Saturday, March 20, 2010

Make music, not war

I have lived in a dirty pit of the utmost filth, where I literally threw the wrappers of the food I was eating onto the ground next to my dwelling, and no one so much as batted an eyelid. Not one single solitary bin within miles of land containing tens of thousands of people. You wouldn't make pigs live where I have lived. I didn't shower for three days, despite being pressed against thousands upon thousands of equally sweaty people, all of us caked in mus. And jaysus, I won't even begin to describe the toilets; let's just say didn't drink many liquids for the weekend. No, I was not in a third world country ravaged by war. No, I am not extremely poor. And no, I am certainly not recalling the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. I was in the sunny auld Emerald Isle

Welcome to Oxegen, folks.


Alright: this was Oxegen '06, and I'm pretty sure bins have been installed since then (you thought I was kidding - seriously, not a single bin in the whole damn place). Although I was back in '07, and there certainly wasn't a significant addition of bins.

Why am I recounting 'fond' Oxegen memories all of a sudden? Well, I'm currently attempting to scrounge up enough dosh to get an earlybird ticket for Electric Picnic. I'll definitely end up going, of that I'm sure, so it makes sense to buy them while they're still 200 euro as opposed to the eventual 240 euro. I've been picknicking the last two years and its been Amazing (yes, with a capital A), even just for the buzzzz.

The Oxegen line up was released a while ago, and I have to say, its a good 'un. I have been to Oxegen twice as well, and the differences between the two festivals are unreal. I'm most definitely a picnic person, although I will admit I often prefer the music at Oxegen. I believe this is a plus for the picnic though, that the atmosphere alone keeps me coming back.

So it was this that got me to thinking about the last time I was at Oxegen - the dreaded washout of '07 - and the definite final nail in my Oxegen coffin.

The rain during '07 was simply ridiculous; I felt like staring at the sky and asking, "are you actually havin' a laugh, like?" My tent literally floated away down a stream. We tried to pitch a friend's tent in pure mud; honestly, not a shred of soil left. Didn't work. Shocker.

Surprisingly, one of the hardest things for me personally to do at '06 was litter. As I said, I'm pretty sure bins have been introduced in the last couple of years (Brother was there last year) but in '06 there were none. The first time I purchased some noodles I honestly spent about fifteen minutes searching for a bin, ignoring everyone else around me flinging their waste on the ground without a care in the world. I was determined to find a bin; alarms bells went off in my head and my childhood and my mother came flashing back to me in some sort of bizzare high speed film that buzzed though my mind, telling me that littering was a crime and Santa wasn't going to give me any presents if I did it. Faced with not other option, I gingerly placed my empty noodle carton on the ground and wandered away despondently.

The last night of '06 was surreal. Anarchy reigned supreme, with intoxicated masses going on pilfering raids. Now, I'm hardly a saint - I made my way through several liters of spirits that weekend - but this was just crazy. Portaloos were toppled (yep, people still inside), guard towers pulled down, and tents set alight. Our wee section wasn't too bad, just some drunken 'Fields of Athenry' (to be expected) and a naked madman with a Puff Daddy style white fur coat (also to be expected), but the heart of the campsites genuinely looking like a bomb had hit. Long lost security then appeared and proceeded to march through the campsite at five AM (since when did five own an AM?) turfing everybody out. The tents weren't worth salvaging - half of them weren't even distinguishable as tents anymore.

So my vote's on Electric Picnic again this year. Now I'm not claiming that there's no drunken muppets (I'd be fairly hypocritical if I was), they just happen to be much more chilled out drunken muppets... ;-) There's loads of stuff to do in between the music; I know people who said they barely saw one band the whole weekend and still had an absolutely amazing time.

Hmm, that rather unintentionally turned into a bit of an anti-Oxegen rant... On the plus side, I don't think I've littered once since summer of 2006.

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