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