Today I’m off to a one day music festival (Hideaway festival) in Henley-on-Thames. Having spent a large portion of my formative teenage years in Henley I’m looking forward to going back, seeing some old friends and drinking cider in the sunshine (provided the weather holds out).
I’m particularly looking forward to seeing singer-songwriter, Megan Henwood, and “urban reggae heavyweights,” Laid Blak, perform. I first saw Megan sing at an intimate gig in Reading organised by a friend of mine, and was mesmerised by the rawness of her lyrics and the ethereal quality of her voice. Afterwards I snapped up her album and have listened to it countless times since. Laid Blak are a different kettle of fish entirely but no less brilliant-I saw them at last year’s Secret Garden Party festival and this year’s Glastonbury and loved them both times-especially their fab cover of Bob Marley’s ‘Don’t worry.’
As I’ve got older my desire to hang out in sweaty clubs until 6am has certainly waned, yet my love of festivals is still going strong. Whereas once I had the fleeting thought I’d have to stop going to festivals once I’d passed my early thirties, now I’m here I can quite see myself at Glastonbury ten years from now, cider in hand and a big grin plastered on my face.
What I love most about festivals besides the music is the fact they are so inclusive. Whereas going to certain clubs beyond the age of 30 might elicit odd looks from the pre-pubescent clubbers therein (and at this point I refer back to my recent experience of Audio club in Brighton-horrific), by and large at festivals nobody cares how old you are. Everyone’s just in the same muddy boat, and despite the inevitable rain, punctured mattresses and overflowing portaloos it’s simply fabulous.
Also, whether they last for a day or a week, festivals offer a much-needed opportunity to cut loose and forget about the outside world. They enable grown adults to act like teenagers again, albeit only for a few hours. Getting together with friends in a field full of live music and cider tents-surely that’s what life’s about?