Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Rewind Festival, 80's Music and camping

I've just achieved a couple of firsts...both of which I'd thought I'd probably never do, one of which I haven't done since I was a girl guide and attempted to lash together bits of wood to fashion a wash bowl holder and a rack to hold our sleeping bags and ruck sacks.  It was disastrous especially as my attempts always collapsed and I swore I would never go camping again...but things have changed!  We've just been camping! And we've just been to our first festival (Rewind)....and we had an excellently, fantabulous, brilliant time.

Camping (or glamping) has changed since I was a kid.  For years I've sneered at campers as... well....a bit odd!  Both BH and myself like our creature comforts and if I can't use my GHD's then I'm absolutely miserable. For the past couple of years, friends of ours ("Ohhhh, Dave" and "Pikey Donna") have tried to persuade us to go to Rewind Festival with them.  I've always found  excuses like "Oh, I'm so sorry but I'm washing my hair that weekend" or "So sorry, but the Au pair is sick" worked pretty well in the past, but I ran out of ideas.  I'm not a big music fan, so we didn't think we were missing out on too much. Now if you said to me...lets go to a literary festival I would probably bite off your hand (do they camp at them too?)...but no one has asked me so I haven't been yet.


BH decided that it would be a good idea if we at least tried it, then we could tick it off our bucket list.  So we left the kids with Ma and off we went.  BH had sussed out the tent we'd need, picked up an inflatable mattress,  packed a hat and gloves and even bought a lugaloo!! We'd said that we could always go home if we didn't like it...Now BH is not a camper...at all, but he took to it like a duck takes to water and I was horrified...my fabulously useless husband was erecting tents and looked like he enjoyed it! 

We'd gotten there early as we'd been told that we'd be hard pressed to find a space past 4 o'clock, so  arriving 2 hours before they opened the gates (wtf??) we found ourselves in a queue  at least 2 miles from the site.

"But I don't do queues!" I whinged.  Pikey Donna, I could tell, was less than impressed.  "Tell you what," she said hoisting her rucksack onto her shoulder as the stream of "happy campers" edged closer to the gates "You, pop down to the front and wait for us to come round and get you.  You won't be in a queue then!"
"But I'll have no-one to talk to!"
"That's the point" she said "If you don't shut up moaning, I'll make sure I don't talk to you at all!"
She made her point, and I did, indeed keep my gob shut.

When the gates opened everyone rushed onto the field to find their space.  Campers were rushing about looking for the perfect space, whilst others were running to and from the car park with little trailers piled high.  Many were top heavy and toppled over into the mud or cow pats. Some brought their own wheel barrows (clearly experienced) and one even had a wheelie bin.  On closer inspection the bin was filled to the gunnel's with beer! The cars were parked about a million miles away over bumpy ground and it took several journeys to bring all of our gear.  As "Ohhh, Dave", had been there on two previous occasions he was well versed with the protocol...to make the homestead as big as possible, place the tents in a circle, and cordon off the gaps with wind breaks...that way no one will stumble through your tents in the middle of the night, utterly trollied, looking for their own tent...and let me tell you there were quite a few lost trollied souls wandering the site that night!  At one point I thought it was raining until I realised that someone, somewhere was peeing up the side of someones tent!



BH trotted off to the taps each morning to fill our water containers. He helped cook breakfast on the two ring camper stove...and I sat back and watched it all happen. Lovely!! For someone who gets hives at the thought of a field and a tent, he really threw himself into the spirit of things.  The first night however, was dire! Nearly everyone was hammered and walked past our tent, singing, laughing, shouting or screaming and I nearly jumped in the car and drove home. At about 3 am it went deadly silent...I can only imagine that the baby boomers didn't have the stamina to go on much longer and had passed out... but I bet their hangovers were something to behold. I'll remember next time to either bring some ear plugs or just go home. "Ohhhh, Dave" told us that the next night would be quieter, as they'd burn themselves out!!

The Village People and a smuf!
 Everyone was in high spirits, and dressed up.  There were tons of "Village People", there were the crew from Star Wars complete with Chewbacca, there were Rubics cubes, Madonnan featured highly, there was a Michael Jackson, A few Batgirls, Wonderwomen, and loads of Super Heros.   Pikey Donna and I were going to go as "Flabba" (Abba), with our silver jumpsuits (so now!), and headbands, but I was too damp to even contemplate slipping into the spray on suit!


What surprised me was the "niceness" of everything....except of course the security man who stopped anyone who looked like they were carrying a gin and tonic, a felafel wrap or protein bar...the others carrying flagons of wine, crates of beer and veritable feasts, of course got through unhindered!

No food or alcohol was allowed into the arena, so we were forced into buying and eating expensive consumables, but I guess that was part of the experience!  The food, however was amazing! The food stalls were high quality and healthy. We ate at The Furnace (organic vegetarian), The Med Grill (flat breads and marinated meats) and The New York Burger Co.  I would really have loved to have tried it all, but there just wasn't enough time! The silent disco was great, as was the karaoke stage...and this all went on whilst the bands were playing and well into the night.

The Real Thing at Rewind Festival
The music was excellent and brought back a time when we were "just into the music"  The Real Thing, Fiction Factory, Holly Johnson, Billy Ocean, Haircut 100, Howard Johnson, China Crisis, Hue and Cry, Kim Wilde, Bucks Fizz, UB40...well... the list just goes on! Some engaged with the audience, some didn't, but they all contributed to two days of fun filled memories! Most of these guys had to be in their late 40's, early 50's but boy, did they throw themselves into it! They didn't allow their arthritis get in the way!


The loo's however, were disgusting.  There weren't enough for 40,000. I mean, most of the people attending the Festival, were over a certain age and were used to the finer things in life!  There weren't enough showers for the campers either!  Pikey Donna, said her son had texted her suggesting taking a bikini for showering...she said she had no intention of taking one..or a shower!

The festival had different areas for the campers.  There was a quieter Family area (for those taking kids), a Glamping area (for those with money!), A Camper van area, and a mooring area for those bringing their boats...this was Henley after all!!

I could go on forever and I know I've forgotten to mention everything, but all in all a great experience and one I will definitely do again....except with our own toilet and shower tent!


Disclaimer & Apology: Pikey Donna is not a pikey...she's a very lovely friend who should be called "lovely Donna"..but for the purposes of this post, I've called her a bad name and I sincerely apologise to any pikey's out there who are offended by my very rude assumtion that pikey's are not nice...they are...I love 'em all!



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