Our wonderful contributor and fabulous friend Eleni Cashell guested on Episode 2 to share her experiences of the Reading Festival. Now she blogs for us exclusively to give us the experience of the first time festi goer – and whether she’ll be back for more…
My name is Eleni Cashell and I’m a festival virgin…or at least I was until very recently.
Before this summer the only bands I’d seen live were in overcrowded concert halls, I’d never seen a bottle of piss fly through the air, never moshed, never worn wellies, and never had cider for breakfast.
Most frightening of all, the last time I camped I was about 9…with the Brownies…who told me to “stand away from the tent and eat some biscuits while they got on with it”…yes I was a truly terrible Brownie but my goodness I ate well while they did the difficult stuff.
But all that changed last summer when I was convinced by the HTC ladies to go to Reading Festival. I agreed without a second thought…something which continued until a few days before when I realised I hadn’t got anything I needed and wasn’t even remotely prepared. Plus I’d bought a raincoat that wasn’t even waterproof…yes I went to a festival wearing my mother’s coat and wellingtons.
I admit I was initially apprehensive as the big day drew near. Friends told me horror stories of teenagers torching tents, metal-heads moshing like maniacs and thieves…well thieving. I was told I wouldn’t survive, that I’d hate every minute, and to get a refund before it was too late.
Well BOO YAH to them, because I not only survived, but I had a bloody good time.
Lesson 1 –Buy a waterproof that is actually waterproof… wet boob patches weren’t so funny by the third day.
It doesn’t sound like it started in the best way, standing in a queue in the pouring (literally pouring) rain waiting to get in, but luckily my years as a tomboy meant I really didn’t care. Although I did curse my mother for ripping me off with both a crap waterproof and a rubbish camping mat that was effectively tinfoil.
During the festival though, the heavens seemed to be smiling on us because every time there was a big act on the main stage, the sun shone (something that one particular band claimed they’d brought on just by being f***king awesome…my ears must of heard something completely different then).
Lesson number 2 – Dance like a prat
I’ve always been shy when it comes to dancing sober, my feet stick to the floor and my hands move around like I’m visually interpreting the lyrics.
But within minutes I’d taken part in my first ever mosh, I may of only lasted a few minutes and didn’t get a war wound like Leanne did, but gosh it made me feel ever so rock n roll.
I went to the festival with the sole intention of seeing Panic at the Disco, and anything else was a bonus, and wow did the HTC girls introduce me to massive bonus. His name is Frank Turner, he’s an amazing singer that gets people to sit on the floor during his sets, and he’s fit…that’s all you need to know. Seriously, he’s so beautiful it should be illegal, look how pretty.
Lesson 4 – I’m an actual embarrassment.
As you may well of heard in episode 1 of the HTC, I’m prone to embarrassing myself. The big thing at the festival this year was shouting, “Steve” “Alan” “Nathan” and “Buttstratcher”. None of them lady-like, and everyone got bored of them by day two…apart from me. I still chuckle even now as I type this and never have I been as inappropriate as I was on the final night. Muse played, Sam cried, I yelled butt scratcher and killed the mood. Epic fail.
Lesson 5 – Mud isn’t always your friend
I’ve never had a problem with mud, being an ex-tomboy the concept of make-up and being clean is quite new to me. I went with the sole purpose of covering my wellies in mud and caking my clothes till they were wrecked. I thought I’d done all this quite well, and best of all I hadn’t needed to fall over to do it. Or so I thought. on the last day, I slipped into a muddy moat, covering myself in 3 day old mud that Leanne had previously chucked a Yorkshire pudding into. Thank goodness the girls didn’t see or I’m sure it would have been on YouTube quicker than you could say, “holy hell you look a state.”
Lesson 6 –No health food allowed.
Every morning was started with a burger and several ciders before heading out. Something I learnt was an amazing concept when I drunkenly texted my father at 11am. Thank goodness that man has a sense of humour. The rest of the weekend was chips, cheese, chips, burgers, cider, and any other booze we could smuggle in. Best diet I have ever been on.
My final thought
So did I enjoy popping my festival cherry? Hell yeah! I discovered amazing bands, got drenched, came home covered in mud, didn’t shower and laughed every single day.
So what advice would I give to any festival virgins out there that might be reading this and thinking…”hmm, she hasn’t really sold it to me here”… GO! GO! GO! And as soon as you can. Pick a festival, any festival, go with your most kick-ass friends and you’ll have a bloody good time…trust me, I’m a festival expert.
Now where did I put my Frank Turner detector?
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