Words by Jack Williams
It can be quite a depressing thought thinking about going alone to a music festival; but, as LFM co-founder Jack found out – it is actually incredible!
Your friends are so-called “busy” or moneyless? Stuff them, well don’t exactly, but if there is that festival you just cannot afford to miss, go alone!
PREPPING IS EVERYTHING
I admit selecting to go solo to a music festival takes a lot of balls and I did the unthinkable and did just that. My immediate stupidity set in almost 5 minutes after deciding to purchase my ticket and the frantic search began to hopefully find some other festivalgoers in the same position.
It was looking incredibly bleak, looking on every website possible for people to potentially go with. Run down as a result of having no luck, I had one final search to see if anything would crop up and would you know it there was the result I was looking for – Efestivals.
Efestivals essentially is a forum purely for anything music festival based, but crucially for me it also had solo festival-goers. I noticed several posts regarding people going alone and before you know it, I was away!
We managed to get a group going on Facebook called “To Leeds and Back, Leeds Festival 2016”, it started fairly small; maybe 4 or 5 people at most but as the festival neared ever closer, the group peaked at 20-25 people, it all sounded too good to be true, so was it?
THE MEET AND GREET
Before arriving at Leeds I had to endure a 3-hour coach journey where I would be surrounded by other festival-goers to enjoy the journey… with their friends, a depressing thought but I stuck my headphones in and banged some Slaves on and I soon forgot that thought.
Getting off the coach there was a small sense of relief for me knowing that the grueling 3-hour coach journey was over and I could finally set up camp, I just had the task of dragging my stupidly heavy bags to camp and up some very steep and slippery hills.
I eventually got through the gate and got my wristband but then exited through to one of the campsites, I was so lost. I just kept walking until I stumbled across a map of the festival site that pointed me in the right direction.
I negotiated the treacherous and unforgiving hills and made it to the entrance of red camp which is where I would be located for the weekend.
I rang Luke* who would eventually meet me at the entrance to red camp to tell him that I arrived and he was with me before I knew it. Luke escorted me to camp where a nice little circle had formed for our group, but with plenty more due to arrive, it looked incredibly unlikely that everybody would get a space.
It was actually only Luke who was at camp when I arrived as others were out and about on the site. But one by one they trundled in and the meet and greets began, Ash, James, Dan, Johnny, Lea, Sarah, oh I could go on!
But you get the picture; there were a lot of loners to put it in the nicest way!
I just socialised and grabbed a drink of the finest Strongbow Dark fruits money can buy and went with the flow, if you like.
A couple of hours into my solo festival experience, the group was getting more and more confident with one another, then someone thought of a great idea, nicknames. Being so tall I was expecting the usual raft of names to be suggested, but no, the northerners think differently.
I ended up with weatherman. Reason? Because I regularly checked the weather so much throughout the weekend, but unlike the Met Office; I actually get it right.
New Zealander Sarah unfortunately shot herself in the foot quite literally, when she posted on the Facebook group before the festival “How is everybody fitting everything?! The sleeping back and gumboots take almost all the room”. Yes, we ripped her all weekend for that, bloody gumboots.
THE ART OF BANTER – an ode to Alan Partridge
Where to start, Ryan’s* love affair with ketamine and strippers or Luke’s 43-year-old fling.
Ryan, just like me, had a leaking tent that was full of wet clothes, a wet sleeping bag, basically everything was wet. Ryan however had the luxury of a short journey home so he could get dry and sleep in a normal, dry bed for the night.
But anyway, Ryan was incredibly drunk come Sunday and persistently asked, “Has anyone got any Ket?” When Ryan was inevitably asked, “Do you even know what Ket is?” his blunt reply of “no” had us all laughing hysterically.
So we are quietly sat around camp and Luke begins the conversation that leads to the rest of us being very intrigued into what he is about to say. He than goes onto how he got very cosy with a 43-year-old. I won’t go into full detail but you get the picture, he was slightly red-faced when he told us.
BANDS, BANDS, BANDS…
The great thing about the whole experience was that you could go and see whom you wanted and not have to worry about your friends wanting to watch another crappy band, you are in control.
But it wasn’t actually the case, every band that I saw, bar Foals and Boy Better Know; I had company, which was nice to know. You also get introduced to so many new artists. COUGH, Frank Carter!
Heading up to Leeds I was incredibly nervous about how the whole weekend would plan out, I could have turned up to be greeted by a bunch of wan….
But how wrong could I have been, some of the nicest and funniest people I could have wished to meet. Even if New Zealanders call Wellies Gumboots….
This article was written by Jack Williams, follow him on twitter here.
*Some names have been changed so that self-confessed Ket enthusiasts cannot face any employment issues.