Jul 16 2008
Don’t Rely on Your Mobile Phone
Have pre-arranged meeting points because even though you may have full signal, you may still have difficulty getting through due to 80,000 other people attempting to do the same. I left the Winehouse to meet with my brother but we kept missing each other due to the inability to get a mobile connection. This also meant that text messages sent, were received up to an hour or more late. This did afford me the opportunity to hear Panic at the Disco, the pop punk group from Las Vegas. I knew a couple of their songs (Nine in the Afternoon is brilliant) but was delighted to hear more. They were a great energetic act which acted as a contrast to Miss Amy‘s lacklustre performance at the opposite end of the arena, down on the Mainstage.
Don’t Hang Around With a Bunch of 16 Year Olds
One: you will feel very very old. Two: People will stare at you oddly because you are hanging around with a bunch of 16 year olds.
I did finally catch up with my sibling and his mates and ingratiated myself into their favours with packs of Mini Smarties. My hopeful attempt to seem cool and hip in front of them was grounded at the first hurdle. I looked like this:
Once I clambered over that obstacle things went further down hill when I insulted one (and probably more than one) of them accidentally. But, they were a forgiving bunch and allowed me to tag along with them to watch REM. Further showing my age, I was able to sing along with most of the earlier REM tracks while struggling with tracks from the recent Accelerate album (their best in many years).
Get Up Front As Early As Possible
After REM on the Mainstage, we bounded through the admittedly light layer of mud to see Manic Street Preachers in the Green Room. We arrived with time to spare so we could get some decent positioning for the gig. We were pretty much right up front and if you want to be anywhere near the front at a gig as popular as this, you need to get their early.
Alternatively send a bunch of people ahead of you. The Teens and I held onto a good spot while Lottie, Andy and T, RP, Lady Anon and others made their way through the masses to join us. The great show put on by the Manics was only improved by our brood of bouncing buddies. The Manics did not disappoint and gave us hit after hit – we loved it and the band seemed to really enjoy their set too, which can only enhance the performance. Dancing, singing, waving and jumping we were all on a high when they finished the set, but were immediately thrust into depression. It was too short. There was no encore. We screamed for more, but it did not come. It’s a shame, but such are the ways of the festival. The Manics were probably my top band of the entire weekend both for the music they played and the feeling of longing for more they left us with. The gig encapsulated all that Oxegen was for me. It was fun; I was surrounded by great friends and strangers who I clicked with; the music was unrivaled; the show was electric; I was left wanting, needing, crying out for more. Awesome!
Plan Your Weekend
No Matter How You Plan It, You Will Inevitably Miss Some Gigs
It’s going to happen. It’s the nature of festivals. Some gigs will clash with others. Some gigs will be on early and you may still be sleeping. Some gigs you may not even hear about until after the event. This is why it is vitally important to plan out your gig-guide before you go. Thanks to the ever-efficient Cormac Moylan I had a readymade Excel sheet which I could adapt for my own nefarious plans (mwahaha). Okay, so nefarious they may not be, but plans they are. For the most part I got to see what I wanted and my guide actually managed to stay in one piece for the whole weekend despite being rained on, handled by many and moving from muddied pocket to muddied pocket repeatedly.
But true to form, the well laid plans of mice did not allow for a number of gigs. I would love to have caught the Aphex Twin (especially having heard some of the reviews in the past two days). Paddy Casey would have been fun and I wanted to hear Counting Crows (although Andy and T were hugely disappointed by their mish-mash of a concert). The Hoosiers, Vampire Weekend, Declan O’Rourke and Alabama 3 were on my secondary list, but alas went unheard by me. The choice between The Raconteurs and Róisin Murphy on Sunday was very tough. We ultimately went with Róisin to add a greater variety to the weekend and I’m glad we did, because she was remarkable. I stepped into MGMT in Pet Sounds before the gig had started and was all set to watch them. I rushed out to summon Lottie, but by the time I returned, mere minutes later, the entire tent was surrounded by hoards of people and there was no hope of getting in. By all accounts it was a fantastic session – well, once it restarted after the idiots climbed down from the rafters.