From fest to worst

‘Tis the season for music festivals, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-laaah…

Unless you’re me, that is. Because I don’t go to festivals. In fact, I’ve never been to one.

Literally, not once. And that’s including the likes of Slane, which hardly counts as it’s one day. Somehow, I’ve managed to avoid attending a single festival my entire life.

This probably seems weird to you. That’s fair enough: it is weird.

Like, I’m not a hermit. I’m not in prison or incarcerated in a mental asylum – say, one of them ones off the telly where the guards are sadists and don’t let you out in the sunlight. I’m not too skint to afford a ticket. I’ve only lived abroad for four months.

And – most pertinently – I like music. I like hearing it live. I like having fun. I like meeting other human beings. I like drinking eighteen cans a day for a weekend until my brain goes into shut-down and I run around wearing a single boot, cowboy hat and maniacal grin last seen on Jack Nicholson as he smashes that door with an axe in The Shining.

Ah, good times.

All of this would suggest that festivals are ideal for me. (I don’t like camping, admittedly, but you can avoid that.) Yet I’ve never actually made it to one, and I’m not sure why.

My refusenik tendencies stretch back to the 1990s and the original “big” festival, Feile. That was also called the Trip to Tipp, which makes it even more pathetic that I didn’t attend, because I lived in Tipp. I mean, goddamn, it was just up the road.

My older siblings and some friends were rocking over to Thurles one of the days – an hour away – and tried to cajole me to come. I didn’t bother, despite the fact that a pile of my favourite bands were playing.

Instead, I flopped out on the couch, staring dully at whatever drivel was on TV and smoking fags (you were allowed smoke indoors in those days) and basically doing nothing. I presume this was the main lure of staying at home: I got to do nothing, one of my favourite things to do (or not).

Is that lazy or what? That is laaazeeee. That’s the sort of laziness you’d almost be proud of, if it weren’t so shameful.

Electric Picnic is probably the festival I most regret not attending, if only because it seems tailor-made for a pretentious media tosser like me: hip bands, vegan food, herds of poseurs, build-your-own-yurt demos, and so on.

Kraftwerk played in 2005, as did LCD Soundsystem, Goldfrapp, De La Soul. I knew they were all appearing. And I didn’t bother going.

No, scratch that: my greatest festival regret is Slane 2003. Check this out for a line-up: PJ Harvey, Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Someone remind me again: why did I not go to this concert? I’d have given my right arm to see any or all of them play live. (Or your right arm, at the very least). But, as is the constant refrain of my existence…I couldn’t be bovvered.

The worst thing is, I’m now getting a bit old for festivals anyway. I know, in theory music events are for everyone, regardless of age, sex, race, creed, weight, hair colour or views on European fiscal unity vis-à-vis corporate taxation and budgetary surplus.

In reality, though, I sometimes think it looks kind of depressing, seeing some bloke shuffling around with a mob of people a decade younger than him. At best, you come across as a sad and lonely man whose kids have kicked him out of the house and he’s nowhere else to go; at worst, you could be mistaken for a leering pervert.

This is grand if you really are a leering pervert, not so good otherwise.

So remember me, when you’re boogying to The One Directionals or Paulie Nutella or whoever this summer. I’ll be at home, attending  The Festival of Tears. Acts: me. Audience: me.


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