I had a great weekend, better than great in fact. A weekend filled with music, dancing, singing, laughter and no small amount of drinking! I have had this particular weekend before, for the last 6 years in fact, but this one stands out as being one of the best. What was this weekend? The Isle of Wight Festival, hated and beloved in equal parts by many.
Whenever I try to explain to someone who hasn’t had the festival experience what it’s all about I struggle, and they never really seem to understand. Maybe I’m bad at descriptions, or maybe it’s that the enormity and extremity of the event in many ways defies description. How do you make someone understand the thrill of walking through security on the Friday evening feeling the throb of the music in your chest, for your first sight of the crowds firstly on the grass at the back of the field and then as you get closer to the stage with their arms raised aloft in salute to the time of the music. You push your way as far forward as you can and join in with everybody else as they sing and dance and punch the air in time to the rhythm. The smell of dope mixes with the smells of the burger vans and noodle bars, cheap lager and gut rot wine and all is well with the world.
And then there are the outfits – the more outrageous the better – smurfs, geisha girls, men dressed up in wedding dresses, dressed as babies, pigs – people in hats (the more extreme the better ), wigs, mad sunglasses, wellies and all having the most wonderful, good humoured time of it. There are drinks that are spilled, feet that are trodden on, you get endlessly pushed, shoved, elbowed and crushed but it’s all in the spirit of the thing and what we festival goers expect. And who goes? Families, babies, old people in sunhats and dodgy shorts, skinny girls in skimpy dresses, chavs, the tattooed fraternity, an endless parade of drunk teeangers, the terminally cool and me. I don’t fall into any of the aforementioned categories but once a year I dig out my festival hat, my festival bag and my fairy wings and I head off to have a blast.
Festival is a state of mind, you either love or hate it. If you love it you forgive the nasty toilets, the expensive drinks and the crap food and you get on and party with everyone else. Despite the 50,000 odd people there I always bump into the same people every year and I meet new people to party with. As long as I have the ticket money and movement in my body I will go to this once a year extravaganza, shed my inhibitions and remember what it was like to be a teenager – unafraid of the world and it’s opinions and with the stamina for a three day event…bring it on!!