I received an email a few weeks ago about a few competitions that Glade festival are running for students. One part is an arts bursary for festival sculpture, and the other is a blog competition, which I have entered. The piece I have written is below. While I love music, and rave about it as much as I rave to it, I really don’t consider myself a music writer and find it very difficult to write about music without sounding like I have no idea what I am on about. While I wouldn’t normally write about human excrement and my virginity (she says), I wanted to write a piece that was personal to me explaining why I enjoyed the festival so much. Plus I guessed that everyone entering the competition would write about the music, so I wanted to stand out from the crowd a little and write something a little more entertaining.
What do you think? I will admit that my grammar and punctuation is getting worse by the day. :s
When people decide what festival they are going to in the summer, the biggest draw is usually the line-up. Not for me. While I can’t deny that last year’s confirmation of Booka Shade and Moderat not only sold me my glade ticket but also made me piss my pants with excitement, it’s really the atmosphere of the festival is what pulls me in and keeps me dancing. Not the headliners.
While Glastonbury popped my festival cherry, it was the leafy cove of the Glade stage where I felt most at home. I’ve even ventured to Belgium for a 4 day bass-fest at Dour; those Europeans certainly know how to party. But last year, I was looking for something a little less overwhelming. I chatted to friends that had been to Glade’s small but perfectly formed leafy confines before and they all convinced me that bigger was not necessarily better.
Last summer, Glade was my weapon of choice in the fight against monotony. I knew at least 5 different groups of people going, all armed with raving war-paint in the quest for exhilaration. I had plans to rendez-vu with them all and party, but horrifically I didn’t meet up with any of them. Looking back, I am glad this happened.
My festival partner and I arrived at the site at the same time as a torrential downpour. Rain pounded our faces while I was carrying 10 litres of cider on my dainty shoulders and Han slipped over at least twice on the steep hill to the gates. Dropping our packs to the floor, we argued over where to camp, when a young man came up to us, picked up our bags and told us to take shelter in his tent. Unsure but wet, we followed the dreaded wonder.
A cup of tea and two cigarettes later, we decided to camp next-door to our new best friends. Phoebe, the mother hen of the group, was an artist and on a post-apocalyptic body paint mission. Her brothers were all dub-step fiends and eagerly anticipated Sunday night to get their grime on. The troupe introduced us to the wonders of ploppies (vodka Haribo) and we spent the eve of the festival giggling and anticipating our bass adventures under the safety of their army surplus tent. Soon our little community grew bigger as we invited more stray wanderers into our new home and made new friends.
It didn’t matter how big our group was or how tight my meeting-up strategy was; when we set off to the stomping ground I would soon find myself meandering the festival site alone. But this is where Glade’s charm really shines. Like my Glade beginning, I would wander into a tent and find a new group of welcoming friends to party with. I shook my ass to my beloved Booka Shade with a mohicaned man, and discovered Carl Craig upon the recommendation of a Mancunian who I danced with until the early hours. I ran into an old friend from college, an even older friend from school and surprisingly partied hard with a close friend of my family. I received OAP abuse at Grannies caff, and sobering blasts from the past when I chanced upon an ex-boyfriend and his friends. Twice. Come Saturday I didn’t even turn my phone on. I didn’t want to meet up with anyone I already knew; I wanted to wander into new and slightly grimy faces.
Festivals are all about surrendering yourself to the summer. We stiff uptight Brits crave it. Music is a part of that soul-soothing, but abandoning your public fronts and losing yourself in a field full of strangers that you will probably never met again is truly what festivals are for. Glade does this perfectly. Sure, this group of people are united by their love of electronic music, and that is what they have paid to see. But I promise, you will take home with you much more than tinnitus, smeggy clothes and dubstep knee.
They also have the cleanest toilets I have ever seen. Even on the campsite Sunday Morning. If shit doesn’t persuade you, nothing will.