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One of the things I love about being actually old is that I can claim to be too old for things. At my age, I am 100% too old for Boardmasters. None the less I had booked it off work and purchased the worlds most expensive and heavy tent, so I had no choice really. My first “oh my God what have I let myself in for?” moment was the week before when I asked my best friend Laura what time we were leaving and was met with laughter as a reply. It turns out because Boardmasters is in Cornwall, she was planning on telling me we needed to leave at 2 am “the night before”. Perfect, thanks. Now I’m not suggesting that she encouraged me to take my prescription medication in a dangerous way, but when I suggested I take my amytriptaline a bit later that night so I “slept and didn’t annoy her in the car”, it certainly wasn’t met with much argument.
Arriving and setting up camp at a festival
The most harrowing part of a festival is arriving and setting up camp. As the girls had been before, they advised me that you can actually hire someone with a trolley to take all of your stuff to your camp. Things were looking up. My second favourite saying after “I hate doing things, don’t I?” is “why do things you can pay other people to do”. So after a pleasant nap in the car, a trip to a supermarket that resulted in nothing productive apart from a multipack bag of 30 packets of crisps that we protected at all costs, and a stop off at a service station where it took me five goes to understand the man in WH Smith’s accent, I was feeling quite positive about life. We quickly identified the “carry your things” people and I insisted we were hiring them even if it cost us £100 (it was £35, best £35 I have ever spent in my life – now that I have actually experienced it I’d put the amount I would pay at around £150).
Unfortunately, no one told us that you still have to carry your things through the actual queue. This would have been fine if I had only packed “the essentials” like I was asked to. As it turned out I was in possession of the worlds heaviest four-man tent, two bags full of plastic animals, an alarming amount of clothes that I wouldn’t wear, a camping table I insisted on buying because “it would come in handy” (to be honest it did, it was a great place to keep the plastic animals) and an “inflatable bed blower upper”, which despite the girls telling me a number of times was an airbed pump, I still couldn’t get my head around. The only amusing thing to come out of the queuing experience was someone pointing at my friend Meg, who has probably never seen an illegal substance in her life and identifying her as a “ket head”, because of her jacket. This led to some great inside jokes however it probably wasn’t the best when I asked my Mum the other day if she had seen my “ket shorts”.
We camped in Waikiki which was quite near the entrance but was around 45 miles away from the arenas and up an absolutely bastard hill that nearly killed me off several times over the weekend and provoked a lot of my “I can’t cope” statements. As I was told I was to have “absolutely nothing to do with putting the tent up” my job was to blow up the beds which weren’t the worst to blow up, but this job was genuinely the most unexciting thing imaginable. I am obviously going back next year, so I am just throwing this out there now if anyone would like to make some extra money carrying my things and blowing up my beds please give me your number now because I will definitely be calling you. By the time we had set up the tent the multipack of crisps and the multipack of biscuits had survived, in case you were wondering.
The surrounding area of Boardmasters
One of the great things about Boardmasters is that it isn’t a shithole. I remember camping at V once years ago and the only place you can escape to during the entire weekend is Chelmsford town centre. We ventured out of camp on a couple of the days and although the weather wasn’t magnificent it could have been worse. On the day we decided on an adventure into Fistral it hammered down when we got there, so we all got jumpers. Obviously, it then became blissfully sunny. I don’t mean to be a grass but my friend Meg is terribly unlucky with the weather. If you are reading this and you know her, don’t go anywhere with her if you want good weather. You would think not drinking alcohol would be a setback when we went into The Stable so that the girls could get alcohol and also eat, but I actually ate nearly a whole pizza and had a lemon and ginger tea, so who was really living the dream there? Top tip: The Blazing Saddle is an amazing pizza.
The actual festival is on Watergate Bay so if you are really brave, and you believe Meg’s “it’s ten minutes down the road” you can walk to the beach there and get something to eat at the cafe. I’d love to recommend this cafe because it was super cute and they even had SHEDS, yes SHEDS you could sit in, but I genuinely can’t find it via Google. I feel like it is just one of those fleeting moments in life that was supposed to pass me by. I would have found the whole beach visit a lot cuter had it not been the morning after Laura and I had stayed out ay Coney Island until the end of the night. At one point, I even had to have a rest walking up the hill and lay down on it because I couldn’t cope.
If you are reading this blog thinking, “oh my God the lineup looked so good, you must have seen some brilliant acts”, then you would be wrong. I actually managed to go to a festival with the three people in their early twenties with the worst music taste in the UK (bar Charlotte who would have actually come to listen to some house music with me had we been organised enough to find any). On the first night, we saw Catfish and the Bottlemen who were incredible live. I have heard their songs in the past but I wouldn’t have really gone out of my way to see them. They were so SO good. I must admit I found the moshing a bit exhausting, so while everyone was jumping around, I thought I’d have a little sway. Why not? Do your own thing, swim against the current, be an individual. Everyone else’s jumping, so you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to sway. At one point I did see Meg in the middle of a mosh pit and worry slightly about whether I needed to be a responsible adult and get her out – but turns out she started it so I guess she was ok. More in to the festival I actually invented a dance called creeping, and I really feel like Meg was the only person on my level with that one. If you are ever at a festival and you see someone in a ket coat either moshing or creeping, it’s probably Meg. Say hello because she’s a massive funner and she is awesome.
The second night we went to see ‘Years and Years and Years” (in Laura’s words, few drinks in by this point), but we actually needed to go back to the tent for sensible clothing, so we missed them. When we came back, we had to go and find the others, who were at the front of Lily Allen. It was at this point the most horrific thing of the entire weekend happened to me. Laura dragged me, LITERALLY DRAGGED ME out of Chemical Brothers to see LILY ALLEN. Like yeah, my cat is named after her, but seriously, over the Chemical Brothers. All I can say is it just goes to show how much I love her for letting her get away with pulling that nonsense on me. After that, I obviously needed to get my own back and listen to some decent music. So once we got outside Coney Island, the house music/rave tent I stated: “I AM GOING IN HERE NOW AND YOU CAN EITHER COME WITH ME OR LEAVE ME, I REALLY DO NOT CARE EITHER WAY”.
So we compromised and went in there. Coney Island was probably my highlight of the festival. You had to enter via a tunnel and I think I was the proudest of anyone ever in my whole life when Laura shouted: “I’m claustrophobic Darren” while climbing through. I imagine this is what people feel like when their children learn to read and write. I was not as impressed when she decided to call the guy behind us in the queue a “jobsworth”. Kids these days.
The third and final night I just gave up all hope of listening to any good music. I paid £187 for a ticket and the best music I heard all weekend was at the food stalls. The girls wanted to see George Ezra who I’m not a fan of but by this point I was just like cool whatever. I know basically ONE of his songs so I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it, but he was actually EXCELLENT. He sang Shotgun as his finale amid fireworks and lots of jumping and I can honestly say I have never enjoyed a life moment so much sober. I’d actually go and see George Ezra again off of the back of that performance. That festival has changed me.
Of course, everyone wants to know about the showers. The showers at Boardmasters aren’t actually that bad. They cost £3 and are in a portacabin but you could do worse. There isn’t a time limit, but the women who take the money do advise you to be mindful of other people. Fortunately for me each time I showered with Charlotte, the worlds biggest faffer, so I had time to shampoo twice, exfoliate, moisturise and watch Titanic before she was actually ready to go back to camp. The toilets were something else. Having to find a portaloo that someone hadn’t done the worlds largest poo in each morning was a huge challenge. I hope Boardmasters take this on board for next year. It’s common sense. Wrecked people will go to the toilet at 4 am with no concept of what they are doing and make a mess. Clean them at 5/6am ready for the next day.
The food was mediocre which is what you expect at a festival unless it’s a food festival. I didn’t eat much the first couple of days because my IBS had been quite bad but I made up for this by eating everything in sight afterwards. The “everything in sight” was not anything that left a lasting impression. I had a burger that was as dry as a nuns crotch and a very underwhelming curry. If you go, it really is a better idea to get out of camp and eat somewhere actually decent. I was THRILLED at the fact we had a burger van right behind us for morning coffee until I realised they were literal morons. On the second day, they started refusing to give me lids for the teas and coffees because “they could be used as weapons”, despite every single other food vendor on site giving them out. After staring at the guy and saying “I can’t cope”, I came to the conclusion I would get no help and spent the weekend making two trips until I found a burger van actually opposite that happily gave out lids.
You are probably wondering form the start of the blog why we had a bag of plastic animals and if the crisps survived. First of all, I took the plastic animals to give out to people when they were worse for wear. This worked a treat, and I gave a tiger to the man of my dreams, Charlie, who was in Coney Island. Charlie from Colchester if you are reading this I would like to marry you, please. You will also all be pleased to know the crisps and biscuits made it all the way through until the second from last day when my appetite came back and I ate everything. Even custard creams. It was that desperate.
Things I said I couldn’t cope with at Boardmasters (but did)
Carrying my own stuff
I honestly don’t know what I did to deserve that sweaty, awful hour of my life carrying a tent that felt like ACTUAL bricks and a bag full of plastic animals. It took me a full 24 hours to get over the trauma of having to do things.
The weather doesn’t tend to bother me much, but when it’s the very fast and hard rain that nearly pokes your eye out it’s hard to enjoy being outdoors.
The hill leading up to Waikiki
Like. don’t these people plan? Did anyone who picked the plot of Boardmasters actually do GCSE geography? Camping on a hill is so unideal. When you are coming back from a long evening swaying to Catfish and the Bottlemen the last thing you need is a near vertical walk back up to camp.
The food/morons at the burger van
Probably a mixture of them actually being morons and me visiting them before I had my morning coffee, but either way just getting four drinks seemed a challenge. Their burgers were also the most significantly dry food I have ever eaten in my 30 years as a human person.
I don’t know who goes to a festival and thinks “oh I might poo and wipe it all over the portaloo walls”, but these people are out there, and they are definitely serial killers.
Laura drunk trying to tell me what “shalom Jackie” comes from
Have you ever acted really dis-interested in a story because you genuinely don’t care, but then the person thinks you are just not understanding it and tells it more? Well, this was Laura, trying to explain shalom Jackie from Friday night dinner. Luckily we have the kind of relationship where I can say to her “I have never cared about anything less in my life”, but on the flipside of that she still kept explaining it, probably to piss me off.
The lack of decent music
Not on the part of Boardmasters mind you. I just wasn’t allowed to see any.
The fact someone took a shit next to our tent
Thankfully, this happened on the last day. But seriously, a shit, a LITERAL shit? The worst thing about the entire situation was how nonplused the girls were about it all. Someone actually stopped, dropped trouser and POOED outside our tent. Festival people are weird.
Nearly getting beaten up
When the moron burger van people refused to give me a lid, I walked back to get a second lot of drinks, I shouted back to Meg in the tent “I will beat you up with a lid”. A split second later, some guy shot out of his tent and went to me “what did you say”. I don’t know who you are, but you sir, need anger management.
The large hill from the beach to the festival
This is the hill I had to stop for a lie down on. Cornwall if you are reading this try and be flatter next year because I will still be a horrifically unfit individual who snorts Milky Way Crispy Rolls every weekend.
It was lots.
Coming in in the dark and putting all of my stuff everywhere in the tent then not being able to find it
In the end, Charlotte agreed to be on “belongings watch” and help me identify where I had put all of my things the previous night.
People telling me Boardmasters isn’t a holiday
WELL, I BOOKED IT OFF WORK.
So, would I go to Boardmasters again?
I am buying a ticket the MINUTE they come out. Best weekend of my life!
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