Diaries of a Festival Virgin / Bramham Park / Leeds

Part One

By Dewi Powell

Hi. My name is Dewi, I’m 19 years old and I’m from Caerphilly which is just north of Cardiff. That sentence sounds like we’re all sitting in a circle at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting … but no; I’m just admitting that I’m a festival virgin.

“JUST?!?!” – I hear you shout, appalled at my ignorance to the amazing time you’ve all had at sweaty mosh pits in muddy fields where the multi-purpose floor doubles up as a toilet and a bed. It’s a good job that I haven’t told you I didn’t lose my gig virginity until February and I only realized that because I was told that seeing Fourth Street Traffic at a boxing event and Manic Street Preachers at a football game didn’t count as a gig!

By now I can feel you all judging me, please don’t, bear with me instead. Many people go to gigs and festivals growing up but I’d go to football or boxing shows instead, mainly because none of my mates or family went to many gigs either. Personally I don’t see a big difference; large groups of people congregate to swear, drink, shout, smoke, scream and jump around like a crack smoking kangaroo.

Don’t get me wrong because I’m not a musical recluse, nor have I been at the other end of the spectrum as an extremist mainstream sheep. I’d describe my tastes as semi-alternative mainstream bands and being from the south Welsh valley’s I didn’t have much choice who my favourite band was, Stereophonics. Off the top of my head, the others would be Hard-Fi, The Enemy, Kaiser Chiefs, Arctic Monkeys (the old material) and Mumford & Sons. I like old school rap like NWA and Pubic Enemy and really old bands like Queen and The Eagles.

Then I came to uni and met Sound Rev’s owner/editor, James Murray, who introduced me to more under the radar bands and artists who I’ve come to LOVE. For example, Tyler the Creator and Odd Future, James Blake, Jamie Woon, Mabel Love, The Antlers, The Heartbreaks, Sigur Ros – the list is endless.

The Heartbreaks // Matthew Whitehouse

(By the way, I can sub-consciously hear you loyal readers of Sound-Revs chuckling at me considering those artists under the radar!)

At risk of sounding homosexual, I suppose me and James have become decent(ish) mates and I put up with him. We’ve spent many hours, often at a ridiculous time of day, discussing ideas that seem like the work of a genius but they fail to materialise which is probably why only us two find them funny or interesting.

But one idea that stuck was losing my festival virginity at Leeds 2011. With no summer holiday planned when James proposed the idea I thought why not, what’s the worst that can happen? I spent many hours drinking in fields when I was 15, this is my favourite past time…

Then since buying my ticket I’ve slowly began a process of realisation that I’m going to be purposely placed in a mosh pit where I’ll be brutalised to a degree many sheep are subject to in Wales, and/or I’ll be left stranded at a random field trapped inside a tipped over porta-loo. Whatever happens, it’ll be placed under the safe haven banner of banter and I’ll not be allowed to be angry about it or it’ll get worse. Guaran-feckin-teed.

One of the only other ideas to come to fruition was this feature on Sound-Rev which I hope you’ve enjoyed. I’ve got a four hour train journey to James’ on Tuesday, where I’m staying before our early bird entry to Leeds fest the next day. So on Tuesday eve I’ll post how the first leg of the week goes. Stay safe, and bring on Bramham Park.