John Leech gives us a run down of some of the things that piss him off at Ireland’s larger boutique festivals like the Electric Picnic.
Eco Cups: Nice idea, but a royal pain in the ass. €3 deposit on the re-usable cup makes your first pint €8. The chances of hanging on to it until the bar closes (at the civilised off-license hour of 10pm) are nil. So you won’t be buying just one cup over three days. While it keeps the Heineken controlled zones ‘cleaner’, it creates a scavenger’s economy where people run around frantically with a stack as high as their head, capitalising on your inability to hold an extra item between beer runs
Girls coming into the Guy’s “toilet” area: Okay ladies, we know ye have to queue for ages. We know that life is unfair and imbalanced. But listen, it’s already degrading enough for us to be lined up pissing into a trough alongside twenty perfect strangers like a horde of Barbarians, without members of the opposite sex spectating as they wait for a private pod.
Running into people you know, but aren’t ‘at’ the festival with: Few things are more irritating than this because it reoccurs for the whole weekend: Cue the slew of usual suspect exchanges: “sure, giz a text, we might see ya after?” Lookit, if we didn’t organise to come up here together, odds are that you have as little interest in hanging out with me as I do with your good self, so feck off out of it.
The Fuzz: Keep everything inside an empty bag of Monster Munch in a sack of rubbish between your tents.
Moving in large groups: The gang leaves the camp site en mass to catch a performance Jimmy’s gotta run to the loo? Fair enough so, we’ll hang on here for him. Seeing as he’s going anyway, Sarah decides to grab a quick hot dog from the stand barely visible 100 yards North-east of our position. Just as we’re starting to give up on her, Sean realises he’s left his camera back at the tent, and legs it back (so as not to miss any of those amazing shots you get half a mile away from the stage with the band entirely obscured by the supernova of the lighting rig). Upon Jimmy’s return, everybody else is bursting ‘cos they’ve been skulling cans out of boredom for half an hour.. Not worth it. Navigate in 3’s or 4’s at the most or you’ll miss half the shaggin’ festival.
Tent Peg Wires: Maneuvering through a camp site in the dark, littered with nigh on invisible trip wires whilst trying to identify which of the 12,000 Gazebos you’re camped next to can be a cumbersome process at the best of times. After 40 units of alcohol, 6 pills and a half a wrap of K, it’s just downright dangerous and a potential health risk.
Overzealous Timetable-Centric Friends: “Right! So, if we can eat breakfast in seven seconds flat we should be able to catch the last half of George Clinton’s set. Then if we use the Jet-Packs I left under your chair, we can make a B-line for the Pyramid Stage and see around 15 minutes of Björk, but absolutely no more than that! Because I’ve arranged for Colm Meaney to beam us back to the Body and Soul area to see Dennis Hopper eat a snake in aid of Amnesty International. Okay, everyone ready?”
Vodka Jelly Shots & N20: Every year there are a group of Aussies who roll around with backpacks selling three Vodka jelly shots for a tenner. Many punters succumb to the novelty, at which stage they produce a canister of Nitrous Oxide and reveal that they are in fact pedaling balloons of the delightful gas for a fiver. Hey, I’m not complaining, but why sucker me in with the jelly shots that’ll do fuck all for me when you’re muling a perfectly wondrous psychotropic? A bit of straight talk goes a long way lads.
Rampaging Rumors: With phone batteries dwindling, and disconnection from the bosom of the world media, it’s generally on the Sunday morning that the most unfathomable of fake headlines are touted by word of mouth. In 2007 George Bush was assassinated by the Freemasons, 2008 saw David Bowie releasing a spoken word album entirely in Hebrew, and with sad irony in 2009 it was said that Amy Winehouse had died, albeit in a plane crash. It’s a curious phenomenon however that highlights both our dependence on information, along with the existence of mischievous jokers who exploit that weakness.
Illustration by Luke Fallon.