As we come up to our one year anniversary of leaving home, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to be back there more. Not because it’s been so long but, because of what I will be missing this weekend.
I’m not talking about the riots. August bank holiday weekend means time to head off to Reading/Leeds Festival.
Each year thousands of people descend on a field in either Reading or Leeds for 3 days to watch loads of bands, which switch between the two. After Glastonbury, Leeds/Reading Festival is the biggest festival in the UK with arguably better music.
My first time was back in 2007 and it could not have been better. The weather was perfect, a huge group of people from my hometown went and the band line up was great.
Thankfully the four of us sitting in a room together simultaneously trying to book tickets online and via phone paid off and we were able to get tickets before they sold out, just hours after going on sale.
As much as the festival is about music it’s the whole occasion I miss the most.
Waking up Thursday morning (okay lunch time) after arriving a day earlier than most to find all the space around my tent has vanished. The masses have arrived and as far as the eye can see is a zero privacy jungle of tent ropes and camping chairs.
At the beginning of my day I look around to see what everyone else is drinking, it’s beer… so I might as well have one for breakfast too. After a couple of days, we’re all in the ‘festival daze’ and regular top ups ensure we won’t sober up until Monday.
For the next few nights I learn to navigate the non-existing pathways and master roughly how far my tent is from that big tree and dirty burger van. If I end up with the lads in fancy dress offering everyone beer I’ve gone too far, but I’ll stop for a quick one anyway.
Each night when I return to the campsite from the main stage with a couple of others of our 20 something group have already set up the fire. Someone else has undoubtedly gone missing but no one is too bothered, they’ll show up at some point with some new friends and a fresh crate of beer, if we are lucky it might even be cold.
The group stays up all night around a fire made of anything that can be spared. Everyone has a different story of where they’ve been all day and who they’ve seen. A rough plan is made to stick together the following day but nobody will stick to it, my phone battery died two days ago and something better will come up anyway.
Not until Monday morning does the euphoria end when the seemingly never-ending walk back to the car begins. The journey sobers me up and I’m happy in my decision to leave my chair and tent behind, the walk back is painful enough.
However, It’s not too far to carry the left over beer, including those sacrificed along the way left by equally lazy festivalgoers making the same journey.
These memories are the times I miss the most, having so many of my friends together for a completely care free weekend, everyone is out to have the best time possible and nothing from back home matters, there’s no early morning start tomorrow.
So as many of my friends at home prepare for Leeds festival this weekend all I can hold onto are the only negatives. Like last minute tent shopping or the smell of the long drop toilets as I wait for one of ‘the holes’ behind the swinging doors to become free.
Have fun guys, I won’t be too upset if it rains on you all weekend though….