Tag Archives: festivals

Some People Think I’m Bonkers..Part 2

By the time it came to head for Hatfield I truly had started to wonder if I was bonkers as none of the journeys were happening as predicted. Cheltenham marathon road closures required an additional trip from Bristol to collect daughter the night before to avoid being trapped. Abandoning the car at the hotel we headed for Hatfield House to join the throngs all walking purposefully towards the arena. Tickets & covid passes at the ready to enjoy this day festival that predominantly features punk rock with dashes of rock & alternative music thrown into the mix. Gutted that Waterparks had to pull out due to a crew member testing positive & depriving us not only of their main set but the intimate acoustic set we were glad to learn that none of their team became seriously ill.

The definition of ‘resilience’ apparently is the capacity too ‘recover quickly from difficulties’ & 2020 certainly tested mine. Plans repeatedly having to be changed often at short notice it was hard to keep up at times. However as someone with a natural tendency towards contingency planning I was able to refer to my (if somewhat hastily cobbled together) list of alternative set options which kept us at the ‘Key Club Left & Right Hand’ Stages for most of the day.

The Popes of Chillitown

First up was The Popes of Chillitown, a wild card recommend which proved a good one. Hot on there heels were The Hara who had undergone a dramatic metamorphosis since I watched one of their early music videos via Twitter. Still the set was for me the most entertaining of the day & I shall look out for them in the future as their sound was definitely my sort of listen. I also love a ‘front man’ who can engage with the crowd it makes such a good atmosphere & infinitely more memorable show.

The Hara

Roaming around in the unseasonably warm sunshine drinking cold beer, eating & listening to al sort of bands that included Doll Skin & Boston Manor it was great be regaining that sense of freedom so savagely snatched by 2020.

The Hara in action

Confession time I have never imbibed a Jaeger Bomb so I felt a tad guilty when beckoned to have a go on their 360 video thing. However in the spirit of my personal mantra “Feeling crazy lets not waste it” it would have felt rude to refuse so below is what they recorded.

Jaegermeister 360

With no desire to re live Boardmasters ‘sardines in a tent’ experience where at one point my feet were not actually touching the ground I had to forego the Trash Boat set in favour of the merch tent. It was tough resisting the temptation to buy any more tee shirts but I probably own more than I think I could now wear before I die. So I distracted my self by engaging in an interesting conversation with the manager of Normandie, a Swedish Band whom recently added to the growing list of new bands I like listening to.


Anyone at a festival will send the average step counter off the scale & we were no exception so consequently felt no guilt over consuming vegan wraps & donuts! Mcfly drew a large crowd & lead singer egged the crowd on by creating a fun if slightly nostalgic atmosphere until all were heartily singing along.

Main Stage at Night

As the sunset over the main stage & headliners played we made our way back to the hotel as neither of us are Don Bronco fan’s. I have tried but sadly their music just doesn’t do it for me. Guess it would be dull if we all liked the same things & it didn’t detract from what had been an awesome day.

Next morning we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before heading back to Bristol & YAMAS at the O2. Thankfully we cadged a lift into the city centre as the thought of driving any more miles that day was not appealing & it also meant we could have a drink or several.

The queue was long so we missed the first support act which was a shame because the line up was great. YAMAS played a fabulous set list which enabled the crowd to really sing along and despite feeling a bit tired the evening was well worth it.

Back home with a day or two to repack the bag & wait to see if the trip to Glasgow was on or not.

Stay safe everyone & look out for part three.

Some People Think I’m Bonkers..Part 1

Others may consider me bonkers but in all honesty my mantra for the past six weeks or so truly has been ‘but I just think I’m free’ too over indulge in live music events. Covid restrictions saw to it that the events originally scheduled across the whole of 2020 were due to multiple date changes all condensed in to this small time window.

The mayhem kicked off with the adventure to Newquay to catch up with festival buddy Pauline at Boardmasters. I felt as if I had been cast in some strange ‘reality tv show’ with the possibility of eviction ever present on the say so of a single positive lateral flow test. Before during & after was filled with nerve wracking moments as one waited for the vital pink line to emerge granting you permission on to the next event.

Given that horrendous weather had derailed Boardmasters in 2019 only to be cancelled again due to covid in 2020 it felt exciting to be a part of it in 2021. Indeed nothing blew the lingering post lockdown blues away quicker than exchanging happy banter whilst checking tickets & dishing out wristbands to hundreds of fellow festival goers.

Off shift we got to listen to live music & explore the local area which I had not visited since my twenties. Originally a surfer meet due to the quality of the waves I guiltily confess to having thrown a wet suit & boogie board in the car that I didn’t actually get around to using them.

It was almost impossible not to be moved by the various artists emotional response to stepping out on various stages after what was almost two years. Some voiced how they had begun to think live performance was a thing of the past & others how strange it was to play music that had been released yet never toured so they had no idea of how their fans were going to respond. They needn’t have worried though as the crowds cheered and danced as the alcohol flowed (which was amazing in itself given the prices) but it certainly was great to be able to see so many happy people.

Whilst not a Dizzee Rascal, fan listening to this live rendition of Bonkers by the artist supported by the crowd of thousands enthusiastically singing along it did make me consider just how important music is to lots of people. Personally I would have found dealing with the long weeks of lockdown so much harder without it.

Festivals are all about discovering new music & Inhaler were definitely a good find but also I found the personality of Beccy Hill & Maisie Peters very compelling though their style very different. Newquay hasn’t changed over much & catching the double decker bus that ferried us along the coast road brought back many memories.

The chaos caused by an incident on the road before me forced an unscheduled break in what was initially an empty rest area. As the car park filled & not wishing to sit for hours in a traffic jam I decided to cut across the Moors. Not quite a short cut it certainly was a journey down memory lane as I whizzed past pubs & places last frequented with hubby when we first started going out together nearly forty years ago. Amazingly most looked to still be in business so I think we will have to put a revisit on the ‘too do’ list.

No sooner home the grubby camping gear was washed, sorted & repacked ready for Reading Festival about 10 days later. Still involving water this festival flanks the banks of the River Thames. Reading I have discovered is my ‘musical home’ such were the plethora of bands I wanted to see I had to make a complex schedule on the back of my shift sheet. Sad & old school maybe but when the app was down it made for easy decisions on where & when to dash between stages to maximise listening potential.

In my stewards tabard I started to feel like the ‘patron saint of lost things’ successfully reuniting the tearful & very grateful man to his lost phone which contained his whole universe to the lad who arrived minus his glasses at the remote gate I was on. His powers of navigation had been nullified by what ever he had been imbibing as he was resolutely walking in completely the wrong direction into the dark wilds of Berkshire. Escorting him to the festival entrance & the bridge back to ‘Neverland’ (well the festival campsite & his mates at least) left me musing that none of these tasks featured in the steward training sessions.

Bands in my experience recently are a bit like buses – you might wait a long time to see one but then they all come along at once. I had tried to get tickets to see Biffy Clyro many times & failed miserably so I jumped with joy when I finally got tickets for a gig in Glasgow.

With all the lockdown restrictions in addition to the Scottish rules I began to despair of seeing them at all until the music gods took pity and it was revealed they were to play at Reading in addition to You me @Six.


Until then I had only seen YAMAS in smaller venues so that was a real unexpected treat. Due to the shift patterns I could only catch a bit of my favourite band The Hunna by ‘dashing’ from one side of the arena in the ubiquitous speed walk of a nurse traversing a hospital corridor dodging people & obstacles. Just one of many odd transferable skills that have proved useful in retirement.

Despite the risk of a dousing from ‘beer’ ( rather not think of the alternative warm liquid it might have been) randomly thrown into the crowd my favourite off duty haunt was The Pit or Lockup Tent.


From the quirky Waterparks with front man Awsten Knight’s madcap antics & generally upbeat tunes to the dark often quite challenging lyrics in songs by Badflower. It was amazing to see both bands actually had been able to leave the USA to appear at the festival as nothing was a given due to the effects of covid & the ever changing rules. The icing on the cake was Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes appearing as the ‘surprise guest act’ with their ‘old school style’ slightly angry, shouty punk which for me summed up a lot of what was making many currently angry.

Saying thank you & cheerio to Pauline for again being a great festival buddy it was time to sit in the car for several hours in order to leave the site. It took longer to drive the mile or two up the winding track into reading than the entire journey home. This time tent was aired and packed away & bags re packed for the next trip the following weekend.

Take care for now & back shortly with Part 2.

Kick the bath chair aside & crank up the music!

Age it seems creeps upon you. One morning take look in the mirror & ‘boom’ the saggy wrinkly face peering back at you is non other than yourself. Especially scary when you feel your chronological age is not instep with the one in your mind.

alt="crowd in front main stage Slam-dunk festival"
Slamdunk Hatfield 2019 – My slightly unconventional retirement present from work

This together with the heap of stereotypical abuse that society then feels it can slather you in makes it all to put your hands up, sit meekly back in the bath chair that someone has surreptitiously shoved at the back of your knees & give up completely. Resist this at all costs my friends & by what ever means open to you!

What then if you don’t want to conform to this? Well then the minute you venture to put your head above the parapet you risk not becoming the curiosity of youth but deluged in the jeers of your peers. Sarcastic remarks about being some sort of groupie from contemporaries I found particularly distasteful. Is it my fault that my musical taste is not become frozen in aspic like a few I know? I still love music from the past & often the memories those tunes evoke but no where I have I read in the small print does it say you can’t make new ones too.

Given the fact that I am probably old enough (in some but not all cases) to be the mum of some of the musicians I now follow. However I have no particular desire to meet them in person I merely appreciate the music they produce. The exception to this is possibly the connection with Danny mainly because approached me initially for post gig feedback. This triggered a sequence of events that led to my song being written & therefore the only artist I would sign up for any sort of post gig ‘meet & greet’ stuff. So why do others feel it ok to make snide comments which instantly make you doubt the validity of what you are doing & that it is somehow wrong or sleazy in some way. It annoys me intensely & I wish they would keep their nasty opinions & smirks to themselves.

Having loved rock music ever since a teenager & for a few years when the kids were young entered a musical wilderness when opportunities for listening were limited. The advent of streaming has reopened a new opportunity to find and listen to new music in the same genre. Time, opportunity & money as a young person precluded me going to live gigs of the music I most loved so why is it now viewed so weirdly that I wish to redress this while I can.

Refreshingly though working & socialising with younger people at music festivals this year some of these misconceptions were parked. Me knowing all the words to the songs was probably less shocking than the fact that I (unlike some of them) could still touch my toes & stay up past 9pm without falling asleep.

Indeed one woeful looking young chap clearly assumed he was ‘stuck for an 8 hour shift with two boring old biddies’ underwent a bit of a reformation. Probably because by the end of it he had discovered we were both infinitely more widely travelled than him, could hold a conversation about coding & knew a few self defence moves. Talk about taking a metaphorical wrecking ball to someones preconcieved ‘model of what older women’ were like. I bumped into him at another festival & was greeted like a long lost buddy – so I’m optimistic that these barriers can be brought down.

I think its important to stress at this point I by no means wish to ‘be young again’ I am more comfortable in my own if somewhat baggy skin that I have ever been. It’s great to have found the inner confidence to start to please myself and not be tying myself up in knots of worry about what others think which has manifested itself in a tattoo. Thinking back to years of overthinking & anxiety about stuff that looking back really wasn’t worth it – I now look to the visual art as a permanent reminder.

alt="tattoo locket with text inset & tree lined road plus flower motif"
my mantra – feeling crazy lets not waste it

Starting the blog was initially to record some of my travels but as time as gone on I think it will be more of means of expressing how I feel about things at this stage of my life. A link on Twitter today encouraged the need to find a personal ‘strap line’ that would help define your raison d’etre – simples mine is ‘feeling crazy let’s not waste it’. Ironically penned by a young man it encapsulates how I am approaching life at the moment.

I joked about being an ‘honorary millennial’ when travelling with my daughter but curiously this notion has persisted. I am currently part of a couple of musical chat groups where I felt judging by the comments I was considerably older than the others. This did give me cause for concern & I asked them how they felt about this because I wasn’t sure if it was ok. Both groups said it was ok and indeed one of them changed my knick name to ‘rock mum’ & were fascinated by the fact that I had been around at time punk rock had been born! It means that we have quite interesting dialogue about music & give each other advice on an odd assortment of things.

alt="small festival tent"
my ‘home from home’

Communicating & working with those of different age to yourself enables both to recognise and value the skills & knowledge that others have to offer. Nothing earns you more respect when you charmingly blag your way past the security man at a festival assisting the group on their quest to visit the silent disco when others were being turned away. I swear some were taking notes!! This was later traded for some insider information on the more baffling aspects of social media speak that had long puzzled me and has helped prevent me from making a number of gaffs.

So for now I’m going to resist any attempt to sit me in a bath chair by chanting my self affirming mantra & playing my music very loudly.