forty-thousand in a field

Dear Roberto,

I like the letter-as-a-column form so I’m going to keep right on with it. I’m back from that festival I was telling you about, and consistently testing negative when I shove sticks up my nose. Maybe forty thousand people in a field isn’t as super spready as I feared it might be. So here is my next despatch.

The festival is a wonderful place once you get over the existential angst that comes from a year-and-a-half of isolation. I’ll admit that day one was a fearful place. How were you supposed to be around that many people? Where was the hole you could crawl into and escape all those humans? Turns out you get used to it pretty soon, and pretty soon you’re in a moshpit surrounded by seventeen-year-olds at their first festival away from their parents. They were everywhere, even when we headed down the front of the techno tent at 1am, off their tits on God knows what.

You see all sorts at festivals. This year entertainment of choice for the little ones was bubble wands, and so all over the festival there floated these enormous effervescent bubbles that caught the sun and rippled as they popped. There were these two women at night wearing illuminated cloaks in the colours of the rainbow. There were the dust clouds that rose in the forest and brought the sunbeams out of hiding. There were drum ‘n’ bass raves in graffitied caravans, afternoon naps on battered sofas, secret sets you come upon after hours of walking. The power had gone in one area of the posh camping, and rumour had it that someone had brought in a 50-inch TV and a fridge, and had blown the whole circuit.

Oh yeah, and there was music too. The Chemical Brothers pounded eighty-thousand eyes and ears, The Vaccines popped up unannounced in an overcrowded tent. It turns out Bad Sounds sound quite good. Of everyone though, The Scribes were the most jaw-droppingly incredible. Picture this, right: final night, everyone’s kinda had enough, everyone kinda wants to go home, and then there’s this freestyle beatbox trio who just absolutely smash it. When we all wanted one more song and they didn’t have any more, they jumped into a five-minute freestyle, riffing off props held up by the crowd. The energy, Roberto! Shit. Besides that, Bombay Bicycle Club were jolly, Kaiser Chiefs played their famous songs, Nubya Garcia played a killer midnight set in the woods.

The music was good, but I think the real headliner was the fact the festival was happening at all. Everyone just seemed so buzzed to be back: musicians, audience, the bar staff who sold you £6 pints. But whatever. Final thought: if you ever organise a festival, please make sure there’s wild swimming. If you do that, I’ll fly straight over.

I trust this letter finds you well and that you get yourself along to a festival this summer too.


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