing time. ‘New York’ was my song of the set.
Shifting further and further forward we saw the beautiful Newton Faulkner. Knowing he was a school friend of one of my friends and that his actual name is Sam definitely worked in his favour. He just came across so kind and genuine, and talented, so so talented. Despite just him, his odd socks and his guitar, his set was captivating from his cover of ‘Teardrop’ to making us sing ‘Gone In The Morning’ like rabies infested pirates (yes, that actually happened) to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. So good!
An alcohol fuelled afternoon with our neighbours (think Jay’s double thumbed ‘Friend’, Inbetweeners, duh?!) later we scooted back to the Main Arena. It was so impressive by dark. A theme park with hundreds of food vans, shops, bars and tents with enough rubbish to feed a landfill. Dazzling lights and music with every kind of person under the sun. We saw Hen Parties, nakedness, pure lads, drunkenness and just general fun in all fashions, shapes and sizes. And everyone was so happy, so friendly. No bitchy angst, just a complete mish mash of people who were so happy and excited to be there.
Now I try and see the best in everything, I really do. Kings Of Leon. Such hype, such expectation … such a let down. Thousands and thousands of people crammed together, the atmosphere just buzzing. So disappointing. I hate to admit it but I was bored, I even resulted to vodka jelly for entertainment rather than watch a sweaty front man practically eat his microphone. Granted, some people loved it. Other than the beautiful drummer and ‘Sex On Fire’, the whole set was a complete dud for me. But I did get to dance on a wheely bin.
After a night much like the previous the rains came. The paths turned into rivers and the bikini mud fights were in full swing. A relaxed morning later Paolo Nutini awaited. Absolutely stunning. I love his Caribbean influence. Even the old stuff had the trumpets and the Gospel style backing singers. Beautiful!
Shuffling forward again, The Kooks were next. I’ve always listened to them, but couldn’t have told you what they looked like. I did not expect a Gordon Ramsay esque drummer and a 5 foot front man drunkenly running about the stage. So entertaining!
Then hell broke loose. In the 40 minute odd wait before Faithless, carnage, absolute carnage. The standard festival concept of bottling went absolutely wild. It was raining, pouring bottles, cups, clothing – anything people could get their hands on and lob. Liquids flew through the sky as we got well and truly concussed. I don’t even want to know what ended up in my ears and hair!
By the time Faithless began we were three girls surrounded by sweaty grown men. As the familiar keyboard tunes played, we had no hope as the well known circling began pre mosh pit. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty nervous as the windmilling and kicking began. 4 songs later we were ready to head off, but not without the most fun attempting to mosh I’ve had in a long time. I’m still feeling the injuries.
A quick stop at the God tent later we saw Imogen Heap. Despite her electrics and sound failing, she was extraordinary. She turned the audience into her music and sang her ‘Speeding Cars’ and ‘Hide And Seek’ with such feeling I thought she might cry. Such a beautiful and talented lady!
So that was it! After a water logged night we headed home on the four hour journey back to sunny Wokes, feeling rough and exhausted, but in no doubt of the incredible weekend we had had. I learnt how to put up a tent in the roaring winds, I learnt how to use a camping stove, I learnt how to use a She We (that’s another blog…), how to music festival and how to mosh. Never have I laughed and loved so much, and felt so full of life. I had one of the best weekends of my life with two of the best people in my world. And despite being concussed, having a near broken foot, sun burnt and hungover, I’d do it all again tomorrow. Amen.