This is split into two chapters. I think this my attempt at keeping people interested, and chapters make it sounds as though I have some exciting story to tell, and in my eyes I do, but secretly it was just easier to write in this way. Here is the story of my half term week – time to get your reading specs on.
too cheesy rhiannon, calm down
A Common Person in a Southern Scene
A couple of weeks ago I went to work at my first festival with Festaff, called Common People in Southampton. Pulp weren’t on the line-up, and I’ve gotta say it was a slight disappointment, but Clean Bandit, Years and Years, Band of Skulls, De La Soul and my good buddy Fatboy Slim were there so considering it was the festival’s first year, it was a pretty impressive line-up.
As soon as I finished work on Friday afternoon I headed down to Southampton. 3 trains, one tube and around 7 hours later, and I was finally there. Book of choice? Women In Love, D.H. Lawrence. Music of choice? Low Battery. No music for me. Unsurprisingly, I read a fair amount on that trip.
It might seem a bit odd that I chose to work a non-camping, two day festival, 7 hours away from home because quite frankly it was a bit odd. It was slightly spur of the moment after I came back from Snowbombing and the rule was you had to work one smaller festival to be able to apply to work at Bestival. I couldn’t do any of the other festivals on the list, so Common People it was. Why not, eh?
(probably the hassle and the cost but shush)
Saying that though, the long train journeys seemed to begin the ‘I’ll literally talk to anyone I’m near’ thing I had going on. Whether they spoke to me first or I decided to make a little joke (I’m not that funny though so I probably just made people feel incredibly awkward) I seemed to end up in a full blown conversation with anyone I was in close proximity to. So, basically, don’t sit to me because I am that annoying person who will talk to you. I’m so sorry. It was fun though, and I met some cool people over Half Term from just chatting but I’ll leave that until chapter 2… I’m so mysterious, oooooh.
My first introduction to Southampton was people angrily fighting over taxis. One woman had a dog and nobody would let her in a taxi and she started swearing at them all. Then a family jumped the taxi queue and a fight ensued. I just patiently waited and hoped I wouldn’t piss someone off when I got a taxi all to myself when big groups were waiting, although I was willing to fight for the taxi on the grounds of I had been at work all day then travelled 7 hours and DAMMIT I WANT MY BED. Luckily they left me alone. I think they heard my northern accent and presumed I was tough. Grr.
I stayed at the Banister Guest House, which was flipping expensive like everywhere in Southampton apparently, but at least it was nice. I even had an array of tea AND hot chocolate. Worth it. Plus only a 5 minute walk from the Southampton Common, which was where the festival was being held. I’m lazy so this suited me fine. Although pricey, I recommend the guest house, because it does a good full english breakfast and it provides a TV in your room so you can watch Eurovision when you get back from a day working at a festival, and really, what more could you want?
I had to be there for 8am the next morning to get contracts and things sorted, which is earlier than my day job so I was a bit bleary eyed when I got up, and therefore a bit unprepared for the day. Main advice for non-camping festivals: dear lord, bring snacks. I made the mistake of just thinking I would buy food there when I got a break because I had no idea where the shops were in Southampton, but shifts were pretty long, as were food queues. Let’s just say, my morning trip to the co-op the next day was a good shout; wine gum o’clock is officially 25 to the hour.
Shifts were from around 10.30 – 18.00 give or take, and we were in charge or putting on all the different types of wristbands on customers, and scanning their tickets in. It wasn’t the most inspiring job, but I quite liked talking to people and even got to do kids wristbands for a while which meant dealing with adorable cuties who thought the piece of paper tied round their wrist was THE COOLEST THING EVER. It didn’t use much brain power which might sound like monotonous hell, but considering my day job means I have to be constantly on the ball and using my brain, it actually was a nice break, and meant I could just enjoy the sun and enjoy the company.
Music wise I was sadly a bit too shattered to enjoy it that much. After a full week at work and then working 8 hour shifts, I wasn’t feeling the music as much as I wish I could. The first day I did get to see De La Soul, which was a laugh and involved a lot of weird arm movements from me and three other stewards, and then we saw Fatboy Slim. He did the same set as Snowbombing from what I can remember, but to spice things up a bit he had a full on choir at the start singing a capella renditions of his hits. Pretty cool. I left before the fireworks sadly, but it was still a fantastic night and the glow stick someone gave me at the gate came in handy.
The second night was a lot more chilled, and we didn’t have to queue for food for ages so got to get a couple of beers and chill out with Band of Skulls and Years and Years in the background. To get the train to London we left after one Clean Bandit song, which was a shame, but to be honest I am more a rock fan so it didn’t bother me that much. However, the festival did have a really nice atmosphere – kind of family friendly with carnival rides and kids section, but still a good for everyone else. If you around Southampton I would definitely say check it out next year.
I can’t say working at this one was some amazing, once in a lifetime experience, but at the same time it got me super pumped for the next festival where I will actually be camping on site, and the gorgeous whether on that first day made me feel those summer vibes. And of course, the best thing about it was meeting cool people – at festivals you tend to meet like minded people who enjoy chatting as much as you do, which makes shifts bearable and even, dare I say it, pretty fun. Thanks for a pretty chilled weekend, Southampton!