Okay, so not all experiences on my bucket list live up to my expectations or are worth repeating, as this experience proved. I had heard such great things about this festival, so I was looking forward to it in a major way. V Festival run the festival simultaneously at two sites, Weston in Staffordshire (in the Midlands) and Hylands Park in Chelmsford Essex. We chose the latter because, of the two, it was closest to where we live.
The acts looked pretty good. I love KT Tunstall-and in fairness, she rocked, even though it rained during her set and she almost got electrocuted-bless her! She has a fab sense of humour and carried on regardless, making jokes with the crowd when her equipment broke and sharing the banter with her roadies. I love that KT always interacts with her audience this way, and so did my partner-as he said-some of the music was great, but without that interaction-you may as well be listening to a CD in some respects! My favourite memory of the weekend was actually of, dancing my socks off in the pouring rain with my guy holding on to me as we got so soaked through that I couldn’t even open my eyes at one point! Haha! I have been to several of KT’s gigs before with one of my best friends, but my boyfriend is also quite a fan of her music and it was really lovely to share his first time with him 🙂
We also watched Fun Lovin Criminals, Ziggy Marley (we wanted to watch Bruno Mars, but got SOAKED in a brief rain shower and ran for cover during his set), Morcheeba (I love Sky’s voice), Plan B, Razorlight, Kaiser Chiefs and Arctic Monkeys on the Saturday and on the Sunday we watched Noisettes, Ocean Colour Scene, a little bit of Ellie Goulding, Scouting For Girls, Manic Street Preachers, The Script and Rhianna; so as far as the music went, it was pretty great. There were a ton more acts that we would have liked to have seen, but couldn’t because of clashes with other acts, but we had already seen Ellie Goulding, Jessie J, Cast and Example at Lounge on the Farm a few weeks ago any way, so those were easier to forego.
We arrived on the Friday morning, and had heard that the trek from the car to the camp site would be quite long, so we deliberately travelled light. I had also heard that the festival is overly commercial and dont like to let you into the arena with anything that they can’t sell you-and at £4 per drinks token this year (it seems to go up by £0.50 every year so far) I decided to get crafty and sneak in some contraband drinks to swizzle the money grabbing mofos! I froze a ton of Capri sun sized pouches (I got these from a festival/camping website) of Mojitos and some other cocktails and kept them in a cool bag, and surprisingly, they stayed chilled right through until Sunday. We also froze cans of beer and cans of Pimms & Lemonade, which my hair dresser had given me the thumbs up on (I had not realised they would stand up to freezing). These were good for the camp site (where you’re allowed to have your own drinks, but not ideal for sneaking into the arena).
The camp site was a total chav fest. We had been warned by some friends not to camp too close to the front, of the site (nearest the arena), or too close to a path way or toilet… The smell of the toilets was literally unbelievable by the end of the weekend, and how people with any sense of smell managed to camp down wind of them at all is beyond me. We were in the Red Camp site, which has fewer restrictions for cooking equipment, and is actually on site, but sadly it was just horrible.
People were totally disrespectful of other people’s property, we even saw a heavy leather foot ball being kicked around the site by a lot of random young guys, and when it would smash into the middle of some poor innocent neighbouring tent, the saddo’s would cheer like yobs at the fact that they had managed to trash a tent. Our friend had made the mistake of camping too close to the foot path near the front of the camp site a few years ago and told us that they had been woken a few times by passing drunks taking a pee against their tent. Although I personally I didn’t experience any tent looting this time (probably because we hired a locker and left nothing of value in the tent) my camera and my brand new Ray Bans did get pick pocketed from my bag in the arena. Ah well, I guess that’s why we have travel insurance!
On the first night there, despite having set up our tent in the ‘quiet camping’ area of the red camp site (near security tower 11) a bunch of people who clearly had no intentions of letting anyone sleep set up camp next to us… I really have no idea why they felt the need to do this, since there had been plenty of room in the noisy area, but at 3:30am when their music was still blaring out at night club volume, I resorted to trudging over in my PJs to ask them to turn it down. Thankfully they did. I heard a few other disgruntled voices coming through the canvas of other nearby tents saying things to the effect of ‘bloody right too, selfish t*ssers, this is the quiet area!’
At 6:20am we were then woken by some silly tart in the tent next to them shouting out “Sum people fink I’m bonkers!” Ugh, she literally wouldn’t shut up. I bought some ear plugs that day, and complained to the security staff at tower 11, asking them to please step in if it happened again, which they assured me they would do, but they were just as useless as the first night and I think at 4am I had to shout out to the same girl to be quiet. We decided that camping again on the Sunday night was not an option, and packed up on the Sunday morning. We decided that if need be, we would collapse the back seat of our estate car and sleep in the boot on an air bed rather than subject ourselves to the bunch of obnoxious selfish chavs who were there.
The other disgusting thing that happened, not just a little, but an awful lot at V festival was the rather charming ‘piss throwing’… Guys literally peeing into their beer cups and chucking it forward into the crowd. One of my other friends went and had a pint of wee thrown directly at her head, and my partner also got hit during Rhianna… To be honest, after that, we’d had enough, and decided to leave the shambles that was V Fest. It’s such a shame that V have allowed what could be a great festival, with some fab acts, to become a hot bed of hooliganism. I wouldn’t mind betting that at least half of the guys there were probably looting shops in London in the London Riots a few weeks earlier.
Both my partner and I consider ourselves capable of ‘roughing it’. We enjoy camping, and loved Lounge on The Farm Festival, but this was utter chaos! The staff didn’t seem to have a clue which direction anything was in, the parking stewards directed us all around the houses and doubled the walk to our tent with all of our stuff because they didn’t know the lay out of the site properly, and the security staff were about as useful as a chocolate fire guard!
We both came away saying that we would NEVER go to V Festival again. So whilst it’s crossed off my bucket list, it’s something I’ll chalk down to experience and ensure that in the future, I do my research properly before buying tickets, and only buy tickets once I have the impression that the festival I’m going to isn’t aimed at people with the mentality of a skunk.
On the plus sides, there were some cracking costumes again. Here are some of the photos I took with my iPhone (I can’t share the one’s from my camera as some light-fingered nob has it 😦
Emma’s Festival Fun Rating 2/10 – Yes the music was great, but for the price you pay, you expect that. We decided that for the price we paid, we could have gone to several concerts of the acts we really enjoyed and avoided the hassle of dealing with the idiots at V. You also expect the staff to give a damn, the site organisers to enforce their own rules in the camp site, and the security to chuck people out if they are seen throwing cups of urine at other people in the crowd!
- Dont Go to V Festival unless you are a big fan of golden showers!
- If you do get hit by a cup – the general rule of thumb is ‘if it’s cold-it’s beer, if it’s warm it’s pee’
- Do travel light
- Do take a pair of cheap sun glasses, and not your designer sunnies
- Do take a hat (it may just protect you from a shower)
- Do take Wellies – it was mostly beautiful weather whilst we were there, but it did rain for 2 hours, and the ground was a muddy mess after that
- Don’t take anything you can’t afford to lose
- Do freeze all of your drinks before you go, and keep them in a cool bag
- Sleep with your expensive items under your pillow or in your sleeping bag-tent looting even whilst you sleep is rife at V.
- Do hire a locker from Locker Safe. It cost me £15 and although the locker was only just large enough for a purse, a phone, and a few keys and small items (about the size o a small shoe box) it did contain a car charger socket-which was great for keeping an iPhone charged rather than queuing in the arena and wasting precious music time
- Do contact Wave if you have lost or stolen items. They haven’t got back to me with my missing items yet, but it does at least offer you some hope!
- Do cart your stuff around on a bag/trolley with wheels. It took us 40 minutes to get from our car to the tent
- Do go to the back of the camp site, and ideally to the back of the quiet area
- Do take some Travel Johns, they may come in handy if the queue for the toilet is quite long on the camp site in the morning, or if it’s chilly at night.
- Do NOT set up camp too close to a path way
- Do hire a camper van or go Glamping if you can afford it and you enjoy sleeping