This morning I’m lying in a boiling hot tent and I don’t want to move. Everyone else in here is fast asleep. There are two alarms going off simultaneously, and nobody is stirring but me. The heat woke me and the fact that I only scheduled two blogs ahead of time had grounded me to the reality that I’ll have to write things that actually happened this time. So I thought I’d get it done now.
These gatherings are some people’s idea of hell. I worked at Latitude one time with actors who genuinely couldn’t compute the lack of hot running water. They did an uncomfortable reading, terrified of spiders, and then got a taxi out at the first opportunity, swearing about mud.
Festivals have become strangely integral to how I work-through my life. I can usually manage to find something to do at a couple of them per year. These miniature communities of littering vegans that spring up from this time of year until the end of August, early September. There are often interesting odd performative jobs going. And for many years my alter-ego has been Captain-Odd-performative-job.
Sometimes it’s good to just go and live in a field for a few days though with no pressure, knowing you’ve got a comfortable home to go back to. I haven’t really slept very much even though I’ve been here two nights. None of us have. But we’ve relaxed. The weight has dropped off.
I had a shiatsu massage yesterday morning, and danced long hours in the afternoon and evening and dawn. Dancing like a maniac certainly burns some calories and I’d always take that over going for a run. Although I might be missing the point. But this tent is a revelation.
Tanya and Lou have never done a festival before. They haven’t got their own tent or camping gear. So they sank £200 to rent a bell tent. “Glamping”. The guys in the one next door to us were talking about their investment portfolio yesterday morning. We are in a field surrounded my about £40k worth of bell tent rental, not to mention the teepees and airstreams. It’s comparatively luxurious here. My squeamish friends from that Latitude might have been happier here. Even if there are still spiders. The showers run copious hot running water. It’s hard to like the loos, but at least they are compost rather than chemical. Wooden long drops. Not such a long drop now it’s day three.
Shindig is pretty small for a festival. It used to be the kick-off party for the regular festival workers. No main stage acts. Just a load of funk and dance. Considering we were promised flashfloods, we’ve come through it very well indeed although everybody is caked in mud. One torrential momentary downpour on the evening of the second day, but for the majority of the time it’s been sunshine and a cooling wind. I’ve got my usual festival tan. And honestly I’m thrilled I made this impulsive decision. This job, and the expectations and collapses that can come with it, can get all consuming sometimes. I was beginning to feel a fraying on the edge of my kindness towards myself. It feels like I’ve put all the pieces back in the box now, and I can come back to London and find out the thing that’s been waiting.