Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Building a Bridge

After picking up my bottom lip I went into the festival grounds with a whole different attitude. I was thinking in general about the first friends I had that were into the same music as me. They liked metal but they liked a huge range of old and new rock and metal and they would have made themselves fit in. That’s the same attitude I would have normally had, confident and enjoying myself and probably not noticing any of the negativity. I think the fact that I felt like I was invisible to Courtney and that he was indifferent to my presence is what amplified everything else.

For some reason I had an old friend, the hairdresser I’ve mentioned, in my head at the time. She liked some music the rest of us didn’t but she would crank it out and try and get us into it. She would have loved it here, hit the guys that were ‘possessed with fire and darkness’ with a comeback and kept drinking. It helped that when I walked from camp to the stage I passed a group of friends sat smack bang in the middle of the run way, one filming, most watching, and one singing and playing guitar. He looked exactly like the friend that inspired my dragon tattoo (I can’t hyperlink from here but search ‘Why Teenagers Shouldn’t Get Tattoos’) and sounded like my friends best friend. A bizarre amalgamation of the two, doing exactly what we would have been doing if they were here.

When I entered the festival grounds, they seemed like a drop in the ocean compared to any festival I’d ever been to before. It’s only a very short walk from the tent as it is, and you enter through a huge marquee on the side of the campground. That first night, the bands were on a stage inside that tent, very small, very up close and personal. Passing through that marquee the grounds opened up into a big square. On one side was the singular mainstage and around the edges were merchandise and food stalls. You could have stood at the furthest possible point from the stage and still seen the band clearly. There were no big screens at all, because they just weren’t necessary.

I wandered around the stalls and eventually bumped into Courtney. We wandered some more around the t-shirt stands and then decided to stop for dinner while there was a break between good bands. On each of the three days of the festival, the bands play successively, one at a time with a 15 minute break in between for changing over gear. There is no overlapping of bands, no timetable clashes, no racing to get to the next stage. No alternatives when the band that is on isn’t one you want to see. Between bands, the entire crowd disperses and doesn’t reconvene in front of the stage until they hear the first song. If you want to be front row, you can just walk there as the band starts, except maybe for each night’s headliner.

On this first night though, there were no bands on the mainstage, just inside the marquee. We stood to the side of the stage just outside the marquee eating currywurst and fries only metres from the band. When they finished we picked a spot to sit on the field and finish dinner before heading back to the tent. Courts left at one point to see another band but it’s really easy to do that. The grounds are so compact that you can go to your tent between every band if you really want.

And so day one was over, I survived, Courts was happy, and my love of mayonnaise on fries (which is normal over here) was once again renewed.