Thursday 18 January 2018

Night watch: The art of festical blagging

Daire Hickey

With Electric Picnic just around the corner, memories of great festivals I once attended without actually buying a ticket come flooding back.

For several years, working for a small indie label, I had the privilege of drinking beers in the Manic Street Preachers' dressing room, walking onto the main stage at Oxegen and watching a friend nick Badly Drawn Boy's hat -- he wasn't impressed, to say the least.

The pay was poor, but the benefits were pretty ace. Now I'm office-bound, so if I want to catch a festival it normally means parting with my hard-earned cash. Unless...

When I heard the line-up for Electric Picnic, I started to get excited. The prospect of seeing LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip and the uber cool Bryan Ferry is something to relish. But €240 for a ticket?

There's no way I could get that together with the money for transport and booze. But then I remembered my mother's advice -- where there's a will, there's a way. Now I'm sure she meant to make a point about hard work, but in life there's always a shortcut, right?

So it got me thinking, what are the best ways to blag your way into a music festival? Well I've compiled a list so you won't have to.

1. Impersonation

If anyone's ever told you you're a dead ringer for Rosanna Davison or that guy off Two Tube, now's your chance to put it to the test.

Simply line up for the guest list and use that tried and tested line -- "don't you know who I am?" I presume that's what Rosanna would say if she were there. Pray, of course, that they don't actually know the celeb lookalike you're trying to be -- that could be embarrassing.

There are alternatives, of course: you can always impersonate a security guard -- it worked for Jim Carrey in I Love You Phillip Morris. Grab a high-vis vest and a walkie-talkie and walk on in with authority.

2. Wangle yourself a press pass

It worked for TV3's then wacky weatherman Alan Hughes who blagged his way into the MTV Awards with only a big camera and a mic. But the best thing about a pass isn't the celebrity smoozing, it's having access to a working toilet, complete with bog roll -- utter luxury.

Last year, my mates just rocked on up to Oxegen in their car. "We're with MTV, we're looking for the VIP car park," said one. "Do you not have a pass?" answered the security guard, "No, we're going to collect it, where's the VIP car park is?" Unwittingly, they arrived behind the main stage next to Blur and Snow Patrol's dressing room. "Well, our car will be safe here," they thought, and walked right in ... Now, they were actually going to collect passes, but it makes you wonder can anyone just rock up in a car and blag their way in?

3. Become a 'Band Aid'

Now, if you're thinking Band Aid is about getting your musical mates together for a rendition of Do They Know it's Christmas, then you're sadly mistaken. It's more about batting your eyelids and fraternising with the drummer. One mate of mine managed to hop on a tour bus and crash her way into a festival simply because she was a good talker -- or so she says.

4. Hop the fence

It's quite traditional this one, but there have been reports of people hopping fences at Electric Picnic and Oxegen and managing to make it into the main arena with nothing more than a bit of sheep doo on their wellies.

5. Get a job

No, I don't mean stacking shelves to pay for your ticket, although a bar job at the festival wouldn't be the worst thing -- money, drink and a free pass -- what more could one want?

Alternatively, you can volunteer at Electric Picnic either over the course of the weekend or in the week leading up to it. If you do 24 hours of work, you'll get a free pass. But don't think you can just make a dash for it once you get your pass. The guys at Electric Picnic have thought of everything and you'll have to pay a €240 bond to ensure you'll fulfill your part of the bargain.

6. Get on your bike

If you can raise €500 for Temple Street Children's Hospital, and bike the 90km route from Dublin to the festival, they'll let you in for free. They'll even transport your camping gear to the festival site and give your bike a lift back to Dublin.

But then maybe I'm thinking about this too much -- that all seems like a lot of effort. I might just buy ask my mother to buy my ticket instead.

Irish Independent

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