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personal - v festival 2011 - day three

I hate camping and I hate tents. Those were the words that echoed round my head as I listened to the noise around me outside my tent. It was difficult to tell what time it was within the tent. I grabbed my torch and used it to find my phone. seven o'clock. God I had hoped it was later and that the day would end sooner. 

picture of my V festival ticket

My body was aching. I was still cold. And I was also hungry. I reached around for something to eat and found a nutrigrain. I nibbled it and then snuggled inside my sleeping bag trying to find some pockets of warmth. Finding none, I decided I'd get up. I opened the flap of the tent and a little sunlight snuck in. I could tell that it had rained during the night. I closed the flap and proceeded to wash myself using a 5 litre container of water that I'd brought with me. Washing in the confines of the tent proved incredibly difficult but I was determined the be clean. I pulled on my Jeans and a simple top and was ready to face the world.

It was 8am when I made my way back to the arena. I ambled slowly, my legs still a little tired from the night before. My feet were sore but I was determined to stick it out at the front of the Virgin Arena if I could get there. I was in front of the Arena when I had my Eureka moment. The first was to get something to eat, which I did by purchasing a sausage and bacon sandwich, which, let me tell you, was like a gift from the gods. I also bought a paper and sat in the now emerging sunshine and stuffed my face. The second was to buy an air bed. I purchased one for a tenner and lugged the thing back to my tent. I would sleep like a god this night! I actually also took the opportunity to charge my mobile phone. it cost me a tenner to do it but it was worth it. I would have been lost without my phone.

And so I ambled back once more to the arena, making my way to the fencing that separated me from my sprint to the Virgin Arena. I sat on the grass as it started to rain and shrugged off the few spits and spots that darkened my clothing. I watched as other more younger folk stood up and smiled inwardly, knowing that in a few hours they would regret not taking advantage of every second they had to be off their feet. And so I waited, watching the pattern of the day before unfold and standing only when people rushed to the barriers in the false belief that they were coming down. Then at 11.30 the barriers came down. I grabbed my items and ran hell for leather towards to stage, picking a prime position against the barrier. Huzzah! Now all I needed to do was to wait for the acts!

The Acts

Fun lovin' Criminals were up first. From the drawl I would say that this was an American group. They belted out some tunes I didn't know and got the crowd working with them. I tapped along, and took my camera out to take some pictures. They were great to be honest. I was more interested in the line of security officials in front of me though. They were an interesting bunch all dressed in matching yellow uniforms and trying to look menacing. Security guard watching became almost as interesting at the acts.

The next act was Ziggy Marley. I looked behind me and was actually quite surprised at how relatively few people there were in the crowd behind me. They were only three or four lines deep. Total contrast to the day before. Ziggy Marley was great with some good Reggae tunes played. This is not my favourite genre I confess but I still found myself singing some recognisable songs and doing a good impression of someone who knew the words.

Next up, KT Tunstall. I only knew one of her songs - suddenly I see - but her guitar playing renditions of her songs could not have been more perfect if she was singing in a studio. Some dick heads decided to throw bottles of water from the back of the crowd onto the stage which spurred the security guards into action, peering into the crowds for the offenders and pointing with menaces at identified culprits. One of the security guards watched as one of the inflatable balls that had been passed over the heads of the crowds landing in front of the stage. There was nervous anticipation as he approached it followed by calls of " over here mate" and beckoning hands. The security guard picked up the ball, glanced at it and without a second glance at the crowd placed it in a storage area under the stage, to a chorus of boos. The was very funny. Then suddenly another ball materialised above the heads of the crowd and they erupted into a cheer.

Bruno Mars came on stage next and without doubt this was one of the best acts. They sang most of their hits from their album and were fantastic to watch and listen to. Definitely a brilliant act! Needless to say I became snap happy and took a myriad of pictures!

The Lost Prophets were also great! By this time the crowds had swollen tremendously, attracted by the previous act and the acts to follow. I think I can honestly say that I would use the words 'Manic' and 'Frenzied' to describe the performance... and I mean that in a good way. It was energetic with head thumping from the group reciprocated by the crowd. They gave it some welly on stage and really entertained. They were fantastic from first to last. But it was the next act that was the best for me.

The Kaiser Chiefs came on and took centre stage. I knew the songs too! Fantastic. "I predict a riot" "Ruby" were the ones that went down a storm. The mosh pit became one major crush as people surged forward and then back. It was incredibly exciting! The lead singer leapt from one side of the stage to the other, sweating profusely and exciting the crowd. Then in one leap he was in front of the crowd, hanging onto a barrier, arm raised encouraging the crowd to join in, which they duly did. The security guards sprinted after him, holding his legs to prevent him falling or being dragged into the crowd. THIS was what a festival was all about for me! Best group by far for me. Everything came together well. I have to admit that I went out to buy their album later that week on the strength of that performance.

There was a slight delay whilst we waited for Plan B, the next act. By now my feet were totally numb. It was dark and the crowds were pushing from the back. A few people looked uncomfortable and made their way to the front where they were pulled over the barrier. Some seemed to be in distress. Other folk were pulled out for messing about and were unceremoniously escorted out of the arena. Some of these idiots held their arms up in triumph. Plan B were totally awesome. They came suited and booted, their slick clothing belying the edginess to their music. The defamation of Strictkland Banks is a great album and their rendition of 'She Said' was sheer perfection!

This led us to the last act of the night. The Artic Monkeys. Just before the group came on I was approached by one of the security men who asked me if my camera had a detachable lens. When I said yes, he told me that it was a professional camera which was not allowed and therefore I had to put it away. He brought his supervisor to speak to me to press the point. Dick heads the lot of them. So I had to use my Iphone camera for the last pictures of the night.

By this time people were really pushing from the back and we were getting crushed against the front barriers. More distressed people were being pulled out of the crowd. Water was being supplied to the crowd by security guards. Bottles were being thrown by some idiots in the crowd. At this point we had a bizarre incident. A woman who was seemingly in distress made her way from the back to the front where we were standing. We thought she was going to be lifted over the barrier and indeed a security guard offered to take her over. She stated that she needed to catch her breath and even spat on the ground a couple of times as if trying to suppress sickness. We all watched, worried for her. Then she basically refused to move. Clearly this had been a rouse to get to the front of the queue the Arctic Monkeys. The people she had directly displaced complained, first to her and then to the security guards. Still he refused to move. When the security guards stated that they would pull her over the barrier she stated that she was pregnant and that they'd be in trouble if they touched here. And so began a ten minute standoff with people saying in no uncertain terms what they thought of her and making her time there so uncomfortable that she agreed, very reluctantly, to be pulled over the barrier. She was led away, hobbling as if she was in some distress. " ..and the Oscar goes to..." I didn't catch her name.

Arctic monkeys were great live. I knew the music if not the words. The crowd went mad to 'I bet that you look good on the dance floor' jumping up and down like nutters. It was a great end to the event!

And then it was over.. I made my way, in some considerable pain, back to my tent, eventually finding having got totally lost, extending my search by 40 minutes. I kept my clothes on, added others and slept on the airbag that was only slightly more comfortable than sleeping on the ground.

Final Day

Nothing remarkable here. I woke up, met up with the brats.. uh I mean my nephew and niece and their friends - and trekked to to the carpark where I waited for them to show up. Packing up my tent was surprisingly easy. However it was clear that others didn't really want to retain their items. I walked past row upon row of tents, seats, bottles of water, airbed and other camping gear that people clearly didn't want to take back with them. It was a veritable Aladdin's cave of items. I waved goodbye to it all.

Additional Pictures

I took one heck of a lot of pictures over the course of the festival. A selection are located on Facebook.

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