It’s been a hot minute since my last proper night out, never mind festival, so last weekend, it’s safe to say I went big. Being in and out of lockdowns for the past year and a half, I felt as though a large chunk of my prime ‘going out years’ were snatched away from me, leaving me to feel a little bit … old. Can I even say that at 25? It’s safe to say I was raring to go once Freedom Day came around. And what better way to make up for lost time than going on a 3 day bender with all your friends, standing in a field, listening to some of your favourite bands play. So here’s me, documenting my weekend with a little Olympus MJUii camera, taking photos of people having a good time in a field.
I have been going to Tramlines festival in Sheffield almost every year since it started in 2009 (making me 13). As it’s in my hometown, it’s been a good excuse to go (like I needed one), and since being invited as press, I always snap up the opportunity. The festival itself grows bigger each year, moving from its humble beginnings of being a free inner-city music event with Ms Dynamite as a headliner, to a fully fledged festival in Hillsborough Park, with a huge main stage, tents, after parties, the whole shebang. And with that, the line-up grows too. This year saw the likes of The Streets, Dizzee Rascal, Blossoms, Royal Blood, The Kooks, Supergrass, Little Simz and loads more take to the stage. I’m not saying it’s comparable to the likes of Rolling Loud, which was on the same weekend, nor does it try to be that either. So if you want to get properly on the lash and have Carling on your Cornflakes for breakfast, no judgement, but it’s also nice to have the option to take it easy too. That being said, I was double parked the entire weekend, never without a drink in my hand. Making the most and all that.
The music played was pretty nostalgic for me, hearing songs throughout different stages of my youth. The Streets’ ‘Original Pirate Material’ and ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free’ were iconic growing up. I still remember ‘Dry Your Eyes’ being played on the radio constantly, even my mum and dad loved it at the time. Although I haven’t taken to Mike Skinner’s newer material, I did quite enjoy getting soaked in beer and thrown about to ‘Take Me as I am’. Fast forward a few years and the little wannabe Indie kid I was, was listening to The Kooks on my mp3 player on the way to school. Listening to ‘Naive’ live today, priceless. I was never massively into Dizzee Rascal and admittedly only listened to his more popular tracks. The tunes from the ‘Tongue N’ Cheek’ album remind me of house parties drinking blue WKD and Smirnoff Ice in the kitchen– a ‘tell me you’re British without telling me you’re British’ moment. Nevertheless, ‘Holiday’ is still frequently played on my Spotify and I’m not afraid to say it. There was no better way to end the Sunday, and the set pretty much revived me out of my previous tired, hungover slump; it was a moment of weakness but Dizzee got me through.
If you’ve been to a festival before, you’ll know the stress of trying to make sure you have everything you need, but without taking a big bag to fit it all in. It’s pretty much inevitable that you’re not going to remember every little thing, but to help, here are my top pieces of advice:
- I actually forgot how grim it is using a Portaloo, and didn’t bring tissues with me. Bad planning on my part. It’s an obvious piece of advice yet often overlooked, so do yourself a favour. Same goes to making sure you properly make sure to lock the door. Yes you can imagine what happened to me when I made that fatal mistake… mortifying.
- Don’t buy new shoes to wear before breaking them in first. Blisters ruin your weekend. And PLEASE don’t wear your fave sneakers, it’s likely going to end in sadness.
- Take a little disposable camera. Not knowing what the outcome of an image will be, is more fun than spending ages on your phone trying to get the perfect pic for the gram.
- Suncream! Luckily it was cloudy when I was about, but if the sun came out it would not have been pretty. Either take some with you or apply a small amount before you go.
- You’re probably sick of hearing about sanitiser, but it was surprising how many of us forgot to bring it. Pandemic or not, it’s essential.
- Don’t be a d*ck. This one is pretty straightforward, and to be honest, should be practiced daily.
Despite how horrifically hungover I was, and how much it proved I can no longer get away with a diet of tinny’s and beige food and come out unscathed, it was all worth it. I said I wanted a detox for at least another few weeks, but here I am reminiscing and desperate to do it all over again. But who can blame me. Although it’s been a rocky time (to say the least) there’s nothing like a big ol’ field, a sound system and a can of Redstripe to bring everyone together. There’s photo evidence to prove that.