Saturday, June 06, 2009

Wonderland







Saturday dawned bright and beautiful. I had sat up drinking when we got back to the tent on Friday, and once the cold had sent me scurrying to my pit, there was an endless procession of happy revellers to keep me entertained, all through the night.

So, I wasn't feeling exactly 100 per cent, not with the state my upper thigh region was in anyway. I walked over to the main site to utilise the bogs in the grandstand, as it was likely that I would relieve myself more quickly that way than waiting in the queue for the bogs; even if every single step was agony.

Suitably refreshed we set about our day, which largely involved cooking breakfast, talking shit while waiting for the kids to wake up and wondering which of our neighbours had been the most aggravating through the night and which of the daft sods had started a fire. A fire, in a tent city populated by drunks.

For some reason, I decided to pay a visit to the local Sainbsurys before going on to the site. I only really needed some children's painkillers but I also took the opportunity to replenish the wine stocks and bought a load of cold juices and water for the nippers.

It occurred to me, when I parked up, that the security was being pretty vigilant in searching bags for glass and alcohol. The thought of walking back to the tent though, with my upper thighs in such a catastrophic state, was too much, so I stuck all the drinks in a rucksack, and packed all the soft drinks around the wine. At the gate I was asked if the bag contained any glass or alcohol. No, I said. She took the bag, opened it, rummaged around and then handed it back with a big smile on her face. I was chuffed.

It was beautiful wandering around the place at around 1 ish, with the sun high and hot in a cloudless sky and the place filling up and everyone just looking happy and delighted with life. I wandered across to the tent where Ade Edmonson and his Bad Shepherds were playing, but it was too hot, too crowded and the folky renditions of pub rock and punk tunes becomes tiresome very quickly, so I headed back out into the sunshine, back to base, just in front of the disabled ramp, a matter of feet from one of the bars. I risked a cloudy cider. Fuck me, it was cold. Fuck me, it hit the spot.

I didn't have high hopes for the music on Saturday. I was sure I would enjoy it, but none of it was particularly inspiring. How very, very wrong can a man be? The Mummers appeared on the main stage early on, and they blew me away. The ethereal quality of the music was just the job for a sunny afternoon and the quality of the singing and the playing was superb. It was early, I was still feeling a bit shit and I was watching a band I had never heard of play songs I had never heard and I was spellbound. This is a band to watch.

Having breakfasted very early, we headed back (agonisingly in my case)to the tent for our traditional festival meal of tinned curry, tinned chilli, tinned meatballs and pre cooked rice. We take a load of lovely, fresh prepared food for the Friday night then spend the rest of the weekend eating shit. Anyway, we weren't detained long and we took the necessarily slow walk back to the field in time for the start of the Oyterband.

The family departed to all points west and I hobbled with my John Wayne gait to the front. Just as I used to love Men They Couldn't Hang years ago, I used to love Oysterband too, although I went off them when they went all pub rock. So hopes were not all that high. Wrong again. They played a storming set, full of energy, passion and humour. Singer and bassist even ended up in the middle of the crowd at one point. Right band, right time. They really woke the place up and got everyone jumping. They got me jumping anyway, which was no mean feat.

I was reliably informed by the fart master Harris that I had missed a brilliant set by Kissmet while I was filling my face, I heard others comment upon how good they were too, but you can't see everything.

There was a bit of a hiatus after the Oysterband, but that was alright, it was a beautiful place to be, my companions had found distractions for themselves and I was just kicking back, enjoying the vibe and the cider, which was going down rather nicely; too nicely, because it was obvious from the very first sip hours earlier that it packed a punch. And I forgot all about Agnes Milewski in the Big Top, which I had been looking forward to. I did see a bit of the Ten Bears set, my mate loved them, I thought they were personable, but pointless and they had me singing My Sharona for the rest of the night, which is a bit unforgiveable, really.

Then Little Boots came on. The field was very packed by now, which was good. Little Boots was..........er, alright. Most of the crowd seemed to enjoy it so the happines quotient remained high and my left foot tapped a little bit. It was the one performance of the entire weekend that my daughter appreciated, which, of course, was a good thing. I had a very brief look at Spiro after Little Boots. They were OK.

By now, there had been a bit of a regrouping and me and the fartmiester started necking the cider a bit and we were getting thoroughly in the mood. Which was just as well because next up were the Beat. More accurately, next up were a Beat tribute act, who had the good fortune to have Ranking Roger as singer. Roger is the only remaining member of the original band and he was a pretty insignificant member back then, so it ain't really the Beat that you are watching. It didn't matter though, because they were absolutely ace.

What more could you want after a brilliant day in the sun, as the night darkens and the air becomes chilly? The bloody Beat, banging out hit after hit and a large crowd of happy, slightly drunk and podgy middle aged fools going apeshit and singing along to every word.................it was the most fun I have had in years: my upper thigh region was feeling the pace though. My kids loved 'em too. Everybody loved 'em, it was not possible not to love 'em.

Last up were Supergrass. I am no fan of this lot, but I don't dislike them either. My youngest loves 'em though. The night before we had allowed him and the fartmeisters kids to go right to the front for SFA and although they were ok it did get a bit wild towards the end of the set, so we disappointed them by not allowing them to the front for this, as we thought it would probably be even more raucous.

The upside for my nipper was that we went very close in anyway and, between us, me and the Mrs had him on our shoulders. Christ, he loved it..........bouncing, rocking, singing along, yelling with absolute abandon at the end of every song.................it was ace.

A very simple thing happened towards the end of the set. A couple of people appeared in the crowd armed with giant bubble machines, which they let go in a continuous stream. It all added to the fun, and I don't know if it was the cider or not, but the sight of those bubbles made me deliriously happy. It was a good set, the highlight being the way my nippers reacted, but they didn't do the "we are young" song, the miserable gets.

That was it for the main stage, but the kids persuaded us to try the silent disco, which we had never been to on any of our previous visits to Wychood. What can I say? Believe the hype is what I can say. It is brilliant and it is hilarious...........if you get the chance to go, go, you won't regret it. It's as good without the headphones as with them, as you see a couple of thousand dopes moving and grooving to what appears to be some imaginary beat, before they all yell, with absolutely perfect timing............."HI HO SILVER LINING" or whatever. It was a slow, happy walk home fuelled by fresh coffee and doughnuts and punctuated by frequent stops for banter with other tired, dishevelled but happy fools.

And nearly all the toilets were still clean. Amazing.

Some photos
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