The first thing I should make clear is that I am NOT, by nature, a festival-goer. Indeed, I must hang my head in shame and admit that I spent the first seventeen years of my life living in Somerset and never once went to Glastonbury; I like to claim I was rebelling in my own way, by going against conventional stereotypes of wild teenage behaviour and staying quietly at home as a protest, but in reality the following factors are far more pertinent:
1. The mud. I pride myself on my shoe collection, and instantly abhor ANYTHING that could threaten its pristine beauty, and as everyone knows it always rains at festivals this pretty much rules them out. Outdoors + rain = mud = shoe sorrow.
2. Tents. Although I was taken camping as a child, as an adult I appear to lack the mysterious camping gene - that strange strand of DNA that exists in certain people and persuades them that it is a good idea to sleep in a tent rather than in a nearby hotel, at risk of attack by midges, or drunk teenagers, or bears, and walk across sheep-poo-laden fields at two in the morning to use a public toilet. My husband possesses this gene, but luckily the force is stronger with me, and he has long since stopped asking to go camping.
3. Facilities. As well as a toilet that is not several miles away and shared with 300 others, I also claim as my right some kind of bath/shower arrangement, preferably equipped with small, stealable Molton Brown goodies, and a selection of towels. Find me a festival that offers this, and I will consider it. NB the toilet must not, repeat not, be a chemical one.
4. Competitiveness of other festival-goers. I am the least competitive person in the world; my friend, a doctor, has banned me from playing any kind of game against the clock due to the dangerous levels to which my heart rate is raised during such exchanges - I once had to busy myself during a fierce round of Buzz by hiding in the kitchen and rustling up a few canapes. I cannot push and shove, and therefore go to the January sales some time around early February, when only sizes 6 and 22 are left. I certainly could not jostle to get to the front of the stage, and envisage myself lost and frightened at the back somewhere while everyone else has a really great time without me, down the front, with their expert pointy elbows.
5. Basic lack of credibility. Ultimately, I lack the credibility to attend a cutting edge festival; the only one I have been to in recent years was the, erm, Here and Now tour (a misnomer if ever there was one, full of acts with absolutely no relevance to modern music) in the subversive venue of, ahem, Henley-on Thames. Here I danced at the back to Rick Astley and Bananarama before catching the train back to Reading and the comfort of a friend's spare bedroom.
And yet...what if someone thoughtfully brought a lovely, shiny, non-threatening festival to Didsbury? I have already bought my tickets for CavFest - West Didsbury's very own festival - and am beyond excited for the following reasons:
- it is on Sat 17th September. I will have gone back to work by this time; ergo, I can personally guarantee the weather will be hot.
- it is to be held at Cavendish Primary School; never in the history of the world has a festival venue sounded more non-threatening. This venue is also a short taxi-ride from my home, which is probably why they chose to hold it here.
- CavFest runs from noon until 10pm; this is perfect, as it clearly sanctions the drinking of beer before lunch, and yet also allows for people to be tucked up in bed by a sensible hour (note "bed", not "tent" - another positive.)
- the festival is raising money for the local school. That means that if I don't go, small children are GOING WITHOUT - I am looking upon it as a duty befitting the responsible citizen that I am.
- tickets are just £15 for adults - £12.50 if you're quick and snap up the early bird tickets.
- the line-up is being revealed bit-by-bit but is already amazing. Badly Drawn Boy, James (well, some of them at least), Tom Hingley and The Lovers...keep an eye on the website to see who pops up next.
In short, I am ready to throw aside my festival phobia and embrace CavFest with open arms; although, if it's raining on the big day I might just change my mind again...