We’re off to party at the Isle of Wight Festival this weekend. Bags are packed and we’re ready to go. On the main stage this year are the likes of Kings of Leon, Kasabian and the Foo Fighters. I can’t wait.
If you’ve ever been to a festival, you’ll know the great atmosphere you get, not only from the thousands who crowd in front of the main stage but at the other smaller venues, the beer tents and entertainment areas, including the funfair.
You’ll also know of the squalor and discomfort you have to put up with camping for three days.
There’s getting very little sleep in a boiling hot tent, crammed in with thousands of other people who will simply not shut up!
Then there’s the queue for the morning toilet and the dawn chorus of wind!
With only a handful of showers, you generally live by wet wipes and deodorant. If you happen to drive past the festival on your way to Newport, the overriding smell you get is not food, not the countryside, but Lynx anti-perspirant!
This is certainly not my idea of fun so, being an Islander, we are staying at my folks’ place in Ryde.
A comfy bed each night and breakfast and a hot shower every morning. Luxury. I reckon we’ll be the cleanest people at the festival.
On Tuesday, we drove past the site on the way into Newport and I rubbed my hands with excitement as the venue was being put together.
Bragging to my mum about how cool the festival is, she simply tutted and said: ‘This isn’t a real festival, it’s just a series of pop concerts.’
I laughed and said to her: ‘What do you know?’
She then told me how, in 1970, she spent four days sleeping under the stars on Afton Down.
They had little food or drink, no washing facilities and open drums were used for toilets.
She explained how she walked over thousands of tin cans and people to get to the stage where, at 4am on Monday August 31, legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix played one of the most famous festival sets in history.
I kept quiet for the rest of the journey.