Fes­ti­val Fit

Hunt­ing for Cari­bou in the forests of Ballinlough, Mark Gra­ham en­coun­tered a menagerie of wild beasts

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FUN & GAMES -

‘What is a cari­bou any­way? Is it one of those big moosey type things?” asked Tom as we headed for a mid-morn­ing set­tler, dis­cussing the best plan of at­tack for Sun­day’s shenani­gans at Body & Soul. We all agreed that the band were named af­ter a large beast that was in­deed some sort of cousin to the rein­deer.

“Did you ever see that wildlife doc­u­men­tary where the lion creeps up, re­ally close to the ground, like, and takes off af­ter the cari­bou, swip­ing the back legs out from un­der it?” Tom asked as we cracked open the first can of the day. “Nah, man, dif­fer­ent con­ti­nent. You wouldn’t find one of those there.” “Ah, right,” says Tom. “It musta been a leop­ard that took him down so.” Tom will al­ways be more of a Gary Nu­man fan than a Wild Beasts man.

With the sol­stice land­ing on Satur­day and a favourable weather fore­cast, the stars were aligned for an­other full for­est at Ballinlough Cas­tle, even with the now-an­nual ca­pac­ity bump con­sid­ered. The best you can do for the weather is stick out the Child of Prague or maybe sac­ri­fice a goat/chicken/cari­bou, but a con­sid­er­ate u-turn on the BYOB pol­icy this year en­sured a sunny ses­sion out­look. There were re­stric­tions on the amount you could bring in, but be­ing able to pack cans at all meant pun­ters were al­ways go­ing to save a few bob, not have to suf­fer large queues and, most im­por­tantly, didn’t have to hang out the camp­site drink­ing as much as they could swal­low with­out drown­ing be­fore head­ing for the gigs. This cre­ated a more re­laxed at­mos­phere as the need for early fren­zied day­time drink­ing was negated, mak­ing the buzz and body count bet­ter for bands who were play­ing day­time slots.

Drinks com­pa­nies pay large wads of cash for the mo­nop­oly on pro­vid­ing grog at gigs, but what’s more im­por­tant, the bot­tom line or the buzz? There are sev­eral other fes­ti­vals I can think of that would do well to fol­low this model.


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