Last Updated on February 18, 2023
I’ve been meaning to go to Reading Festival since I was a teenager. If I had of pulled my finger out and gone then I would have seen the likes of Nirvana and Veruca Salt, if my luck had taken a downturn I could have been the poor sod that Courtney Love’s used tampon landed on. But alas I somehow managed not to go till I was 29, I decided at the beginning of the year I was going to go no matter what the line-up was. But I’m not going to natter about the bands in this wee semi-literate ramble, I’m sure plenty of other people are gonna be doing that! In fact I’m writing a whopping report on the musical side of things for the next issue of Beat Motel.
I travelled to Reading (I drove) with three friends; Dom (the drummer in my band ZEEB?), his lass Emma and the bother of the ZEEB? Guitarist, big lad called Andy. On eventually arriving at the festival site after a seven hour drive and a 20 minute boat ride we spent a good hour sludging around in the mud trying to find my mates Mafro and Pete. We eventually found them (still dunno how) and I was about to get the first friendship surprise of the weekend. To set the scene, we weary travellers were carrying far too much crap to be dragging our sorry asses around a darkened muddy field full of nutters. Being a festival virgin myself I decided it would be a great idea to bring a heavy cool box, a bloody great big flag (and pole) and a gallon of water. By the time we’d found Mafro I’m sure my arms had stretched by about a foot and I’d lost feeling in my fingertips. It made my heart sing that the first thing Mafro and Pete did was offer to share our collective load, I could have kissed them, judging from how smashed Mafro was he probably wouldn’t have minded. On getting to our site the next surprise was that the people we were sharing ground with had reserved us a couple of pitches! Mafro and Pete then proceeded to help put up the tents while I stood around looking useless, occasionally bursting into some very dodgy harmonica playing. That night dizzy with glee (and maybe some beer) I was ecstatic to find I was camped with a bunch of zinesters! The great Mafro (Debunk zine), Chris (12-15, last hours) and the fantastically marvellous Tess and Catherine from the Mute Collective, whom I was about to spend the best part of four days with. And I really do mean the best part. The day dinosaur Jr played I found myself alone on the campsite with Catherine, nobody else wanted to come watch this band or had ‘caved’ through over indulgence and were recovering in their tents. Although looking a little sleepy herself Catherine agreed to come see Dinosaur Jr with me. We spent the next couple of hours together, and I think it must be the fastest I’ve ever got to know someone! For me Reading was defined by friendships formed in the strangest environment, but with (hopefully) the strongest bond, music. I just accidentally mistyped the last sentence, before I edited it the end read ‘strongest bong’, but that’s a whole different story! So I guess if you know you’ve only got a few days together you bypass all the usual bonding pleasantries and get right down to the nitty gritty of friendship. I’m already looking forward to next year, hopefully we can all camp near each other again. Huzzah!