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Anna Nolan: The best place to watch a festival? On my couch, in front of the telly

If you have never been to a music festival, if you are in your 20s and you are about to head to Oxegen -- here's what to expect: amazing music, as much beer as your belly can take, freedom to roam and three days of dancing, chatting and sexy sleepless nights!

If you have never been to a music festival, if you are in your forties, and you are heading to Oxegen -- well it goes something like this: bad loos, bad hair, too many people, not enough space, smelly armpits and stressful sleepless nights.

Oxegen is this weekend, and to have the time of your life -- you'd better be under 35 or feel that you are.

As I was sitting on my couch last Sunday night, glass of red wine in hand, bag of Tayto on lap, I had my favourite festival experience yet.

The BBC covered the best acts that were on Glastonbury. I saw Mumford and Sons rock the tent and then witnessed Snoop Dog give a rotten performance. I heard Muse screech their way through their set, and finally watched Stevie Wonder give one of the most thrilling performances ever.

And I was so glad I wasn't there. I didn't have to queue for my loo, I didn't have to try to balance three pints of lager while being bumped around and losing liquid like It's A Knock Out. And at the end of my couch-based festival, I tip-toed up to a quiet bedroom, and laid my head on a PILLOW!


The line-up is excellent this year at Oxegen, and of course I would love to see Plan B, Jay Z, even cute little Calvin Harris would get a look in. But my days of festivals are on hold.

My first festival was Glastonbury, back in 2001. I couldn't get over the vastness of the place. It took us 35 minutes to walk from our car to our campsite (the car took 45 minutes to park). It was one big musical city, with stages rising up from the ground every time you turned a corner. I was young, strong-willed and strong bladdered, and so nothing was a problem. I saw the Stereophonics -- hated them, and saw Rod Stewart -- loved him. But I didn't care that there were acts that didn't work for me.

Today, I have no tolerance for unpleasant experiences. If I don't like a movie in the first 30 minutes, I will walk out. Life's too short. But back in Glastonbury, as I bobbed away to Have A Nice Day, thinking "No, I'm not having a nice day", I didn't mind.

When I think about it, we are actually novices to music festivals here in Ireland. Yes, we had the stadium line-ups back in the 1990s. Remember Trip to Tipp. Semple Stadium Thurles, taking us beyond Siamsa Cois Laoi. People drove down in cars and slept in their cars. There were no organic burger joints, no Portaloos, and what you wore on Friday, well you wore on Sunday.

But the camping vibe has only taken off with Witness, Oxegen and also Electric Picnic.

So it's a new experience for us all.

At the Electric Picnic two years ago, myself and a pal decided to go all prepared.

I insisted on bringing down delicate fancies for us to eat. So after we had set up our tent in the lovely mature area, I brought out a selection of charcuterie. I laid it out on a wooden board. Quickly the ants climbed all over my saucisson, and at the same time my friend stood up in the tent. As she lost her balance, my charcuterie and my snobbery toppled over.

You can't bring your home to the festivals. You have to be prepared to walk around with a burger in one hand and a pint in the other. You have to be willing to look silly, and you have to give the mud slides a go at least once.

It doesn't matter what age you are when you go to a festival. If you feel young enough to be there -- just dive in, lose yourself and let the good times roll.

I wish I was at Oxegen, but if I hear it on the radio or see it on TV, I will be just as happy.