In-tent on surviving a weekend under canvas

Tents at music festival (Pic: Martin Abegglen)
Tents at music festival (Pic: Martin Abegglen)

Mrs M returned from a weekend away with her friends bearing gifts and breaking the news that we were all heading down south for a music festival next month.

It’s run by friends of ours and we’ve had an open invite to go every year in the past but have never been able to take it up before until now, and realising we could finally go I was well up for it.

My initial burst of enthusiasm – “ hell yeah, man! That sounds great!” – heightened by the prospect of seeing one of my favourite bands, The Divine Comedy, as one of the headline acts - somewhat dissipated later that night when I thought through the actual logistics.

The getting there and the stocking up with whatever we need will be a pain, but manageable. But once we arrive there’s no escaping the inevitable.

We’re going to have to camp.

Just typing that sentence gave me a little shiver of horror. Mere words are not enough to express my intense and furious loathing of camping. It’s an utterly ridiculous, pointless and hateful experience. I literally have no understanding whatsoever why anyone would choose to do it, let alone actually obtain even an atom of enjoyment from it.

I don’t like roughing it, I don’t like being unclean, I don’t like being uncomfortable in away way, I don’t like being too hot, I don’t like being cold, I don’t like cooking over a wee fire like a savage.

In short, camping is AWFUL.

In Mrs M’s absence I had dutifully and most responsibly thrown vast amount of sweets, crisps and fizzy juice in the direction of my children and let them fend for themselves feral-like in an attempt to watch as much of Glastonbury as I could. I watched a lot of the coverage over the weekend (favourite acts – Chic and Sleaford Mods, biggest disappointments – Radiohead and The National) and every time the camera swung to the audience they seemed to be having a ball.

They were all fixed with huge, beaming smiles with bucket loads of energy. No one is ever pictured as I imagine I am going to be; looking exhausted/hungover/fed up, in a foul mood, feeling unwashed, smelly and filthy with a sore back.

I’ve only ever spent one night at a festival before at T In The Park (favourite acts – Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Mogwai, biggest disappointment – turning up late an missing Joe Strummer). I blagged my way in as a “photographer’s assistant”, and even though we had passes for the VIP area, which gave us access to nice, proper toilets and hot running water, it was still fairly gruesome and needless to say I didn’t get a wink of sleep and got so sun-burned that my nose became a big blob of weeping, yellow pus.

Happily, the festival we’re going to is aimed squarely at families and by all accounts is far from T In The Park’s delightful, vomit-splattered ‘last days of the Somme’ vibe (although we do have a teenager, appalled at the whole prospect and already expressing a preference to go and stay at my mum’s instead, to convince that our attendance is a good idea).

Wish me luck.