I never thought I’d have the gall, or even the balls to compare myself to a soldier, but lying in a tent, in the freezing cold at 3 in the morning whilst hearing a gaggle of pilled up girls debate whether to ransack your tent for a plate to cut up some cocaine really made me connect with some of the brave boys and girls fighting our corner in the Middle East. Putting up with bullets vs putting up with ‘Bonkers’ being sang literally all night – it’s hard to choose exactly which is worse.
And it all started so well. A quick jaunt over the Essex Riviera from Southend to Chelmsford took a mere thirty minutes. The gang were all in the car, few tunes on the radio – the weather was heroic, all seemed well. But then you get there, you pitch your tent (or in my case, stand around wearing sunglasses whilst everyone else does all the donkey work), and then you realise that it’s 11am on a Friday, with literally 24 hours until the first band comes on.
Luckily, my trusty radio came in hand, and much enjoyment was made listening to the Ashes on the wireless, all the while ignoring various offers for drugs, and alcohol. After somehow making it through the day I fell asleep around 1am. Now, I can’t sleep in silence, I always have a radio on, and so this annoyed some fellow campers surrounding our tent. Some crack addict cunt made a joke that ‘most people can sleep in silence.’ I just stared at the dickhead, should have said ‘most people aren’t forty year old men smoking crack and hanging out with 20 year old girls cos they’ve taken pity on you’, but I was too weak, roasting in the hot summer sun like an Asian design major.
Finally the bands came, opening with Mcfly who stormed the main stage with all their decent tunes. Mcfly get a lot of criticism from people, but I find the folk who lay into them are usually joyless fuckers, wearing far too tight jeans, closing their minds to all but the obtuse of music whilst wanking into their empty beds in the morning wishing they had a girlfriend. Starsailor followed, and they soon realised that this wasn’t 2002. “If you know any of our songs, you’ll know this one”, James Walsh said which isn’t the most confident of approaches.
After that, I can’t really remember – saw a bit of Taylor Swift singing like a mule, before going old skool to watch Dizzee Rascal tear the 4 Music stage up. He’s a one trick pony is Dizzee – rap a 16 bar line before a sampled chorus, but what a one trick. For a guy who has only been seriously gigging for about two years, he had the massive crowd eating out of his hand, and is a good bet to be headlining this time next year.
The Specials – good thirty years ago, antiquated now. Sure, ‘Ghost Town’ is a tune, but getting Amy Winehouse on stage was just torturous, if only for the forty year old woman straining for a few of Winehouse whilst shouting in my ear pure filth. Razorlight followed, and were actually pretty decent although Johnny Borrell has turned into even more of an arrogant prick. I guess the less success his band get, the more odious he becomes. Finally, we fucked the Killers off and went to watch Pete Doherty, who was actually pretty decent.
Struggled with sleep Saturday night, tossed and turned for about five hours waiting for daylight to break whilst listening to a French themed phone in. Finally got up and went to help my brother put his tent down and to find the car we were going home in so we could fuck off straight after Oasis. It took ages – putting down a tent is a lot like putting down a dog, at first you’re gentle, tender and in a positive mood (‘it’s for the best’) but after ten minutes you just get overly emotional. The only thing keeping me sane was the hot summer sun tanning me up like a bronzed chicken.
Getting Snow Patrol to play an extended set is like getting racially abused for ten minutes, before being given the opportunity to then get whipped and beaten for a further two hours.
All that palaver finished, me and my brother enjoyed Ocean Colour Scene rolling back the years. Alas, the cheerful feeling soon oblitarated when a message flagged up on the big screen. ‘Oasis are cancelling tonight due to illness’. I genuinely thought it was a joke – but it wasn’t. The band I’d paid 160 green queens to see had cancelled on me like a particularly cruel mistress. The weirdest thing was, the audience response was more of a muted sigh than anger. Maybe the rumours of the split are true after all.
Rubbish day Sunday, always fucking hated them. Only Seth Lakeman was any good, getting a surprisingly good pop for his folk fiddle. The rest of the day is a blur of despair, anger and about 50 bottles of Sprite. I don’t really know what I was expecting from V, but it was more than sluts pissing in the middle of a crowd, throwing cups up into the air, and the attempted rape made on me by a gallant young men in a stetson.
Overall, I’d only recommend V Festival if you’re a cunt.