It’s years since we went to a music festival, not counting, of course, our own local festival which we were involved in running in various capacities and which has now become a casualty of the plague, never to rise again.
Years ago, as a teenager and then a twenty-something I went to see a lot of bands. In the beginning there would be one major band and a support act. Then festivals started up with venues like Isle of Wight and Reading among the first. Nowadays they’ve become a vast industry, corporately run and, for the most part on a much bigger scale.
So we take the plunge and set off for Wickham Music Festival- an hour or so away, featuring a few bands I’ve heard of [at least] and offering campervan facilities and all the rest.
We arrive on a Thursday, the first official day of the festivities and after waving our tickets at the blue-vested volunteer we’re directed, and directed, and further directed to a place in a row at the top of a huge, mown field. At the end of our row there is drinking water, some flat, black tanks for loo emptying and grey water for rinsing. So far so good! We’ll be here for 4 nights and will be relying on solar power plus our gas fridge. At the bottom of our field there are trailors with showers, which helps!
Once we’ve settled in I lend a hand to our neighbour, Lisa, who’s travelled all the way from Grimsby. She’s bought a dinky Quechua tent en route but is confused about how to put it up. I know these tiny tents have a release mechanism which allows the tent to spring into action so the problem is soon solved. Lisa’s partner is coming to join her tomorrow.
We’re not in a hurry to rush to the festival field on this first day, preferring to make a meal and stroll over there for the evening. It’s quite a trek to the arena- down across our field, along past the showers, through a shady [and very dusty] lane, dotted with helpful lights for later and to the main road, where there are temporary traffic lights and volunteers. Then it’s across the road, past the farm shop, turn right and across the tent field. At last we’re at the gate and get our wrist bands, but there’s still a hill to climb to get up to the 2 huge marquees and all the other paraphernalia that belongs to a festival.
Inside the gate is The Magic Teapot, serving tea, coffee, chocolate and various treats from pots and kettles on a wood burner- a hot job for the staff. It’s opposite the storyteller’s tent, which I’ll visit later in the festival.
We go on to the top to familiarise ourselves with the layout- the 2 stages, the merchandise, the loos, the drinking water, bars, food outlets. Best of all though, one of my favourite bands from the 70s is on tonight- 10cc. I was lucky to see them in their original lineup in about 1975 at Hammersmith Odeon, a concert I still regard as one of the best I’ve ever seen. Tonight’s show is brilliant- even if only one original member is left- Graham Goulden. The sound, though is still pure 10cc and a wonderful start to the festival…
Grace is also known as the novelist, Jane Deans. Her new novel, The Conways at Earthsend is now out and available from Amazon, Waterstones, Goodreads, W H Smith, Pegasus Publishing and many more sites. Visit my website: janedeans.com or my author page on Facebook: (1) Jane Deans, Novellist, Short Fiction and Blog | Facebook.