Oxegen2009 Snow Pa­trol’s fes­ti­val sur­vival guide

Em­brace the ba­con sarnie, leave the tiara at home and get the crowd in­volved. Fes­ti­val vet­eran – and head­liner at Ox­e­gen next Fri­day – Gary Light­body on lessons learned

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -


Hmmm, we’ve been very lucky the last few years as we’ve been able to use the fes­ti­val band ca­ter­ing and get some­thing de­cent to eat be­fore the show.

The food on site at most fes­ti­vals used to stretch no fur­ther than hot dogs and burg­ers or a greasy ba­con sarnie in the morn­ing (which I have to ad­mit I’m par­tial to and will nor­mally go for an early wan­der on site to find one, be­fore go­ing to see who’s on first and greed­ily de­vour­ing them both).

Dur­ing the past few years, vari­a­tion is creep­ing in.

Glasto was al­ways good for that sort of thing and you can find al­most any­thing there, but the other fes­ti­vals took a while to cater to our ever-broad­en­ing pal­ettes. Now most fes­ti­vals have some op­tions. None of them cheap though, which brings me onto ...


Not cheap ei­ther. Al­though, if I’m hon­est, I find that the more booze the bet­ter the fes­ti­val crowd. This is per­haps an ir­re­spon­si­ble thing to say, but it’s true. It’s no sur­prise that the Ir­ish, Scot­tish and Aus­tralian fes­ti­val crowds are the most vo­cal and en­er­getic. It’s be­cause more than any other three coun­tries I can think of, in th­ese three, fun and booze go hand in hand. Sure in Rus­sia they may drink more, much more, but they do it to keep warm not for fun. Again, I’m not ad­vo­cat­ing any­thing, I’m just telling you what it looks like from the stage.

One thing you don’t want to be is the guy we saw one year at T in the Park in Scot­land only about an hour af­ter the gates opened. A guy twirling round out­side the dance tent, pee­ing joy­fully then fall­ing over be­fore what looked like fall­ing soundly asleep. If the fes­ti­val is over be­fore it’s be­gun then that’s way too much booze.


There’s sim­ply no gig without them. Pretty ob­vi­ous state­ment re­ally, but one worth mak­ing. Yes the line-up is im­por­tant, but for a fes­ti­val to be of true worth it has to build up a rep­u­ta­tion for the way the fans are treated there. Safety is im­por­tant, but it needs to be bal­anced with a gen­eral happy at­mos­phere. You can’t do this by abus­ing peo­ple if they stage dive or mak­ing a de­ba­cle of the tick­et­ing or en­try to the event. The bands may never play your event again, but the fes­ti­val or­gan­is­ers want the fans to want to come back ev­ery year, and to tell their friends.

Travel & tents

Th­ese days I have to say we rock up in the tour bus and it’s easy as pie, but we spent quite a few years hav­ing a hell of time get­ting to and from the site – just like every­one else.

Then there are tents. Putting said con­trap­tion up in the dark is al­ways a hoot. Find­ing it again at five in the morn­ing is some fur­ther hoot­ing. Get there in day­light and try to get you and your friends set up in a cir­cle so you’ve some kind of, al­beit flimsy, se­cu­rity and a lit­tle pri­vacy.

Other than that, be­ing in a field full of tents is fun, for a week­end (not for­ever) and every­one’s in the same boat (lit­er­ally if you’re at Glasto), so it should be one big happy fam­ily. Some­times it isn’t,


Golden shower: some­one ig­nores Gary’s ad­vice at Glas­ton­bury

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