Last Saturday I went to Field Day.
Field Day is a music festival in Victoria Park. It’s one of those ones where you don’t have to bring a tent because there’s no camping, and besides, your tent would probably get stolen anyway.
It’s a good place to go with a group of mates if hanging around in a park with beer and music is your bag (it’s my bag), plus if it’s sunny and the line-up’s decent, you can do a lot worse things with a Saturday afternoon in June.
(Although at £50 for a one day ticket, admittedly those worse things will probably be a bit cheaper).
That said, if you’re going and really want to enjoy the day to its full potential, you should reconcile yourself with a few basic truths first.
1. You will see four out of 50+ possible acts.
This is because most of your conversations will go like this:
“Oh, we could go and see Temper Trap…oh no we can’t. They’re not on the line up any more.”
“Why don’t we go and watch SOHN then?”
“They’re over the other side.”
“Let’s walk over.”
“Or we could just get a drink and sit here, I can sort of hear it.”
“Yeah. Let’s sit here for a bit and work out where to go.”
“We should go to the bar.”
“Yes, let’s go to the bar.”
2. You will lose your friends.
Despite this festival taking place in what is basically a large garden, you will lose everyone. Some will wander off to watch an obscure Syrian rapper, others will naturally drift towards the bar, and before you know it there’s a split in your group that no amount of Whatsapp pin dropping can bring together.
Eventually, unable to decide what to see, who to meet or where to go, you’ll just sit down on a patch of grass, take photos of yourselves and wait for things to come to you.
None of this apply to your gay friends, however, who will find everyone they know, immediately, all the time, wherever you are.
I don’t know how.
3. Mobile phones will not work.
With thousands of people all bumbling around like demented moths trying to locate their friends, the 3G air above Victoria Park will be blocked with 10,000 variations of exactly the same text message, all of which will arrive long after you have moved on to somewhere else.
I recommend finding someone taller than you, hopping on their back, and doing The Meerkat instead.
4. Everything sounds bad in a tent.
Let’s be honest, there’s a reason the best nightclubs in the world aren’t built with large sheets of plastic for rooves. But this isn’t a nightclub, it’s a park, and something’s got to give.
Unfortunately, and not ideally for a music festival, that thing is volume.
Thank god for beer. Speaking of which…
5. £5 Red Stripe.
Let’s just look at those words for a minute. £5 for a can of Red Stripe. Five pounds. For a can. Of Red Stripe. Red Stripe. The Jamaican beer which sells for 50p in most Dalston cornershops, and £1.50 at Ridley Road Market Bar.
For a can.
Of Red Stripe.
And yet devoid of any other option, you will pay it.
6. There will be queues for the toilets.
Use this time to refocus, meditate, drunkenly compliment the girl wearing a patterned all in one next to you, and imagine a world where festival toilets don’t have queues.
Or, use it as an opportunity to relocate your friends by knocking on every Portaloo door and asking everyone outside it “Did a girl go in here? Dark curly hair? Asian? About 20 minutes ago? SUE, SUE, ARE YOU IN THERE?”
7. Fairground rides are a good idea in theory.
In practice, they’re £10 a go.
And as we’ve already discussed, you can get not one, but two Red Stripes for that.
It’s a no brainer.
8. You should get cash out before you arrive.
The queues for the cash machines are quite long, but the fun really starts once you get to the front, debit card in hand, and see this:
9. You’ll go again (but not next year).
This is because it takes two years to forget all the irrevocable truths that make Field Day not quite as good as other things that cost £50 in London. Then, one day in April 2016, you’ll see a big poster on Kingsland Road and think “yes, that is a good idea. I cannot recall having anything but a marvellous time there.”
And you will go back.