Monday, July 30, 2012

Am I Just Getting too Old for Festivals?

That is a tough question and I'm going to say that I'm NOT too old for festivals. What I think I am too old for is doing a festival like my 16 year old self would...drunk and with no sleep (more on that later)

So, many of you avid readers (cough) will know I have been in Spain for a couple of weeks, firstly at Benicassim music festival (FIB 2012) and then travelling with my awesome boyf.

For those of you not so sure where Benicassim is, it's here. 

On the south coast of Spain, it is a gorgeous place to take your family to relax for a beach holiday. The water is gorgeous; there is just enough of a mix between tourism and genuine Spain to get some decent tapas and the people are friendly.

Once a year, thousands of people descend on this little town for one of Europe's biggest festivals. Check out the line up for this year:
Cool right?

Well, being the anally retentive super organised person I am, when the tickets were booked (a Christmas whim with some of my work buds as we dreamt of warmth and lovely sunshine), I immediately started 'researching' the festival. What would we need to take? How hot would it be? How gross was the campsite going to be?
Click to read more!

The answer was a bit of a shock. All of the forums described the event as a form of endurance. The festival started at 8PM and ran until 8AM each morning, with the headline acts on between 2AM and 4AM. During the day, the heat from 9AM onwards made it impossible to sleep in a tent...there were cold water showers, the beach was 3km away from the campsite....

So....I prepared. I got a tent which had good airflow, decided that drinking alcohol was not an option (I can't do hangovers in my own flat when I am comfortable), I bought lighter camping equipment, packed sensibly, aimed to be in bed by 4AM at the latest to try and get some sleep before the sun rose.

Having prepared for this, when I got there, the conditions of camping were not as bad as I had predicted. We managed to find some shade, the showers (although open to both genders, outside and freezing) were quite refreshing in the heat and especially after a long walk to and from town. There were a few taxi's to transport folks to and from the beach. It all looked quite promising.


On day one I walked too much. The 'extra sensible' walking sandals I bought to cope with the distances we would need to walk gave me severe blisters. Taxis were my saviour (even if you had to wait hours for them!); walking across the beach was agony. 

On day two I was in the first aid tent. They BANDAGED my feet. I only had flip flop type things with me and hadn't thought to shower before going into the tent. Not showering, wasn't an option.

The shower that evening, for everybody who had the joy to watch, looked like a 'special' kind of dance. By hooking my legs over the supporting poles, I could avoid soaking my bandages and 'sort' of wash off the sand from the beach that day. I left with dry bandages, but without much dignity left. Thank goodness there were no cameras.

On day three, the festival started. I was so excited to get in front of some live music. It brings my senses alive. The Horrors and At the Drive In were playing. Florence and The Machine had pulled out due to illness, but nothing would spoil my mood. My feet and I shuffled to a comfortable place in the crown and enjoyed.
The music and people at the festival were pretty much all awesome. Mostly drunk, but friendly. I had some unforgettable moments. The Bombay Bicycle Club and being at the front for Jesse J, Ed Sheeran and  then seeing Noel Gallagher singing 'Don't Look Back in Anger' was just absolutely amazing.  (Jesse J - Don't know her? Check her out here)

So the music I was definitely NOT too old for. I sang, danced...made it to bed by what was I 'over'. Well, I guess the pressure to drink, to stay up until 8AM, the way I was made to feel like I was being unreasonable for wanting to stay sober and see all of the bands I had travelled there to see. I spent a lot of the festival on my own (well, until the last couple of days when I spent it with our neighbours). Trying to make arrangements to meet people at a festival is quite hard when you split up and when they're drunk and following their impulses. Thank goodness for the relative strangers who befriended me!

By the Sunday, I just wanted my boyfriend to turn up so I had someone I could talk to. I like the people I went away with and still do. We had different aims for the break I guess, and it's just a shame that we couldn't make it work for all of us. I can imagine that they were as frustrated by my unwillingness to join their 'party' spirit in a way that they wanted to.

I guess because they were potentially more hungover than me, that's why they found the camping more difficult to cope with. The moaning was starting to grate though. What was banter to them, made me want to run hobble for the hills.

Andi arranged to meet me on Sunday to hang out ( a whole day earlier). When I saw him in the car park, despite being dirty, sweaty and exhausted, I ran to him. We had a really relaxed day at the beach. He dropped us back at the campsite for the final night of music and at last we all managed to stay, pretty much, together.

I did not sleep that night (not by choice) was so loud in the I gave in, packed my tent up and waited. Looking down, I was pleased to see I had the hint of a tan...well the promise of one and had regained the use of my feet!

I stood by this dusty car park waiting for Andi to pick me up and take me to a hotel and a shower.

We stopped off for a coffee on the way....I've never looked so good!

(Can you notice the startling similarity between the dust and my 'tan' yet?)

Yup! You guessed it, my 'tan' washed off in the bath. I slept for hours that day and for twelve hours that night.

So while I am not too old for festivals, and I still can't seem to tan, I am going to have to either find people who want to festival like me, or start to compromise a bit more.

Thanks for reading this far! I am going to post about mine and Andi's trip over the next few weeks. Check out next Wednesday to hear about Valencia.
Have you ever had a bit of a travel clash? Been to a festival? Have a band you want to recommend to me? Shoot me a message below.



Stephanie said...

Sounds like quite the festival! I went to a much smaller one earlier in the summer and one day was enough, I can't imagine three days of it! I feel the same way about drinking and going crazy at these sort of events though, so I would have hung out with you! :)

Cocalores said...

Sounds like you had fun after all! Sorry about your tan, though! I think I'm definitely too old for that - I was whiny about camping even as a teenager ;-) xo Anja

Naptime Review said...

That sounds fun! The campsite will probably be gross! LOL!

Newest follower from TTWFI. Love for you to stop by and return the follow. Hosting Mom's Monday Mingle. Love for you to link up and meet some other mom blogs.

Alyx said...

That sounds like a blast!

Katrin said...

Oh, I love festivals! Great line-up! Your blog is gorgeous! I found you on Shane's blog!

Meiqing Xu said...
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