Ah, festivals. Those glorious events that always seem like such a great idea until you’re stood in soaking wet clothes, nursing a warm £7 beer and watching the singer of Rammstein ride a giant rubber cock as it prepares to shoot you in the face with its creamy, foamy jizz.
But they’re not all bad. At this point I’d consider it a rite of passage for many a person.
You cant truly know a person until you’ve seen them at their worst, and believe me, you will be seeing many people at their worst.
Here are 8 of the gloriously delicious delights you have to experience at every festival.
Lets kick this list off with a bang with probably the most obvious thing. Sex.
Theres something beautiful about lying out under the stars, appreciating the sound of nature. It is, however, not very beautiful when that silence is interupted by “dont cum in my fanny, james, dont you dare”. Ah festival sex.
The only time after leaving school where it is perfectly acceptable to finger bang someone. There is one, very small window, during the first day, where it may be a good idea to have sex. Its a tick off the box, even if it is cramped inside your one man tent and your arse has to stick out the flap at the front of the tent. But after the first day I really wouldnt recommend it.
Apart from the obvious hygiene issues, it also creates that weird situation of, “what now? do i have to hang around with this person? is it wrong to ignore them if i see them?” Some people though, clearly, do not give a fuck. Last year i camped with a guy who had sex with atleast 4 different people in 5 days without showering. Good grief. The girls werent even from different campsites, they were all camped within feet of eachother.
As each girl found out about the other, this left the rest of us to sit around, soaking up the bad atmosphere like a fun sponge. Thanks alot buddy.
Aswell as this serial shagger, theres plenty of swingers about at festivals too. Plenty of fingerbanging and handjobs in the crowds. And to top it off theres usually that girl who cheats on her boyfriend but we all act like it didnt happen. No one talks about it and we all just feel sorry for the guy and give him a couple of beers when we catch him alone and listening to the sound of silence. Chin up Steve, we all know it happened. Fuck that slag.
Hes seen it all. He was here the first year it was ever on. That amazing year with all those amazing bands? He was there. Woodstock, Glastonbury, Monsters of Rock, he was at them all and hes got the scars to prove it. Wearing an old denim jacket covered in patches from bands over the last 50 years, hes a fountain of festival wisdom.
Alot of it is useless, just meaningless words drifting away like the smoke from his joint, but hidden amongst the stoner drivel are some absolute gems. From the best ways to sneak booze into the main area, to never sleeping with someone after the 3rd day. Always listen to these people because they will impart wisdom that you wont find on the internet or in a book it can only be shared by these old wise owls of festivals.
Many a time I’ve half listened to these crazy old cats, only to then find myself about to enter the arena with only a mere few seconds to hide a beer. Suddenly the wise mans words ring in my ear and … well, I hide the beer. I go to thank him later on but I never see him for the rest of the festival.
Some say that these people arent even real people. Some say they are a mirage, just the physical embodiment of the spirits of the festivals, trying to guide us all towards having a good time. Strangely enough alot of them look like George Carlin.
“They are strong. No one can tell them they’re wrong. Searching their hearts for so long. Both of them knowing. Love is a battlefield.” I just wish they’d shut the fuck up.
Whether they’re a couple that have come to their first festival together because they simply cant bear to be apart from eachother, or one of those annoying couples that develop because your friend had sex with the night before and now they’re just lingering around like a bad smell. Festival couples are the worst.
Festivals are a time for friends to enjoy eachothers company, chill out and have a good time. I want my mornings to be filled with that beautiful sound of a can being opened for breakfast, not the local couple bickering about how “i wasnt staring at that girls boobs on the jumbo vision, no i dont like them more than yours”, “im sorry im getting mud everywhere, you left the tent flap open not me”, “I was not advocating the use of drugs, i completely respect your lifestyle”. You are pissing all over the good vibe. And no we dont want to hear about your 100th fucking argument this weekend, especially when you’ll be back together the next morning, dry humping eachother at every opportunity and preaching to the rest of us about how “real love faces obstacles.”
Of course its real love, your matching tattoos say so.
Top tip. Take sun cream. Smother that son of a bitch all over you and carry it with you all the time. Why? Because drunk Ricky doesnt care about sun cream and neither will drunk (whoever you are).
And we all do it. A little bit of sunshine and everyone in england takes their shirt off. Countless years of living in a country with batshit crazy weather has taught us nothing. Theres always that one glorious day (or morning atleast) where everyone cracks out a cold one, takes their shirt off and laps up the sunshine. We act like we’re in the bahamas. Even if it rains, we dont care, we refuse to put our clothes back on, we’re topless, feeling free and loving it. Until the next day when every single guy who never listened to their mother on holiday wakes up covered in sun burn and looking like Mr Krabs from Spongebob Square Pants. What was once white and pastey is now red and sore. Every step agony as you march to the toilet like John Wayne, quitely cursing every person who thinks its hilarious to slap you on your sun burn.
Dont be that guy. Dont try and be tough. Put on that sun cream.
The siren call heard around every festival whenever any one of these fuckers comes past. YOU DONT EVEN DRINK!
To be fair I’ll give little kids their due. It takes a lot of time and effort for a parent to train their kid to collect cups in order to get free beer and it keeps the kids busy and out of the way of the rest of us. But the drunk cheapskates that you know have already bled their friends dry of free drinks and now only have one option left but to collect cups for beer, you can fuck right off.
I like to pretend that these people are like a hidden boss in a video game. Every time you see them during your days adventure you must destroy them and their cups.
You will never understand true beauty until youve seen someone deliver a perfectly timed RKO to a giant stack of cups that someone is carrying. The utter heartbreak and confusion in the persons face while the attacker lets out a passionate “woo!” is utterly priceless.
Nudity/Inappropriately Dressed People
Look at him. Look at him in all his glory. No one has asked him to do this, and no one particularly cares for it. But by god he is having the time of his life as he runs around, swinging his t shirt over his head as his balls bounce around and the beer drips from his bush. This will not be the last time this weekend you see a man take his clothes for no reason. It wont even be the last time you see it today.
Its 12 degrees, the campsite has become a flooded lake of mud and poo and a guy walks by you wearing nothing but a thong and sunglasses. A thong. And sunglasses. Sure hes probably enjoying the gentle breeze on his butt cheeks now, as he gives you a wink and a smile, but when 1000+ metalheads have whipped those pert little sun burnt cheeks with their huge sweaty palms, he will be walking stiffer than most of the girls here and asking some serious questions about his life choices.
Why is getting naked looked at as some kind of achievement?
If we were back home amongst normal civilised people, he would be getting arrested and put on the sex offenders list.
Dont get me wrong, one of the most fun parts of a festival is being able to wear whatever you want without judgement. Where else can you wear a top hat whilst moshing to Slayer? But some people need to spend a little more time thinking about their choice in attire. People in onesies, dont pretend like you dont regret your decision when you enter a portaloo. Is that brown stain on your arse mud or something else?
Come to think of it, id rather not know.
The first time i saw a naked man at a festival was when a guy decided to slide across a beer soaked table while other people piss on him. I thought that kind of behavior only happened at fetish clubs and pornhub videos. The simple idea that this man felt he had to slide across this piss and beer soaked table is one thing. But the fact this was something he felt he could only do naked as other mens urine rained down on him. Bewildering. Although m not gonna lie, seeing him do it naked was alot funnier.
Massively drunk slag/person
Now, lets not confuse this with being the same as the post above. There was nothing to indicate the piss diver was even intoxicated when he decided to ‘superman’ across a urine soaked slip and slide. No. This is something entirely different. Everyone gets drunk at a festival, its a given. But theres always one.
If you’ve been to a festival then you know what i mean. If you havent, then you may be wondering, “arent most of the people drunk?” Yes. But not this level of drunk. This is a very special level of drunk that can only be reached by a select few. You get the guy passed out on the floor, usually in the middle of the festivities, onlookers taking it in turns to strategically place something on top of him, or simply squat their bum cheeks on his face without waking him up and causing him to throw off all the items previously placed on top of him like some sort of sexual buckaroo. The drunk guy dancing round the camp site wearing nothing but a thong and sunglasses, thinking hes the cock of the walk. Until a mere few hours when you discover him passed out, face down in the mud with a bottle of pepsi sticking out of his ass. Then you realise hes just a cock. You get the drunk girl in the crowd desperate to get up on someones shoulders and catch the attention of the band. So she begins climbing on any and every guy in front of her, boobs already hanging out and swinging around, until some poor soul decides to let her climb aboard, only to discover, along with everyone else, that said girl isnt wearing any knickers. No Steve, there isnt a fish stall near here. I can smell it too.
My single greatest moment ever at a festival involved piss.
I know thats quite a strange statement to make, what with all the music, the beer, the sex, the drugs, everything. But fuck no, my greatest moment involves piss.
First of all, if you go to a festival you just have to embrace certain things. Well, a lot of things. Obviously all of the things listed above, the weather, warm alcohol, but most of all, you’ve just got to get comfortable around piss. Its already featured quite prominently in this list. You’re gonna see a lot of friends, strangers, women, take a piss right in front of you. Some wont even pause their conversation with you whilst they do.
A lot of male bonding happens at urinals too. Its an odd thing to imagine but theres something unifying about a group of men pissing together. Theres always a jokester making everyone laugh, someone who lets off an impressive fart, and sometimes, just sometimes, a woman dropping a squat on the urinal.
Ive seen a lot of amazing things at festivals. Ive seen grown men sword fighting with giant floppy dildos. Ive seen a drunk Irishman dive into a burning tent just so the security personnel wouldnt put out the fire. Ive seen a man dressed like Macho Man Randy Savage soar across the night sky as he lept from the top of a portaloo and delivered an elbow drop to a passed out guy on the floor below. It was a thing of beauty.
Some of the stuff ive seen at a festival cant even be categorized. Its just too out there.
But nothing compares to this.
I was stood in the crowd, waiting for the band to start. I cant quite remember who, it might have been Rage Against The Machine. It was a warm evening, excitement in the air. Everybody is good and drunk, the sun is setting and we’re moments away from action. People are pumped up.
Ahead of me is a father with his two teenage sons. It looks to be their first festival as they chatter excitedly. Fresh new Download shirts on, sipping bottles of water, their faces beaming with excitement. I take a moment to remember being that age. How excited I would have been.
The younger son is slightly hidden behind his father but I see the elder son facing right towards me. His youthful, innocent looks, not yet ravaged by the strain of festival life, hes talking excited to his father and brother. Arms moving wildly, giant grin across his face, he clearly can not wait for the band to come on stage.
This has to be his first day. Perhaps his first day ever at a festival.
As hes talking I begin to wonder what hes been doing with his day.
No mere festival peasant is that clean and happy by this time of the day so he must be staying in VIP. Perhaps in the hotel round the corner.
Maybe hes been relaxing in the hotel room, waiting eagerly to see his favorite band? Spending the day visiting all the bands in the VIP section, getting his merchandise signed? Spending the day enjoying the comfort and luxury of first class camping and meeting all his heroes. What a day.
Im happy for him.
Then, my imagination is broken by the booming sound of “Heads Up!”
It doesnt quite register at first. I didnt spin around to see where it come from, I was too busy staring straight ahead at the excited teenager and his family.
Then it happens. Almost in completely slow motion.
A plastic beer cup drops down like a watery bomb from the sky and lands squarely on the face of the excited teenager.
The precision executed in this throw was nothing short of magnificent. The cup didnt graze the boy, it didnt skim him. It landed squarely ON his face, with the liquid contents of the cup erupting ALL OVER his head.
Make no mistake about it, this was a watery Hiroshima.
The people around me gasped. Thats how you know it was serious.
Silence fell upon the Download audience as we all stared at this victim of a festival drive by and awaited his response.
The boy was a mess. His hair instantly soaked and matted, the contents of the cup streaming down his face and dripping off his nose.
Theres only one thing for him to do.
He slowly raises a hand to his face and wipes around, trying to remain calm and composed. The tension is palpable. I notice a girl turn to her boyfriend for comfort in this horrific event. More couples embrace eachother and mutter “oh god”.
I, along with everyone else, await with baited breath.
The boy sniffs his hand and turns to address his audience.
“Its warm …”.
Everyone around me groans with a unified “EWWWWW!”
Women turn away in horror. Men back away in fear.
I. Laugh. Hysterically.
The teenager looked to his father, lost in a mixture of confusion and sadness.
The excitement he once had, a distant memory.
His once angelic looks, painted with excitement, were now glum and sullen, and painted with piss.
He didnt need to say anything, we could all tell what he was thinking.
“Why father, why?”
Welcome to Download kid.