I've been a bit quiet on the blogging front recently; life tends to get in the way a bit, as does a good old dose of the blues and a snowstorm of change going on around me that doesn't allow time to think, let alone write the slippery thoughts down. I've always had a bit of a grudge against change, but for once I am coming around to the idea... even if it does mean my world keeps turning upside down a little. Melodramatic, me?
With my parents about to leave my beloved hometown for good, a best friend living on another continent and a crazy work life, the last couple of months haven't been the easiest - particularly when I am also the only single one of my friends, with no other half to lend me a shoulder when things get a little bumpy. Everyone is moving on in some way and I appear to be the only one staying still - not a great feeling, particularly when I am one of those thinky types. Funny how writers usually are, eh?
But, the parentals are doing the right thing after a long long stretch of bad luck, the beauty of Skype means no one is ever unreachable and I have achieved one of my New Year's resolutions to write something I'm proud of - my first ever print feature, for Expert Beauty no less, and about breast awareness in light of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I'm just hoping it's the first of many and that's not it for my career in journalism! So I haven't been neglecting the blog for no good reason (though I still feel a tad guilty) - and I have a few more reasons to post about too, so if you haven't given up on me just yet, stay tuned.
So hello change - maybe I can deal with you after all...
So I am no longer a festival virgin. Technically, I have already been to the Garden Festival in Croatia but a) we had a lovely little apartment so no tents in sight and b) it's not the UK so it doesn't count, right? Nope, I count Shakedown as my first official festival and I have to say I loved it...
Unfortunately, as is usually the case with UK festivals, the weather let us down - hard to believe in today's October heatwave, isn't it? Just two weeks ago as I donned my VIP wristband and went through the gates in Stanmer Park, the sky opened and it pretty much rained all day. OK, slight exaggeration - there were some really sunny bits just to confuse us all as we stood there in scarves, coats and wellies (or little ankle boots in my case: festival virgin = unprepared) but every so often we'd be rained on again, and as soon as it began to get dark we were shivering over our cider and wine. Oh the glamour!
Then there was the toilet issue, which Shakedown apologised profusely for on their Facebook page - there just weren't enough. It meant that the whole day was pretty much organised around when nature might call, as you had to allow about 45 minutes (VIP) or well over an hour (main part) to queue - not great when the alcohol is flowing and you'd rather be dancing instead of jigging on the spot. I even had some woman lie to me at the front of the queue, saying she was three months' pregnant and couldn't wait in line (vodka and coke in hand, smirking boyfriend in tow).
Without a doubt, Example were the kings of the event and really set the crowd off - they weren't on until later in the evening (straight after Ed Sheeran) so there was a lot of standing around and eating hot dogs while the lesser-known acts played but it was a great atmosphere and well worth the wait. If I liked them before, I loved them after Shakedown (the neighbours now have a new song to be bored of) and would happily pay to see them live again.
Though on a high after warbling along to Changed the Way You Kiss Me, we were damp, cold and aching, so decided to miss Razorlight and the after parties and head home; my Ibiza-loving self was appalled at this but when there's no sun, a fairly long trek home and you're sick of the sight of queues, it turns out a hot cup of tea is more appealing than wine. Will I go next year? Depending on the lineup, hell yes - Shakedown promise to sort out the bad organisation for the next one and given that it's so close to my hometown, it'd be rude not to.
So my first (UK) festival experience - wet, exciting, exhausting. Sounds like I'm a natural, no?
P.S MASSIVE thanks to Lisa Ven and co for telling me about the event!