Underneath it all: Reading 2012

The Pandemonium at Reading Station is an unfortunate reminder that we never do really learn. In it’s 41st year, even the American visiting bands know the extremities of the crowds now. Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl talked at length about the increasing crowd numbers and notoriety of Reading Festival, yet as I sit on the tube scrambling my way home it’s not the poor facilities on site that have left me a stinking mess, it’s the challenge of escaping the site itself.

Trying to leave train station!

Arrival at the town is a more amenable memory as numerous stewards and helpers navigated tens of thousands of visitors onto £1 busses and right up until this morning I have been in the fortunate position of remaining clean and refreshed throughout. I appreciate this isn’t everyones experience as I do have the perks of press camping and facilites, the price of this paid through unnecessarily rigorous security checks. As you can imagine, I wasn’t delighted to have been forced to miss a good 10 minutes of Kaiser Chiefs because the woman at the press office pressed the metal bar on my wrist band three times instead of twice and the guard obviously saw me to be some kind of security threat.

Guard: “When did you get this band? why do you have three stamps?”
Me: “Friday, I don’t know, I didn’t stamp it”
Guard: “but they are only supposed to stamp it twice”
Me: “I don’t know why it’s stamped three times. I only went out to get some food!”
Guard: “Do you have ID on you?”
Me: “No, I dont generally get asked for ID at the burger bar”
Guard: “Ok, I need your name and the name of who you are guesting for. I need to check this out further”
Press Lady: “Oh yea, she’s been around the press tent all weekend, I stamped her band”

And STILL the guard goes on! In the back ground ‘I Predict a Riot’ is hitting it’s peak and I’m going to bloody miss it over a band!

So the grass isn’t always greener – just incase you were wondering 😉

Reading is a big one for me. Aged 15 (nearly 16) my b/f took me there as my first ever festival, from memory I think Deftones and Marylin Manson headlined but really, I was pretty drunk for most of it but the experience was awesome. Within about five minutes we had made new friends full of crazy stories. Having forgotten my tent poles a scour of the woodland area provided me with a suitable improvisation in the form of fallen branches and the tent got graded second worst on the Orange field. Yes, there was another worse than mine!

Reading 2000

Several rounds or Reading/Leeds in the following years gave me the bug for watching some of the biggest band names in the world – early days these were all up close as we were well up for reaching the front barriers, in later days following a bad experience at the Dandy Warholes set I opted for a little more distance and the advantage of looser crowds. Although not as serious as others experience I can not only confirm that sexual abuse does occur at festivals but that security are (were?) completely unwilling to deal and at the time I was left in a very vulnerable position surrounded by the initial aggressor and a suitably intimidating number of his friends. Now days I’d confidently land a pretty strong strike somewhere unpleasant, such is the glory of hindsight.

Asides from that I got my first ‘Ash’ experience at the main stage and was blown away by headline act Muse and their magnificent light display into the summer night. Those moments do have a way of creeping into the recesses of the mind, but as the years have gone on and I’ve explored other festivals with completely different music focuses much of the feelings experienced are committed to the moments of photographs captured at the time.

So to return, to see the set-up nearly identical to all those years ago (11 since the most recent visit) and wander about the fields and the mash of different sub-cultures has brought about a wave of mixed feelings. Being there alone, for instance (technically part of a team but only in passing) is and absurd way to re-live the weekend. The fear of wash-out seems so much worse stuck on your own, using the wrong poles to erect the tent (apparently I have a thing with poles!) and, under watchful eyes make the call to dismantle and start again, to go on a hunt for food and make the toss up between sitting alone in Tobys Carvery or grabbing a burger – none of these are reasons that drive me to work these events!

Arriving on the Friday was a peculiar experience – I had woken at midday on Thursday afternoon and failed to fit in any sleep before my nightshift. I completed the nightshift and went straight to the festival – although my rucksack felt far heavier than it should have done I didn’t feel too worse for wear! I met the team and headed out to the main stage for Coheed and Cambria, You Me at Six and Paramore, all on my review list. All were awesome and I was in my element. The reviews were all in on time before headliners The Cure were on and, as my writing partner was down for that review I could happily kick back and watch.

Coheed and Cambria Review

Paramore – totally converted!

Paramore Review

Santigold – Bonkers!!

Santigold Review

During this time I met a fantastic guy from Leeds whos’ girlfriend works in PR and didn’t want to leave the VIP area. We talked at length about the excitement of actually being in front of the stage as opposed to luxury pens, band types, eras, work and the music industry. Before our goodbyes we danced to Love Cats – these are the little things that make festivals so wonderful. These random people that you will only ever meet once – but that make moments in time fantastic memories.

Over the days I took refuge in the press tent to get things written up and avoid the torrential downpour. The press tent is always an interesting experience, a cross between various companies claiming space, the access to power (really, utterly de-hydrated and desperate for water I STILL found myself prioritising charge for phone / computer first!), a splash of hospitality and bands wandering in and out for their interview and photo slots. There is always and element of regret involved as the professional side gives way to allowing the bands their space and to get on with it and the missed opportunity to introduce yourself. The most frustrating experience of this weekend has to be when Dry The River were in for interview – as the review covers, bassist Scott gave away his shirt tagged with twitter name @scottoftheriver – after a cheeky text I got a response to say he would get a shirt for me. Having learned they are local to my home I replied to suggest delivering in person… then ran into the press tent to collect my phone and literally nearly ran straight into Scott! Seeing they were with an interviewer I could but give a cheeky grin and go about my own business.

That particular experience was on the Saturday, by far the most challenging day for me as I had six bands to cover. This translates literally to timing toilet breaks in accordance with bands and locations. Dashing across the fields to reach various fields can be tricky and so I did a quick early morning rekki of the field to get my bearings. That’s the best move I have ever made in my life. Preparing to settle in front of the front stage I took a final wander to a neighbouring tent when I saw a sight that I desperately would have loved to have filmed if only I had the battery. Thousands, literally thousands of people running through the arena entrance and heading to the NME tent to the rear of the field. (Rear, from my perspective, front to most). It took a minute for the penny to drop – Green Day. This is something I’d chatted about to PR girls’ b/f. The rumours we all knew to be true, Green Day were going to make a ‘secret’ appearance. This had been announced as cancelled due to security risk and the replacement rumour was 12:30 – here I was at 10am, most of the camp still fast asleep and my legs were spinning cartoon style as I propelled myself across the full length of the green into the centre of the tent. I’ve never felt so F*king lucky about a sequence of events as I did then. Later reports emphasised that luck as the barriers were erected and only a limited number made it anywhere near the tent. Now, another of our team in the know covered the review – which is just as well as I had no way of making notes and my headspace was full of buzz, but I will update WordPress with my own as it was truly extraordinary.

Behind the scenes I also had the pleasure of meeting the PunkTastic team and Jake Thomson from Kerrang Radio, not to mention my own team (always great to meet others from Virtual Festivals) including the editor! Amazing to be able to put an actual person to the e-mails. Some of our 5-strong team are pros in the industry, myself and the other writer are just passionate music fans working in the real world. Both public sector, incidentally. Unfortunately Kai was pick-pocketed during one of the sets – I can’t emphasise just how lousey this is when you’re part of a writing team. As is the nature of what we do, all of our notes get stored on phones until the opportunity to forward it etc. I’ve got a small degree of backup (when the press setup is as good as it was at Reading) as iphone and ipad communicate with each other as long as they are both online. This means that all of my notes back-up at regular intervals. Unfortunately Kai lost the lot with his phone which was painful for him and downright depressing for the entire team as that’s we all felt that pain. Worse still it took one of our team completely out of the loop, meaning that flash news and meeting points could no longer be communicated.

Throughout the Saturday I managed to complete my quota with Blood Red Shoes, Dry The River, Santigold, Jaguar Skills, Katy B, and Kasabian. There is often an element of bias in my review selection, I have admittedly reviewed Blood Red Shoes before, I just love them. For two people to hold a stage like that is amazing, their crowds were tremendous and they were genuinely excited to be there. Dry the River is a band that I caught at IOW but didn’t have enough knowledge to get a review squeezed in (it’s pretty essential to know the songs otherwise remembering the music/descriptions is difficult and time consuming). Jaguar Skills, I was just curious?

Blood Red Shoes Review
Jaguar Skills Review
Dry The River Review
You Me at Six Review

I had a terrible experience at Katy B which I can’t fully explain, however I managed to get something totally wrong and mail my editor who swiftly got it out as a news story. As the realisation of my mistake took hold I felt pretty sick and dizzy, I genuinely wanted the ground to swallow me whole. I felt techy at the tight crowd, at Katy B and the festival as a whole. Thankfully the set was SO great that I managed to put it to the back of my mind (after painfully having to admit the error) and got on with what I was there to do – watch the goddamn show. This was further helped by Kasabians’s set which was pretty kewl. The last time I saw Kasabian was not that long ago and to no more thatn 30 people including their mates. Somehow they propelled to this – crowds as far as the eye can see. I felt a little despondent at the fact Kaiser Chiefs got shafted with 3rd from headline on Sunday nights bill, personally I think they deserve as much as Kasabian however the show was pretty awesome.

Katy B Review

For a headline act I don’t think my review was one of my better ones, re-reading the next day it felt a bit wooden.

Kasabian Review

That’s not a great feeling as a writer but I had more to be getting on with – so I thought. My Skint’s slot had been duplicated by the Leeds team (can hardly blame them, anyone catching The Skints are bound to want to shout about them). With The Gaslight Anthem I moved past this only to discover half way through the set that this had been covered by out Metro reviewer. Gutted. At that point I realised that I do this as much for the love of writing as I do for the music. Without the review to compile I lost the edge I was looking for and excitement waned.


Despite all my misgivings at that point in time, headliners Foo Fighters were still to come. I felt genuinely nervous. I want at this point so badly for this to me a memory of a lifetime, but the Leeds review was a damp squib at 7/10. I won’t relay the entire review here, but they didn’t disappoint. Imainge, Grohl stated “This is just about the most important night of my F*cking Liiife” – to be there, part of it only a matter of meters away for a whole 3 hours of songs that invoked some memories from obscure recesses of the mind…

This is it. This is the feeling I do it for, nothing else in the world makes me feel as alive as being stood in front of a main stage watching history be made. I know most people aren’t quite as sentimental about these things but really, there is probably something else in their life that they are. This is it for me. I furiously typed for about an hour back at the tent which was utterly therapeutic. Struggling with the final line I had a quick break to mull it over. As it happened the editor had something up her sleeve already to round up the review with – reference to Neil Armstrong. What a way to go out.

By Monday morning I was the last remaining member of the team. I lay awake listening to the conversations surrounding me and decided I really didn’t care much about getting out before the crowds or getting home early. This changed, obviously, as the patter of rain saw me pack my tent in record time (I swear it was less than 3 minutes which isn’t bad given my stuff all needed packing and I’d opted for the sturdy, heavy tent). Running into the mass crowds at the station was painful, but I did discover that arriving without a ticket was a much faster route in and somehow ended up on an empty train back to Paddington, full of Burger King goodness.

I am now at home, listening to Kerrang Radio as Jake Thomson is on from 3-7. I am in chatter with Scott from Dry the River on Twitter and am planning my first feature article in years. The quirks, the perks – they might not be everyone’s cup of tea but I wouldn’t have it any other way.


The Foo Fighters and fireworks!

Foo Fighters Review



Roundup, Isle of Wight Festival 2012 (more pics coming)

This is an assortment of snaps from my camera over the weekend. For the proper stuff, visit http://www.virtualfestivals.com or Tim Cheesman Photography

Apologies for the hicklety-picklety assortment here, still getting used to posting lots of images 😐

The crowds were phenomenal, I never get bored with seeing so many people enjoying themselves this much although it never really translates to images.

The bus was pretty funny, I took this at around 5am on Monday morning. What a mess we were… I’d have hated to see the state of that later in the day.

Brucey Boy – The Boss.

Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band

The Vaccines

Ryde Pier

Bus Ryde… more mud

Lana Del Rey – ain’t she gorgeous?

Main arena

Walking to the pier head in the morning

Sky’s hot air balloon

The Virgin Marys

Sunny Swamp

Swamp again

Main arena

Coffee and burger houses

The Swamp
The Wheel

Suggs – Madness

Tom Petty

Walk back from Esplanade

…………….Back to reality, Of course I’m grateful for the cleanliness enliness but looking forward to Reading already!Image






Unofficial (Rejected but better) Isle of Wight festival 2012 review

Isle of Wight Festival 2012

In an exhausted muddy mess there are tears as revellers leave what has been, against all odds, a festival of successive thrills and shattered limits of expectation. Hitting the headlines on Thursday in the early hours of the afternoon due to unprecedented rainfalls, the chaos forced some to abandon tents and in some cases the island due to fully booked B&Bs to seek sanctity, but for those who were fortunate enough to escape the worst of the weather’s wrath there was plenty of compensation.

Part of the (mis) fortune has been down to method of travel, each with pros and cons but an essential consideration. Vehicles bring the added comfort of dry storage and unlimited luggage, however the fare to cross the waters from mainland is around threefold that of train fare plus ferry (£58 next-day booking from London). Despite sinking in the mud, organisers ensured 4x4s and tow trucks were on hand to get everyone out safely when leaving the site. For railway passengers, stations at Fishbourne and Portsmouth are intrinsically linked to the ferry ports and should cause no problems for wheel chair users. The crossing can be booked separately on arrival if preferred and fares remains stable over the weekend on the Wightlink, Redfunnel and Hovercraft. There are also a number of ports on the Isle, mostly the staff and locals are keen to ensure you are guided in the right direction but the choices can sound over-whelming. Essentially, from Ryde Pier Head there is one long pier that you may walk down, get a taxi or a train. No option should leave you more than a few pounds out of pocket and at the bottom of the pier the bus stand is unmissable. £5 will get you to the main camping gates with payment made on the bus. It is advisable to withdraw cash if required before the crossing as banks in Ryde are situated at the top of a daunting hill.

With a diverse line-up this is genuinely a ‘something for everyone’ event and many people found themselves surprised and new favourites they picked up along the way – Springsteen fans have fallen for Labyrinth, children have skanked to Madness and Oasis fans have seen The Darkness in a whole new light. As festivals increasingly bring generations together one woman said “I didn’t think I could do the whole festival thing like my sons, but It’s been brilliant! Apparently changing my underwear means I’ve not done it properly though…” For the inquisitive you are bound to find new bands to love, The Virgin Marys and Band Of Skulls having been particularly notable for capturing hoards of new fans this weekend. Even the mud has brought people together as support all round has been needed for everyone to make it through unscathed.

Isle of Wight is a notably eco-friendly festival with cup collectors trailing the fields regularly and an energy point where the user has to put in what they use by cycling to power the supplies. Be wary of dropping litter, this could easily lead to a telling off by other conscientious festival goers and you risk being made to retrieve such deposits. Incentives from Carling also include QR scanning to win a shower – this may not seem so worthwhile on the first day but one winner on Sunday was overjoyed and pretty smug with her window of luxury. Vodafone customers are also well catered for as they have their own stand, although queues for this are lengthy, and phone charging points.

Preparation needn’t be over the top – apart from the inevitable over-priced convenience stores there is a garage within 10 minutes walking and a range of venues awaiting festival troops including Pizza Hut, KFC, Weatherspoon (no surprises there), a £5 per head carvery and a community hut that will assist with charging, internet and other modern day essentials. All venues are prepared with hoovers and areas you can take your wellies off. Sunday roast at Weatherspoon is a military operation which is dished out at lightning speed. They also allow you to re-charge using their power sockets but they are in high demand. It is worth bearing in mind that Pizza Hut run buffet lunches – they beat the cold burgers sold at Burger Co. and other stands in the main arena. Light packing, as with all festivals is important, as is a rucksack as wheelie bags and mud don’t mix particularly well, especially when navigating through swampland. Yes, the pictures were bang on.

Within the arena itself the stalls are fairly standard with clothes, merchandise, a convenience store and food stalls. Alcohol is bought by a ticket system in which credit cards are accepted. This has it’s drawbacks, particularly if you loose a ticket or don’t drink as much as intended however when bands clash and a drink is high on the agenda the ability to directly swap a token for a beer with no queues is a saving grace.

Of most use is the Isle of Wight app, this pops up with all manners of relevant information such as spontaneous events, weather warnings, changes to schedules and easy access to the line-up. This is particularly useful during clashes, this year has seen Professor Green/Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen/Ash The Virgin Marys/Vaccines and undoubtedly many others. Good preparation is essential to get the best of the three stages as they are situated in separate fields and working through the crowds can take time.

Ferry companies have been humorously unsympathetic, separating revellers from residents, covering the seats with plastic and in some instances power hosing passengers before board – this, apparently was an unexpected bonus.

From the care of the organisers, transport companies and formidable performances from just about every band, Isle of Wight 2012 has triumphed through it’s worst year ever – bring on 2013.


Sunday and home from Isle of Wight Festival

Going to keep this a bit shorter than intended as WordPress just deleted the entire post once and it’s been a rather long day, starting yesterday…

Yesterday was spent running between fields to catch as much of everything as I could. Band of Skulls, I was told was a ‘must see’. They were fantastic, but I know so little about them I opted against reviewing. Attempting to trek to my tent, a certain beat escaped the Big Top tent and like bacon sarnies in the morning I was drawn in, circling and hoping that The Virgin Marys would be lousey I found myself at the front of the crowd clapping, dancing and grinning ear to ear. I felt like Anthony Wilson discovering the Sex Pistols in 24 hour party people. Only I’m not a producer, wealthy or willing to sign a contract in blood. Again, I wished I could get a review in as these guys are going to storm the scene however due to lack of knowledge there was barely the time if I was to catch the Vaccines.

Darting straight back to the vaccines, not remotely concerned that my wellies were blistering up my feet with running around I was in for a big surprise. Boardmasters last year was good, but for me not brilliant. This year they delivered.

The Vaccines

The Gallaghers don’t really do it for me so I skipped that to get on with writing whilst I could be rigged up to the mains. Backstage was a famous presenter who I still can’t find on Google filming and doing photo-shoots. By the sounds of it Matt Cardle also took bit of a shot at one of the production team (in a good way) but knowing neither I don’t have the details or follow up story! Sky’s money seemed to be invested in a hot air balloon that I didn’t get to see take off but have pics for you later and also a giant Peacock. ?!

I met Laura Williams also working for VF this year although her main job is with 24/7 South West covering fests, she had the unenviable challenge of digging out backstage gossip and news worthy stories. I on the other hand was free to go watch Bruce Springsteen – Wow wow wow, didn’t quite expect to enjoy it so much!

Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band

I did get a cheeky scoot over to Ash and not seeing their whole set was by far the biggest disappointment of the weekend. Still, having the fireworks go off on one of the very rare occasions I was in the VIP pen was incredible, not sure what could have beat that. I was also made up that I had been so certain something big was going to happen, I’d even saved the thought in text notes to myself! I’m sure people thought I was crazy texting throughout the show but there was so much to get down.

The darkness was my pressure-free rock out at the end and I am genuinely really excited about the release of their new album. They filled the whole of the middle field both inside and out the tent. Slip-sliding home I was really grateful to The Virgin Marys for being so damn good, I would never have made it to my tent and back on time to enjoy the show.

Choosing to kip for a few hours I set my alarm for 3.30. Listening to a couple of blokes argue right above my head and later a tractor driving by I was still awake when the alarm sounded. The photographer also wanted to sleep another hour and so 4.30 was time to face the music.

Packing up was comical and I was pretty much alone, other than the three security guards watching me with some amusement. One eventually suggested I sack off the tent but being Scorpio, that wasn’t going to happen. I resolved to ram the entire thing into my main bag, filling it with mud in the process. I would never have made it out of the campsite on my own, after a struggle through the first hundred meters I was relieved to be offered help by the photographer who, concerned by my absence, had come to find me.

Quick plug for the photographer, Tim Cheeseman who has some wicked snaps that can’t go on VF for sizing issues blah blah… if you wanna see some of the best wait until he’s recovered and got onto the uploading, it will be worth it!


Within 15 minutes the two of us were at an empty bus station ready go go our separate (although geographically the same) ways. I was headed to Ryde to catch my ferry and en-route met a fantastic woman who had just had her first ever festival experience. Driven by her 16 yr old son who routinely heads to Reading she had been dubious but had a fantastic time. We differed in opinion regarding music, but she was very current in her tastes and will have a lot to talk about when she gets home!

Ok, so a few complications on the way home including using the wrong template for the final review. Personally I prefer it to the one that I ended up re-writing hours later so I will post it here next. I’m still running on coffee and have a house to unpack still as well as get ready for work bright and early tomorrow, so I’m gonna leave you with tent soup and protective clothing on ferry seats and get some camera snaps to you tomorrow.

Oh, and here’s the official review:
Official IOW overal review for VF



Isle of Wight Sat to Sunday – I think?

Surprisingly relaxed today. The sun is shining, great bands lined up and although I probably stink to high heaven I imagine everyone else does too. I have been particularly well organised and am pretty satisfied I’m as clean as I was ever going to be, partly thanks to back stage facilities, Pizza Hut and Weatherspoon!

So, Bands yesterday again, absolutely awesome. I did less yo-yo’ing and a little more ‘taking it all in’. At the request of the editor there are fewer but longer reviews to compromise on the technical issues such as distance and minimal power – 5% battery is pretty healthy the way things are right now. Gotta say, iPad and blue tooth keyboard is by far the most practical method I’ve ever used for a fest. With demands increasing around timing and quantity each year for the website I realised I could never have delivered in this way 6 years ago. New to music journalism and feeling like an imposter in the press tents I turned up for my first fest (Hard Rock, Hyde Park) armed with a notepad and paper. It was more than enough. I can’t begin to imagine how that could possibly work now with the live feeds, the instant reviews and with the added quantity the additional pressure to get all the facts right. On the bright side the knowledge accumulated in sheer panic to meet deadlines never leaves and comes in handy and the least expected times.

Apparently festival fever and the fears of getting trapped on camp exist pretty much in the confines of the event. People close to me are satisfied that my phone is working, that constitutes for ‘all is well’ nowdays, never mind the howing winds, driving rain and the growing going on outside my tent during the night. Said growling transpired to be man snoring in a rather peculiar fashion… in a teeny one man tent right next to mine. At 3am I woke up frozen through and donned every item of clothing I had the energy to dig out. I don’t consider myself particularly hardcore, however as several of my friends have already scarpered and I opened the tent to a wide open space once crammed with tents and a maze of ropeage I can’t be too much of a softie.

Anyhow, last night I didn’t review Biffy Clyro due to time pressures and a need for a break, but I did see them and would recommend highly. I will tell you for the music, showmanship and professionalism, women in my company last night would put it in a rather different way. Essentially there’s something for everyone there… What a relief it was though, to find someone I knew! after a couple of texts I concluded they would be too far away for me to locate. Turning to ask a question from a rather tall bloke I’d barely opened my mouth when I heard “ANJAAAAA” right down my ear – it was the same colleague from work I’d been texting and the text still hadn’t reached her, one and only co-incidence of fest but a great one.

After arranging to re-group for Pearl Jam the crowds had multiplied and there was no chance of finding them. Then the dreaded rain… then, by some grace of god I got the most welcome text from the photographer saying we had access to theVIP tent and could sit on the big comfy sofas and watch on the screen! Sounds like an offer that couldn’t be refused, right? I got to the tent, it was FABULOUS. The best food I’ve seen all weekend, a bar that you don’t need tokens for, screens everywhere and luxurious red carpet that you can wear wellies on… and cake! Did I mention the food? Still, desperate to watch the band in the flesh I still perched half in the rain looking out – it was worth it, Eddie (You can call me Ed) Vedder gave a big old wave our way and I was more or less the only one there! *Melt* Obviously I was too stunned to wave back so I just stood grinning along with a small handful of others.

Today I got the Pearl Jam review off in good time but somehow it failed to make it to the destination. In Weatherspoons I scrambled to find an unused socket and eventually hi-jacked one from a lovely couple who rightly obeserved “they’re like gold dust”. This is a Weatherspoons like no other – they have a big area for you to take of your boots, a military operation to get roast dinners out and constantly checked and cleaned loos which made for a great wash space. I am guilty of sparking a tooth-brushing trend, but I’m not one to miss an opportunity in conditions such as these.

Most amusing of the day was a trip to the coffee stand. I will get a picture out ASAP. I was knee deep in mud asking for a Latte – one of two people there when I was asked to queue on the other side – a further two inches deep in swamp. Seriously! I did as I was told and was thankful for the height of my now breaking wellies.

Ok, some review links then I’m gonna leave to get to the loos, obviously early morning beer doesn’t sit well or my body has re-adjusted to thinking toilets are always close by. How very wrong.

Pearl Jam

Jessie JMadness

And the great news is that Virtual festivals tweeted my review to Jessie J directly – maaan I love Jessie J!




Poor quality pics of Pearl Jam from VIP arena taken in ipad – better ones coming soon. Oh and me with the wrong camera on… D’oh.

Isle of Wight Friday afternoon – Sat morning

Since leaving you inside my uncertain but upright tent yesterday afternoon things have been good.My new neighbours looked a little miffed that they’ve lost their garden to me but as compromise I didn’t put up the porch so I guess we’re quits. I had to get going immediately and that just about got me to the main stage in time to watch Feeder. I was luckier than most, the mud meant that the treck to the main arena was totally bottle-neceked and a reasonable 15 minute leaving time from camp just wouldn’t have cut it.

From Feeder onwards I yo-yo’d between the main stage and big top – there have been some really awesome acts and hopefully most of them make it onto Virtual Festivals. They are a little unimpressed at the brevity however I have covered 6 instead of 2 bands in the face of huge technical issues caused by the rain, not to mention the mission to the media hut and the fact it closes before the headliner has finished!

Tom Petty – freaking awesome, I will update with links to reviews as soon as possible. Burgers from the burger stand not so awesome, I timed it perfectly for the drop in temperature and had been rather looking forward to it but was served a cold, hour old at least slab of meat that couldn’t even melt the cheese slice sqidged on top.

Now for the mud – that’s all the UK seem too interested in so I’ll tell you about a guy I met on the way up to camp. He’d lost his wellie in the mud – probably not the only one to do so. He then put his foot in the mud and proceeded to try and put it back into his wellie… this failed terribly and he could now not walk in his boot at all and was forced to walk with one bare foot… somewhere along the line he has also taken a spectacular fall and resulted as a mud cake. Each step he took in the mud made him scream and curse and turning a corner onto “Purple 3” or “home”, for all intents and purposes again brought him to the ground. This is when I tried to help and, turning assistance down told me what he had done. Bravely he laughed it off and we went our separate ways. It wasn’t until this morning, making my way back to the main road (Just for a sense of normality) I saw the bricks, broken clay piping and ominous spikage that must have been causing the pain. Not good, definitely not good.

I found sanctuary in Pizza Hut this morning and they didn’t bat an eyelid at my filthy boots, nor anyone elses who had the same idea. Instead they set me up at a table and checked regularly that I had everything I wanted, I possibly looked in need of charity…

Anyway, I’ve just dived in from Madness to hit send on this and Jessie J is up next – wouldn’t miss her for the world so I’ll leave you with this awful picture of me trying to get presentable before vacating the tent this morning….


Tom Petty
Lana Del Rey
Caro Emerald
Noah and the Whale

Isle of White Festival – Friday afternoon


Um, well, I made it. I’m not quite sure how. After the ferry the journey was easy, I got a train one stop to Ryde Esplanade and from there there were busses to take people to gate at the Campsite. Easy enough. Only to get cash took a treck up the hill to the centre of Hyde, where all banks appear to like to look down on the rest of the town. Not a problem. Nor was the bus, only I knew I had to get to A6 – which we passed on the way about a mile uphill from the site. Despite the incline and growing weight of my bag, the weather was good and the smell of cooked food sold along the was was hugely tempting. I learned a new skill of dodging busses travelling up the cordoned route and, whilst taking a break at A5 was delighted to find that Tim, the photographer was making his way to A6 – and was offering to give me a hand from the press desk. After reluctantly declining the opportunity to buy a regular ticket and abandon the treck I somehow covered the distance.

Press desk – easy, slow but no hassle. Company en-route to camp was welcome and the campsite came quicker than I remembered it being. Squelching into the opening of the site the muddy welcome was expected, it was all over the news last night and weather warnings have been issued. It was pretty humorous and I changed into wellies as advised. They were brown with pink polka-dots at the time. My bag got a lift across the mud pools that had formed and the photo guy has pulled it some of the way too, leaving a clean track in it’s path as it accumulated mud underneath. After some time of trekking I took pity and made a break on my own. I found a wonderful tent-sized spot left behind by abandoners that clearly didn’t want their poles or covering as a momento of their short stay at the festival.

Feeling pretty happy with myself the underlay of the tent went up with no complications… then came the wind. As I tired to figure which way the overlay went on it made several attempts at escape, causing two women to come and give me a hand. As the mud is so soft nothing had to be nailed in, just pushed into the ground – this could be a problem if the winds continue to pick up.

Currently everything that can be tied is and I imagine time will tell if I have a shelter tonight. Half an hour until Feeder, however the media tent is out of use due to no electrics so the reviews may have to be delayed – my own dongle is on it’s way out already. So, current status, muddy but dry… go figure. Oh, and I have my wristband which is pretty funky: