1439 words on Hurricane
Unlike in 2004 when I met Dan and his friends at the festival on Thursday already – giving us a good place for the tents – I was on a tighter schedule this year. Going there early Friday afternoon to not be among the last people to arrive and have the chance to at least get a place for the tent that isn’t right next to a portaloo or other unpleasant site. My arrival was still late enough to ensure that I had a pretty long walk from the car and that all the camping areas looked packed when I passed there. After walking more than half way across the camp ground – because some people said (and I stupidly believed) that there’d be more free spaces ‘over there’ – I gave up and just looked for the next gap between the tents that was big enough and had another gap close by for Jean to put his tent up when he arrived.
It turned out that this was quite a lucky thing to do as we ended up having great neighbours who not only helped me put up the tent (which I guess I would have managed on my own, but which was much quicker this way), but who also were good enough to let us share their barbecue later on. In fact, our plan was to ‘bring nothing’ and just buy food at the festival. For just two people going through all the hassle and carrying needed for a barbecue just didn’t seem to make sense. Instead we brought along assorted junk food, the willingness and tools needed for making fried eggs (and egg in the basket) in the morning as well as random and refreshing luxury good ranging from radishes to strawberries to a bottle of Cognac. As things go, we had plenty of those goods and our neighbours had plenty of meat and sausages… and with everybody being nice, things were shared.
While this gave us a good place to stay, there was one problem with the camp ground we were staying on. Somehow it had less plants on the ground than the others and with it being very dry there was a lot of sand in the air. It only took a few hours for all the tents having a layer of brown dust on them. And it didn’t take any longer for us to have the same…
One thing we hadn’t read the fine print for properly was that there were no glass bottles allowed on the camp ground this year. Apparently there had been too many injuries with those. And thus you were checked when entering the camp ground. And any bottles that obviously stuck out were taken away. Needless to say that with ten thousands of people being there, those checks were superficial, so we could still get some bottles of wine, the Cognac and a bottle of olive oil (for cooking!) in there. We just had to make sure we don’t display them too openly as the security guys were coming along from time to time.
Of course all the well-organised youths had read the fine print and brought beer in tins or plastic bottles instead, so this wasn’t too much of a problem in general.
The other thing that was forbidden for the first time this year was crowd surfing. According to the first aid people it had been the main cause of injury before. And to be honest – while not being a ‘Verboten’ fan myself – I quite liked that. When we were there in 2004 there were just so many people crowd surfing at some gigs that it became quite hard to watch them without constantly having to make sure there isn’t soem sweaty heavy guy (for some reason it’s never the little girls who come along…) being dropped on you. And that rule seems to have worked rather well (with breaking it being punished by being banned from the festival grounds for a day).
With many people, many young people, many music lovers running around, it’s great to watch the fashion trends while running around. At the beginning Jean and me were running exhibits for my own shirts, with him wearing the speaker shirt and me going for Glenn Gould. And apart from that, there are surprisingly (and refreshingly) many kids wearing Undertones or Ramones shirts as well as numerous people wearing Johnny Cash shirts. And there’s this trend (which started last year I think) of everybody wearing really huge and ugly sunglasses and trying to look like a pimp or a 1980s airline pilot. Odd.
To get started, we went to see Seeed on the main stage. They’re from Germany but do some reggae style music with all the band wearing the same clothes and some chicks jumping around on stage. So at least there was something to look at while I didn’t enjoy the music. Apparently their claim to fame is that they’re the only German band to ever have been in the top ten of Trinidad and Tobago…
Next came the first ‘big’ band to play. For some reason the Arctic Monkeys haven’t been as enthusiastically hyped in Germany as they were in the UK. Still – thanks to the internet hype machine I assume – the kids love them. And thus having them play the smaller of the two outside stages may not have been the greatest of ideas. As we didn’t like Seeed too much, we went over early and hoped to secure a good spot. And that seemed to work. Just that so many people were coming there and everybody was really eager for things to start that it was literally hard to stand even before the gig started. At one stage people started falling. And it was a bit like dominoes with may people being on the ground and nobody being able to get up unless everybody in front of them did. That was quite uncomfortable.
In the end we dropped a bit further to the back where the crowd was still rather active. Not as close as I would have like but much more peaceful. And of course the band played their fantastic A Certain Romance at the end. Great.
After this great little gig, Jean who had to work until seven, finally arrived. I had particularly borrowed my mum’s mobile phone for the occasion as actually finding someone on a festival can be tricky. And this has worked great at past occasions. But this time there was a bit of a cock up with the mobile phones or their networks. And not only reception was bad but the phones just didn’t work at all at many times. And while my mum’s phone would say ‘emergency calls only’ in those situations, Jeans phone would claim that it had good reception but then fail to make any calls and I’d just reach the stupid mailbox when calling.
But despite this technological cock-up, Jean whom I had told the number of the campground which had 16 or so different areas for 50000 people just happened to stand about five metres from my tent when I came along and both of us were cursing our respective phones for being pieces of crap.
More tent-building and fetching of food happened and we didn’t do much more that night.
Nothing, except, me going to see…
I’m not the biggest fan of Maxïmo Park and I’ve seen them before, but as they had come to play, I thought I could see them anyway. Once more I thought that they’re not excessively great and that I just don’t like their singer. With the difference that I could do all this from quite a distance this time. Entertaining but not too great.
This was the first day and it was a good start. I finished it by trying to use ear plugs so I wouldn’t wake up too early in the morning. But either I’m no good at using those ear plug things (which is entirely possible) or they just don’t work.
Next up: Hurricane Saturday