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Friday 9 December 2016

The A to Z of summer music festivals

Published 06/07/2011 | 05:00

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The summer festival has become a rite of passage for young Irish people. It has everything you could want from a weekend: music, mud and bizarrely attired members of the opposite sex. And with Oxegen almost upon us, what better time for the ultimate festival survival guide?

Read on for must-have information on how to negotiate the portaloo queue, why there's no point in trying to see every last performer and what to do when it rains (it will . . . trust us, it will).

A is for Always be prepared

Never believe a forecast predicting sunny weather -- when it comes to festivals at least some bad weather is inevitable. Bring wellies. Also pack suncream and a hat.

B is for Bring a copy of the running order

The sheer number of acts can be overwhelming. Do you watch Beyonce or The National? What time are Crystal Castles on? Should you go see Odd Future -- and who the hell are they anyway? There is the option of downloading the festival app, but it's best to go with a paper copy.

C is for Chris Martin

Stadium rock's most cuddly frontman brings Coldplay to Oxegen on Sunday night. Unless you're an uber-fan, it might be a good moment to pop to the loo.

D is for Don't take your shirt off

No matter how sunny it is. If Irish men were meant to wander around topless, God wouldn't have invented GAA jerseys.

E is for Everybody loves Beyoncé

She blew the roof off Glastonbury -- which doesn't even have a roof. If there is one star at Oxegen that literally everybody can't wait to see, it's pop's supreme ruler.

F is for Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters are the sort of rock crew who go down well when it's Saturday night and you've had a few beers. You might not love their music, but in the flesh they rock like lunatics.

G is for Get out of my way tall guy

If there's one thing guaranteed to spoil the experience, it's the six-foot seven freak who stands before you four seconds before the band come on stage. Keep a look-out -- stand-in-front-of-you dude can appear at any time.

H is for Help, I've ended up at Pendulum

You have to be a fan to 'get' these Australian drum and bass rockers. Our advice is not to bother -- Primal Scream are playing their classic Screamadelica album opposite them on Sunday night.

J is for Just relax

Festivals are supposed to be fun. Trying to see every band, chug pints AND be in and out to the loo in under 15 seconds is sure to send your stress levels into the red zone. Breathe deeply -- and chill.

K is for Kate Moss

We suspect the newly hitched Ms Moss won't be at Oxegen. She will, however, be with us in spirit. Thanks to Kate arriving at Glastonbury in designer frock and wellies a few years ago, festivals are now a popular spot for those wealthier and better looking than the rest of us. On the other hand, most of them will spend all the time glugging wine in the VIP area, so it's not as if you will have to actually look at them.

L is for Leave us alone

No we don't want to dance with you, half-naked guy in cowboy hat. Be sure you are down the front when the gloomy The National perform on Sunday. Quasi-nude people will be in short supply.

M is for Mud

What festival would be complete without it?

N is for Not again!

This is what you shout when you open the curtains on Friday and the rain is sluicing down. We're not saying the gods have it in for rock festivals -- but we do have our suspicions.

O is for Old people

If you look carefully you'll spy the occasional grizzled ancient -- by which we mean anyone over 25 -- at Oxegen. These pitiable souls are best avoided.

P is for Portaloo

For those who haven't read Dante's Inferno but want a sense of the ninth circle of hell, we give you the Stygian box of darkness that is the festival portaloo.

Q is for Queuing

Organistion at festivals is very professional and you won't have to wait long for a beer or food. Still, in the unlikely event you do find yourself cooling your heels, kindly refrain from inflicting random banter on the person behind you.

R is for RTÉ

2FM is broadcasting from Oxegen. So if you can't make it, erect a tent in your backgarden, tramp around in the muck and turn the radio up.

S is for Sun

There is a possibility you might see some sunshine (kindly note the word 'might'). So bring suncream.

T is for Take-out food

Chances are you'll be eating it all weekend. So do try and eat something healthy. Three days of burgers and chips does nobody any good.

U is for Umbrella

You aren't allowed to bring one into the arena proper, so invest in some decent rain-gear instead.

V is for Venereal Disease

You don't want to catch one -- so bring protection if you plan on getting lucky.

W is for Wellies

We've already mentioned these about 15 times. If you haven't absorbed the message, you can snaffle a pair at 10% discount from Schuh on presentation of your Oxegen ticket.

X is for X-Ray

Which is what Jessie J required after hurting her foot. She performed on crutches at Glastonbury, but doctors warned her not to put further strain on the injury, forcing her to cancel her tour -- including Oxegen.

Y is for YouTube

With so many smartphones around, chances are your favourite performance will be on YouTube the next morning. It's almost like being there -- if you can get past the grainy image and background hissing.

Z is for Zzzzz

Which is what you'll be dying for come Monday morning.

Irish Independent

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