Welcome to my lovely two part post on V Festival 2008, thought I’d separate the social part of v festival and the gig part of v into two posts to make things easier to digest, granted there’s not much to talk about in the gig section so it will probably be photo flooded whilst this one will most likely be content orientated. So yeah, after being guestlisted for the lovely v festival at Staffordshire on a Sunday, I had arranged all the travel and accomodation a few weeks in advanced to ensure things go well (“well” being i can actually get there and have a place to stay), I booked a lovely hotel at the Wolverhampton Quality Hotel (where quality is oozing from the hotel so much that the word quality popped into the name of the hotel, that’s how awesome it was!) and some tiddly train rides to Wolverhapton (was about 3 hours to Wolves but 2 hours back, silly trains). Fact was I was going for the day and wasn’t really keen in heading home early or camping (that wasn’t allowed anyway what with the wristbands and not having weekend passes). The hotel seemed like the best (and warmest) option and I was surprised that it was only £48, including bed and breakfast. I had booked a holiday for Monday to ensure I had sufficient amount of rest once I arrive home (besides I don’t think work would appreciate me coming into work all muddy and bloody from the festival (mm soft skulls).
Festival checklist and hungry touts
There really wasn’t much to prepare, the only last minute thing i brought were my spotty wellies that I used for Reading Festival 2006, my bag consisted of a poncho I got from the filmfour somerset house show (mmm scarface), a hoodie in case i got cold, tickets, maps to my hotel, a notebook (containing writing instruments, post it notes and other bits and bobs), and my lovely dslr camera, dont think I bought a book for this trip, in festivals you simply assume that you’ll lose everything you own. plus i loved the idea of packing and ensuring that things were at it’s bare essentials. Once the packing it was time to put on a lovely pair of green converse chucks and hit the road. The train journey was boring as ever, but nothing internet on the phone or music on the ipod won’t kill (i actually find them to be the ultimate time killing combo, you can either read the interweb or write blogs and random entries with the lovely qwerty keypad). I eventually reached Wolverhampton to meet up with kev. He had arrived pretty early and found time to kill by asking touts how much they’d pay him for his additional V Festival VIP ticket, the story was pretty hilarious as the tout originally offered £20 which kev immediately thought “forget it” and left him, but obviously that’s how touts roll, insist that the first offer is their lowest and simply walk away, they know how to bargain (they probably try haggling at McDonalds when they order their happy meals (assuming they eat happy meals, there’s very little happiness in the life of a tout)). Kev had ignored the touts but found them to be slightly aggressive nearer the end when they kept pestering him and asking him for an offer, but obviously kev wasn’t intending on selling it. Once we met up we immediately waited outside at the shuttle bus stop place where the shuttle buses roam. There again the touters were there ready to offer kev money he cannot refuse (but did). From £20 they simply asked him how much did he want, kev asked for £100 and the tout reluctantly started to unload a few twenties from his pocket ready to hand to kev, but kev immediately changed his mind and said “nah”. Man did kev know how to piss the touts off. Kev eventually offered the ticket to a fellow muser once we were at the box office area.
On the shuttle bus we talked a bit about Marley park and other bits and bobs, once we were close to the arena we donned our wellies (kev was ultra proud that he could make use of the wellies once again since he only bought them for the purpose of Marley which really wasn’t used much). Upon walking up to the box office we met a few folks, including dip. Conversation then began and slowly but surely we got our passes, and was in the arena where we met up with Stu. I think this is the point where we finally realised how important it was to wear wellies, it was just as important as our festival tickets (well not really but saying that makes it important). The fields outside the arena weren’t too bad but as soon as we saw the entrance, man how glad were we to have wellies. The v in v festival really stood for mud; rain, fields and loads of festival goers never mix. Of course having wellies on instantly had that sense of feeling as if you touched a gold star in super mario and was invincible to it’s thick and miserable aura the thick brown mud gave out (and if you listened hard enough you probably could hear the invincibility theme tune in your head as you started stamping onto the mud, killing mushrooms and turtles).
Oh did I mention about dip? he was all kinds of awesome and it was fun meeting him, it turns out that everybody including myself love dip, got to love a bit of emo. He’s in quite a few of my photos since he was “hanging out” with the folks and kev gave his VIP pass to him so he was able to chillax with us in there too.
A burger and chips stall called “burger and chips”
Not long we met up with everybody, I think from then on there was a lot of chillaxing involved, we were told that the VIP area had a Nando’s in it which got both me and kev pumped, however our dreams were immediately raped silly when all they served were nando’s burgers. You couldn’t even go “fitter with a chicken on the pitta”, nonetheless, it had to be done, me and Stu bought a nando’s burger (no idea what burger number stu was on hehe) and whipped on the extra extra extra hot sauce and feasted on the hot piece of chicken wrapped around this cold floury bun. I never liked eating food that had two temperatures at the same time, usually buns are heated up to compliment the burger but hey, we’re in a field i suppose, it reminded me of eating salmon nigiri’s where the fish was nice and warm (in the melting kind of way) however the rice was cold, these things require delicacy. Anyway, that was me on the food, I eventually spent the rest of the evening food wise having lovely “gourmet” bbq jumbo sausages, and they were bad at all, definitely had that lovely bbq feel to it and not that mass produced festival food feel. The stalls in the festivals were pretty hilarious, I was constantly pointing out the names of the stalls, going “HEY LOOK, THEY HAVE A PLACE CALLED BURGERS AND CHIPS, AND THEY SOLD BURGER AND CHIPS”, evidently stall owners assume all people are retarded and have to be pretty clear of what a stall is saying before venturing out to buy some beef tacos, noodles or whatever they fancied, though I suppose calling it “Johns Stall” really didn’t help one bit (we later on discover that this wasn’t just inside the festival, there was a kebab place called Doner Kebab in town). That’s the food commentary sorted, lets think of some more things that happened.
The special place
The VIP area was pretty nice, but somewhat lame at the same time, the bar tent had a DJ playing thumping dance music but with nobody dancing to it, it’s probably a DJ’s worse nightmare playing music to nobody, you could definitely feel the energy once you’re in there but the lack of involvement with other people was an immediate turn off, I did manage to dance for a bit when another person started dancing, but that didn’t last too long, the area was simply empty if you exclude the 3 girls who were actually using the dark dance floor as an area to get changed (weirdos). There were lots of lovely tents and seats in the guest area too, the toilets were of a better variety than the ones in the arena (obviously) and I believe kev was able to swot out a hollyoaks cast member (bless). Another good thing about the VIP area was the fact that the grass wasn’t muddy as it was out there, you could actually lie down and chillax the entire day, but that really wasn’t the point of the festival, we had like… 2 bands to see (haha). At one point we were playing buckeroo with some guy who was actually sleeping in the arena, it was pretty fun until someone poured beer on him, bad form and sleep man!
“Nobody plays you because you always win”
After heading off to go see Sugababes we went to the guitar hero tent since inn wanted me and kev to battle it out, the tent was a bit lame since they were playing thumping rock music meaning people couldn’t hear the songs they were playing, it was all about eye coordination and guesswork. We were given cute little guitar hero badges and waited around the booths for people to finish playing, the booth we were waiting for had two kids playing, one of them was obviously whooping the other kid, for his last he picked “Through Fire and Flames” by Dragonforce, if people have played Guitar hero 3 you should all know about this song and how painful it is to play. My heart however started racing because that was the most exciting song to play and I didn’t mind giving that kid a run for his money, the losing opponent left knowing he was most likely going to lose and so I stepped in and challenged him to a battle of guitar hero, dragonforce style. Of course we picked expert mode and then we were off. The needle indicating who was winning stayed on my side and eventually I defeated the kid, he shook my hand and then left whilst kev stepped up to battle it out on guitar hero. We picked the most obvious song on the list (Muse – Knights of Cydonia) and began rocking out (silently mind, still couldn’t hear the song and all). Now kev has actually played guitar hero a lot longer than me so I was pretty scared that he would win, but fortunately the guitar controller was shite, and kev wasn’t a fan of tremolo picking, that’s where I got all my brownie points from and defeated kev hehe. People were obviously cheering kev on more because as inn says i “always win” hence noone really wants to play me, oh cruel video gaming skills how you curse me with the lack of opponents.
After some guitar hero’ing i believe we did more lounging about, meeting up with random people, chillaxing back at the tent, and then meeting people some more, it was quite a tiring day and there really wasn’t much to watch due to the lack of good bands, it really was more about the social part of the festival where we were all together and chatting away though, and good company is usually hard to gather around since they only respond to muse gigs haha. Near the end we went off to check out Stereophonics and then found a decent spot to see Muse. That was pretty much it (the gigs will be explained on part 2 obviously).
Birthday stories and post it notes
We met up with a few musers and then went back to the campsite, halfway through we decided to take a toilet break so he headed back to the VIP area and used the nicer toilets (by this time most people were using the golden wall to relieve themselves, it’s quite a horrific event so I’ll simply skip that chapter altogether). Once settled me and kev paid the camping people a visit to celebrate Gem’s birthday. The last bus supposedly was leaving at 11:30am so we had very little time to hang around, once there we began counting down the time to Gem’s birthday, I had already given Gem my presents to her which consisted of a pink bag (because she likes pink), a fairly big cow model (because she likes cows), and a Joseph CD (because she likes theatre). I also gave everyone post it notes from that post it note project and everyone was happy to read what it said. Gem and Ste remembered to bring their post it notes to me and it was amazing seeing them, I’ll most likely update the post it note section and show you what they wrote. After pulling some party poppers and singing happy birthday to Gem (not to mention attracting some drug dealers at the same time) it was time for me and kev to depart the camping world and return to the world were beds had mattresses and showers were a mere facility and not a luxury hehe (man we did rub it in quite a bit with the hotel dwelling). I wasn’t keen on camping on the last days anyway, the last time that happened I had to sleep through toilet banging, fires, and people screaming, not to mention the ubiquitous drunk man who opens up your tent to pee inside it whilst you’re there (is it ubiquitous or is it just a mere myth that i devilishly inserted to make things interesting? alas, most likely the latter (but i’m very sure it does happen for the unfortunate ones))
Back to civilisation
It was now me and kev heading back to Wolverhampton, as kev said earlier on (Wolverhampton is shit) haha, we were misguided twice by incompetent festival staff for where the shuttle buses were and I was at a point of running to the bus stop in fear that we might miss it, strangely I still had a lot of energy left whilst kev wasn’t having any of it, he said he’d rather get a taxi than run to the bus stop hehe. Nonetheless we arrived at the bus stop and was able to board the freedom shutter bus back to civilisation. It was pretty tiring at this point, we eventually changed back to our normal shoes and sat there talking about the show and the entire day, it was a pretty nice day, nothing hectic and intense as most meetups generally are, just having one commitment (ie seeing muse at the end) was enough to make the entire day nice and relaxing. It was around 1am and we were finally at the Wolverhampton bus stop, we went to a Doner Kebab place called Doner Kebab and ordered a can of coke each, man it’s refreshing to drink some sugary water after an intense day of mud trotting and jumping up and down during Muse, all drinks are amazing when you’re thirsty enough. Once the moment was over we eventually spoke to the cab driver who was suspiciously parked right next to us in his “nonchalant” way (granted we were standing near the taxi rink) and asked him how much it was to drive us back to our separate hotels, it came out to a mere £10 so we entered the vehicle and was transported to our hotels, kevs first (grr). We agreed that if one of us wasn’t able to check in because of the time we’d taxi it to the other’s hotel and stay there. Fortunately both of us were able to check into our hotels and begin the arduous task of cleaning our wellies.
I was greet by a kind lady and man at the door, they seemed very friendly and helpful, they were well aware of the festival goers so it wasn’t out of the ordinary to have people coming into their hotel all muddy and bloody, it turns out I was the last person to check in (damn toilet break for stalling time) he gave me my card key and directions to my room, I was able to catch the other staff members chillaxing in the living room, it did have that homey feel, and boy did the place smelt of “quality” teehee. Once inside my room I unpacked my bag and threw myself into the soft cuddly mattress, you suddenly realise how aching you are when you meet comfort once again, anyway, lots to do before I head to bed. I only cared about the wellies (and poncho to some extent) and used kev’s method of cleaning them which was to run them in the shower and have some scrubbing fun. The process was pretty quick but I did make a proper mess of the room. Grass and mud were all over the place which I immediately rinsed out to avoid any hotel faux pas. Once that was done I took a shower, wrote in my notebook for a bit, and began taking photos in the room, I had an urge to write a post it note to the cleaners since I was in a post it note mood so I sat at the desk and scribbled a quick message to them. Whilst all of this was happening I was texting kev back and fourth in regards to his status of cleaning his wellies and stuff, that was sorted for him but his task now was to clean up his jeans, he didn’t want to go into town (and subsequently) and Birmingham with mud all over him so he tried washing off with a the shower head. The next task was making it dry, he used the hair dryer to dry up the thing (i had a trouser press but I couldn’t be bothered with cleaning my jeans since I was going home immediately). He texted me back saying the blow dryer broke hehe, so he was stuck in wearing the jeans wet whilst sleeping *shudders*. That was pretty much it, it was a tiring day so eventually I turned off the lights and went to bed.
You can never have enough bacon.
The next morning was the best bit, I tend to wake up dead early when I’m not sleeping in my own bed or sleeping somewhere where I’m most comfortable, today I did just that, enough time to exit the room and head down for Breakfast of the buffet variety. I usually get my money’s worth at breakfast buffets. A lovely full english breakfast was exactly what I needed after an exhausting day of the yester variety. The food was pretty good for a 3 star hotel and the buffet obviously enticed me to order more than I can handle (no caps this time at least, once I was capped for ordering too much bacon ). There were a few customers who were obviously at the festival too, intently listening to the news about the what happened at the festival last night, there was the ubiquitous review of a festival goer who sounded more like a chav being interviewed in the street than a music lover. Once breakfast was over (mmm lovely croissant) it was time to check out and head off to Wolverhampton station. With the post it note ready i left it at the most obviously place, packed my bags and vacated the quality hotel. I asked the receptionist to order me a taxi and spent three lovely british pounds for my transport to the station, the driver didn’t appreciate my constant headphone mode but I didn’t care. Once at the station I was able to say hi to kev for a wee moment and then I was off, back to the city of London. The rest of the day was spent chillaxing and making stuff.