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Surviving A Music Festival – Part Three

Beki Kidwell

Triangle

Last weekend saw me gallivanting around in the Brecon Beacons as press for MTTM at Green Man Festival – a hectic, yet very exciting adventure that saw me practicing my own advice from past ‘survival’ entries. So, with an up-to-date knowledge of what it takes to survive in hand, I begin my concluding piece with the know-how on how to survive festival food stalls.

Food

Over the three days I was at Green Man, I was presented once again with the question of not only deciding what to eat, but how to survive the people doing the exact same thing. It is impossible to know how the food is going to taste, so for almost always over £8 a plate, you need to make a mature and healthy decision, fast. Or do you?

In Green Man, luckily, the food is usually at a very high standard, with plenty of choice. The prices are cheaper than most large music festivals (along with the booze), which is a huge plus – yet, to choose between Goa fish curry, halloumi and chorizo wraps, award winning Mac & Cheese or veggie Mexican burritos really does land a person in the heat of it.

As you stand and look down the street of stalls, you start getting into people’s way, you’re stared at by kids who won’t mind their own business and you almost always get that looming feeling that you should just settle for the nice looking place with the longest queue. Once you’ve got to the front, it just gets worse. They’ll tell you to wait while they clean the pans, scrape the grill or fetch fresh mint, while those behind you ‘didn’t want it with mint’ and start to look at you as some sort of cuisine vigilante.

This becomes tedious very quickly – especially after getting wrong changed and told that your meal is a different (and almost always higher) price to what it had said on the sign outside. After this, you’ll get attacked by at least a miniature swarm of bees, and if you’re really unlucky, the food won’t be at all as tasty as the ‘Award Winning’, ‘World’s Best…’ signs promised.

So my advice to survive the hardship of trying to decide what to eat at a festival is this – if you really want to try something different, go for the first thing you come across and take the risk, but if you’re hungry and looking to fill the hole, go with what you know. Yes, for most of us this means sticking to burgers, pizza or chips, but you’re in a music festival. As long as you’re not starving, get some lunch and use the time you’ve saved dragging your feet around food stalls to go and discover a band you’ve never heard of. Isn’t that the whole point?

After Dark

It’s safe to say, you’ll need to head to the bar at least ten minutes before the final band of the day finishes. Usually, the headliner will see the arena packed out, but as they play the final notes of their last song, you will notice the sway in the crowd – like a large wind has just turned up and blown the lot of them towards the bar. Once everyone is finally left with drink-in-hand, that’s when it gets messy and very, very fun.

My tip to surviving the night-time madness of a music festival is to absolutely embrace it and GET INVOLVED. Try to avoid drunken maniacs running around with their tops off, hassling poor bystanders with all of your energy, but don’t whatever you do avoid the ‘after dark’ tent.

The music is loud, the weather is mild, it may be raining and you’ll almost always end up dancing with a complete stranger who has decided that it’s you he wants to spend the rest of the night bothering – but I promise you, you will seriously enjoy yourself – and you won’t wake up in the morning regretting falling asleep at 9:30 the night before and missing it all.

Porta-Loos

It’s fitting, I believe, to end this trilogy with the thing that most aggravates festival goers – the toilets. If you’re lucky, they will be clean, have endless amounts of hand sanitizer and constant loo-roll supplied. They will still, however, smell like an allotment having just gone through a muck-spreading session and will harbour at least three strange, large spiders that rub their wiry black hands in delight when they see you locking the door.

But to me, it’s the queues in the morning that do my head in. You have to wake up in a condensation-soaked tent, attempt to get dressed with mild dignity and put your wellies on while trying not to fall, just to get there to find a 100-person long queue of people all waiting to do the exact same thing.

My advice? Hold your nose and dive straight in. Seriously. Don’t stand around making ‘yuck’ noises and pretending to gag – they are toilets. They are going to smell gross and be generally not a very nice place to be – but they are necessary. If I find myself standing behind one more group of girls in line who walk towards empty toilets and make a fuss before passing it over to those desperately waiting behind them, I will push them in the mud.

So that’s it, friends. Go and enjoy your time at whatever music festival you choose, whether that’s this year or next. Though I highly recommend you follow the advice I have tried to give you, all I ask is that you make the most of your time, because trust me, it goes way, way too fast once you’re there.