Lib gets a life!!

May 13, 2008

T In The Park – A Scottish Experiment

Filed under: Grand Moment — Lib @ 9:38 pm
T In The Park
6th, 7th and 8th of July 2007
Balado by Kinross, Perth and Kinross
Scotland

Friday

Left at about 8.30. Sunhat, stripey wellies, flowery cagoule, full supply of baby wipes, ticket (of course!), folding chairs, tent, sleeping bag, mat, pillow, torch… all geared up! Raining buckets though… Got there at about 11 am (after a few stops for some last minute shopping). The car park (in a field) is already turning into a swamp. We get lucky and find a space quite quickly. Cars are laready stuck in the mud.

Meet up with the others and we make our way to the campsite with the rest of the crowd. The ground is slowly turning to a muddy swamp. Muck staining trousers. Wellies are the most popular item, and people wearing trainers are starting to regret it. Some smarts arses think they were clever by carrying their stuff in wheeling suitcases – they realise their mistake. No wheeling at all in the mud, and the suitcases are wrecked. Other folks have sledges – mighty handy! They’re all carrying heavy stocks of booze – never mind spare clothes, beer is the most important thing to have.

It takes us about one hour to get to the campsite entrance. Each of us get a pink wristband – camper privilege. The entrance of the campsite has already turned to muck. We make our way to a poart that’s still grassy. The rain, that had stopped as we got into the car park, has started again. But we are not long to put our tents up, and we can take shelter under them.

The boozing can start (I won’t be drinking at all, though – not in the mood). At about 4, we make our way to the arena. Mud is everywhere. People without wellies are doomed – and wellies sellers make a mint! Still, people are cheery – from time to time, a massive collective whooping rise from the campsite.

In the arena, Lily Allen is already on stage – but we take shelter into the T Break tent until the rain stops – it eventually happens, against all odds! Burger and chips – £5.50, rip off! – we dry off a bit, but the ground is a sea of mud. About 4 inches of liquid muck, muck ponds outisde the beer bar, where most folks tend to spend teir time – no wonder the event is sponsored by Tennent’s Lager. Some folks find it funny to dive and jump in the mud. Campers only on Friday night – they won’t get a wash till the festival is over… Some guys pee just where they stand… I get the TITP official laminate and a TITP T-shirt – I’m not drinking, I can afford it (£3.10 a pint, Fresh As A Daisy!).

After Lily Allen, The Coral, and Bloc Party. To my dismay, we’re not joining the crowd for Bloc Party, but I enjoy it from the bar, especially The Prayer. We join in for the headliners, Arctic Monkeys. Great gig, though I see most of it on the big screens – too wee to see over the crowd. The crowd really enjoys the show, and you’re forget you’re soaked through and standing knee-deep in mud.

Doesn’t last long though – the walk back to the campsite is a walk through hell. Your wellies sink into the mud and you have to tread carefully not to slip in the dirt. Each step you take is a challenge, you cling on to your mates to keep balance. And when you leave the path to get to your tent, you have to be careful not to trip on the tent’s guide ropes – a real cobwed, especially in the dark. When you get back to your tent, you’re pleased to find it’s waterproof, no rain nor mud in the area where you’re sleeping. But I realise I’ve forgotten my earplugs. Bad move, as folks are not in the mood for a wee lie in – especially since some folks are just getting there, as the whole Balado area is completely gridlock. A no sleep night, then, fearing that some guy might pee on my tent. I can hear thumping music, folks talking loudly (about boozing, poppers and getting 6 folks into a 1 man tent). Might have dozed off for a couple of hours in the morning, when it starts getting a bit more quiet – until some clever clogs decides to play the guitar right besides my tent. And they’re rubbish.

Saturday

At this point, if my mum and dad had been in the country, I’d have phoned them up and asked them to pick me up. When I get out of my tent (surprisingly, I kept warm for the night, even though I didn’t sleep), I find out someone’s put up their tent in the middle of our “social circle”, where we’d left a space in the middle of our tents to sit and chat. Liam calls it the TARDIS – he’s been sitting there drinking for half of the night, but didn’t see the new comers arrive. Colin, Gillan and I decide to go back to the car – we’d decided earlier to leave our clothes there so they’d keep dry – but the entrance is mobbed, the queue is not moving, so we give up. No change of clothes, no wash – festival atmosphere! And I’d better not mention the state of the toilets. I get a burger (£3.50) for breakfast, the general mood is pretty grim. The campsite is a mud field. I’ve never heard so many swear words in my life. Inly good news: the sun has come out. That helps people to keep going.

When we get back, the guy inside the mysterious tent comes out to find us all sitting around him. Nice Irish bloke from Aberdeen – took him ten hours to get there. He’s got no wellies, poor sod. Liam greets him: “We thought you were fucking Doctor Who!” Time to wait for the gigs to start, sitting on folding chairs and boozing.

We head off for the arena at about 3 pm. The mud has started to dry out a bit. The arena is all right even, still quite muddy in places though. We get some food – Chinese beef and noodles. We start of with Lost Prophets and James on the main stage. James is really good, especially their hit song Sit Down. The lead singer is mental, his body waving around like an eel. Then we head off for the NME stage to see Babyshambles. Pete Docherty, wearing a broad brimmed hat and chain smoking, entertains the crowd. I find out Killamangiro is one of their tunes… The NME stage is smaller, easier for me to see the performers. Then, we get ready for the headliners, The Killers. Unfortunately, the place is mobbed, and the spot we’re in is far away, I don’t get to see much. Razorlight is on just before The Killers – all right, not great. As I wait for Colin and Gillian to get me – they’re off to get some booze, I went apart to get a Nutella crêpe and a fresh fruit salad, bliss! – I’m in the middle of a nasty crowd. A guy is completely off his head, high on booze and drugs. Not pleasant. But we move after Colin and Gillian get me.

As I’m a great fan of Hot Fuss, I’m thrilled to hear Somebody Told Me, Mr Brightside, Smile Like You Mean It, On Top, Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine, and especially All These Things That I’ve Done : “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier…” and singing along most loudly, I have to say… They even cover Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You.

The crowd is weird, but fascinating – so different from a regular gig. Folks waving flags around – the Saltire being the most popular. Folks carrying their friends on their shoulders, though it’s prohibited. Throwing pints over the crowd. Standing about completely pished, wearing a band’s Tshirt. Wearing bridal gowns. Not wearing much. Bare foot.

The walk back to the campsite is easier this time. We are asked to lift out arms up so they can check on our wristbands. Craig found me some earplugs, bless him. To tell you the truth, I feel much better now than in the morning. When we get to our tents, our friends are there already. Liam is in a state – reall funny though. I have a chat with folks I don’t know – Craig and Allison, whon think I’m steaming. Alison’s been hit by a glass bottle during one of the gigs. I can’t believe I’ve only had two hours sleep in the last two days and still make sense in English. I get into my tent, put my earplugs in – and sleeps like a baby till 8 am.

Sunday

We decide not to sleep in the campsite on the Sunday night : we’re gonna take all our stuff to the car in the morning and leave straight after the last gig – best idea of the week-end. The walk back to the car is ok, and we even find decent toilets in the car park. No point in getting changed – at least I won’t fuck up more clothes! Gillian and Colin get more booze – though Colin is driving the night and easing off on the drinks. We get into the arena earlier to see more acts and get some decent food.

The weather is lovely, if changeable. Really windy when cloudy, but as soon as the sun comes out, it’s roasting. The campsite has dried out and they’ve rolled on the mains paths, much easier to walk! The festival mood has definitely kicked in. A guys walks by us and casually offers us some weed. We pass by a guy snorting cocain in his tent, not shy from anyone. David Johnstone claims to have five different drugs in his body. The Irish camping in the middle of our tents gives me an apple. People keep cheering and singing along. The campsite is filthy – you even get into the habit of dumping your urbbish anywhere. Empty cans, carrier bags, shoes, sledges, wellies, tissues, tent parts… you can find anything lying about.

We start up at the NME stage to see The Pigeon Detectives. Really nice band, very energetic lead singer. Then, on with The Twang, they remind me of The Streets. I get a The Killers Tshirt. The sun’s out. People’s faces get redder in the sun. A bloke is sleeping on the ground, right on the spot where guys go pee – or was it yesterday? After that, I go on my own to see Paolo Nutini, as I’m the only one who wants to see him. The others go to the Silent Disco, and we agree to meet up for The Fratellis. Laurent keeps me informed on the Wimbledon final – Federer/Nadal – by text. I get to a really great spot, and for the first time, I can actually see the stage pretty well! And I’m leaning against a fence, where the security guys stand, it feels safer.

Paolo Nutini seems pissed, but it doesn’t really affect his singing, and he does a great performance. I love it when he covers I want to be like you from The Jungle Book. He also sings a few new songs of his. The, The Fratellis. No way I’m leaving my good spot to meet up with the others, I stay where I can see! The crowd keeps asking for Chelsea Dagger, they get it at the very end. Fantastic atmosphere, the audience is so pleased to see The Fratellis – home boys. I meet up with Colin and Gillian afterwards – Federer’s won the final – and Craig and Debbie join us for Kings Of Leon. But the stage is quite far, and I’m not interested anyway. They decide to go to the NME stage to see Kasabian, but I want to stay at the main stage for the Scissor Sisters and Snow Patrol. I’m lucky and can go back to my good spot. The security guys are looking forward to the end of the day! The one in front of me is not well at all – his eyes seem to bother him. Another one keeps the crowd entertain in between acts.

The Scissor Sisters come on, tartan clad. They are mental. Jake Shears jump about, pretends to have sex with the female singer, climbs up the scaffoldings on the stage and flashes his arse. The crows gets mad over She’s My Man, Laura, and the final I Don’t Feel Like Dancing. The banter in between the songs is really funny – they do get the festival spirit! They leave the stage humming Loch Lomond. While we’re waiting for the headliners Snow Patrol, they play 500 miles in the speakers, and the crowd sings along. Snow Patrol comes on. Gary Lightbody wins the award for the nicest performer. He’s adorable.

Folks throwing glowing sticks at him: “You seem to love throwing them at me! (open his arms) Go on then. Take a square shot. (thousands of sticks thrown on stage.) You’re rubbish! I bet I can hit someone (throws a few back.)

A shoe lands on the stage: “A shoe! Someone is going to be really sorry tonight, walking home. To Inverness. Probably too pissed to notive he had his shoe in his hand. And to notive he let it go. Can I have the other one please? Size 10.” (he does eventually get the other one. And a welly.)

A guy has climbed up a scaffolding during a song, and got everyone’s attention. At the end of the song: “There’s an unusual request. Could the guy who’s climbed up the scaffolding, climb down? You’re frightening everybody. You’re frightening me… Your mum’s phoned, she says she’s got your slippers and your jammies ready. And toasts with Marmite, just the way you like it. This song is dedicated to the man who’s climbed up.”

He laughs in the middle of songs when shoes land on the stage, he pleases the crowd giving it all on Chasing Cars and Eyes Open. And he’s really fit! A grand way to end the week-end.

A girl plays the bagpipes on the main stage, fireworks start off to say goodbye. The week-end is over. I’m knackered, I’m filthy… but I’m starting to think I’d quite enjoy coming back someday!

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