"So wait, none of us brought a stove?"
I packed day-glo paint, festival dresses, teabags, tobacco, medical kit, lucky mascot… but no stove. None of us did. Rookie error. Less fussed on the food, but what about the tea?!
Like an angel in a Pearl Jam T-shirt, we're saved by a mate, wanting to camp in the safety of our circle. He's got a stove and a kettle. Result.
Arriving early on Thursday means we've bagged a premium spot, near enough to the loos that we won't have to run far in the dark, but far enough away that the rest of the Phoenix Festival isn't going to land drunkenly in our laps on the way back from seeing Neil Young.
My £30 tent from Argos is genius— at least until I see that everyone else had the same idea. I make an executive decision and paint massive day-glo alien faces on the canvas. Can't mistake it in the dark now. Just enough left to decorate my face for The Prodigy on the dance stage.
We hit the food stalls for the first of many noodles over the next four days. Then we're off to dance down the front with Keeeeef and the lads in a set that we'll never forget. Later, somehow, we find ourselves in the Megadog dance tent, happying the night away until we remember that we missed Bowie on the main stage. We blame Leftfield for getting us hooked.
Over the next three days, we'll miss Neil Young, Alanis Morrisette, the Manics, The Foo Fighters, Bjork and The Sex Pistols, all of whom we booked our tickets for. But we'll see Massive Attack, Beck, Cypress Hill and Fun Lovin' Criminals, and we'll discover CJ Bolland, System 7, Goldie & Metalheadz, Grooverider, Red Snapper, Lamb, LTJ Bukem, Spooky, William Orbit, James Lavelle and The Chemical Brothers in close quarters, which will change our lives, plus one final round of The Prodigy in a tent fit to burst. We'll spend a lot of time giggling, dancing, chilling in the comfiest music tent ever, while people glitter and dream around us, and we'll wonder how we can ever go home again.
Looking back, I don't know what we ate and drank, what we wore or who we hung out with. I remember the music, only the music, and bumping into random friends in the queue for the loo, promising to meet up at the Neil Young performance that we never made it to because we were dancing to Firestarter long after the beats ended.
That weekend, we swapped an Unknown Legend for a Sugar Daddy and swapped grunge tees for day-glo lighters, discovering that when the music plays, it can lead you into the light, not only the dark.
© Beviathan 2021-07-15