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
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