Whilst stashing away my oversized backpack and fortunately un-used and un-muddy mac and wellies from Reading Festival it really dawned on me how this year’s Festival season is all but over. Of course there’s still Bestival and a handful of daytime one’s in September- Butser and Breakout – of which I’m looking forward to, but the majority are over.
We’re really lucky in the UK to have a festival culture, every weekend throughout the summer there’s a festival going on somewhere or for most weekends multiple ones making it hard to choose. Festivals (regardless of whether you experience them from the traditional camping perspective or from the comforts of a hotel room) are a totally different experience.
Every day you’re at a festival is complete and utter freedom and where else can you watch live music for almost twelve hours a day?
I remember how much I grew after my first festival, I went to Reading the summer that I got my A Level results (I would have gone previously but the parents weren’t keen to let me) and I remember being dragged back to the camp site on the Friday evening to make food and then my friends saying they couldn’t be bothered to go back and see the headliners. At this point I wasn’t confident (not that I’m much better now) but there was no way I was going to try and make my own way back. This resulted in me missing Rage Against The Machine: for which I wasn’t happy.
I learnt a lot from that experience, I wasn’t going to be dictated by what others wanted to do or see, so from that moment I realised you can go and see bands on your own and you don’t have to agree with what your friends want to see. At Reading this year I went to see The Hell on my own which was one of the best decisions I made all weekend!
This year also gave me my first experience of a European Festival: Groezrock. Which I can only describe as one of my favourite festivals for a few reasons: firstly it’s so safe. I remember being baffled why I barely saw any security and how incredibly worried I was when I saw there was no barrier on one of the stages (Yes that’s right Judge, Cro Mags, La Dispute and more played this stage!) and seeing the number of stage divers/ crowd surfers. Yet there was no trouble, if you had that at say Reading Festival you’d be looking at multiple injuries and probably a whole lot worse.
The other reason that I loved it so much is how bands are so different from the UK to the rest of Europe, for example Caliban played second to the headliners on the second stage at Groezrock with an insane backdrop, yet a few weeks later they played half way through the day on one of the smaller stages at Slamdunk. On the other hand Bury Tomorrow who were about to headline a stage at Slamdunk were put on early in the day on a tiny outside stage which was the equivilant of the Jagermeister acoustic stage at Download or the BBC Introducing Stage at Reading/ Leeds. It’s quite nice to see bands in such a different environment.
It doesn’t feel that long ago that I was standing in Southampton University watching bands choke on marsh-mellows (which includes some of my all-time favourite footage which you can watch here) at March’s Takedown Festival. But it’s now that the year turns from festival season to gig season. I’m not sure about everyone else but I had a scary look at my diary for October and November and I’m genuinely worried whether my body will survive the number of shows I have pencilled in. I told myself that I’m going to be more selective over what I plan on going to but this is hard when such a lot of my genuinely favourite bands are touring.
For those of you who know me will know that Bury Tomorrow’s headline tour is a huge event for me in October but I’m being good and doing just the two shows (London and Birmingham: standard), but Chiodos are supporting The Blackout and then Bring Me The Horizon play their ultimate show at Wembley Arena with Issues supporting. And I’m sure with Issues coming to the UK for that one show surely they’d do some headline shows themselves?!
Most people are sad that summer is almost over but I’m actually excited to have a chilled air outside and gig venues to (hopefully) not feel so sweaty. With some many amazing tours coming up festival season will seem like a distant memory. And before you know it when Bring Me’s Wembley show comes around we will be almost a week into December. Where does the time go?!