Latitude 2015 Part 1Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Almost two weeks ago now we were setting off for our very first proper festival, Latitude, in the neighbouring county of Suffolk. I'd booked the tickets back in January without taking much time to find out much information beforehand, deciding that this year we were going to get out and enjoy a good lot of live music. It just so happens that Latitude is a much bigger festival than I imagined, with an astonishing number of acts appearing over the weekend (seriously, the mind boggles).
We rolled up in pre-meditated convoy with Hazel on Thursday afternoon and parked in a huge area filled with vehicles, with no sign of the entrance on the horizon. It was at this point I first regretted over packing. Hazel lifted her boot and I saw only two bags, which alarmed me as our boot and back seats were piled high with all manner of camping supplies and sundries. After a brief head-scratch it became apparent that absolute essentials were the priority on the first trip. Tickets, tent and the first wave of oddments. Somehow C managed an excellent impression of buckaroo and piled himself high with a selection of items, three times the quantity I could bear. The walk to the main gate was a sort of draggy-shuffle with bags rubbing against legs and gnarled fingers numbing under the weight of straps. We did make it to the check in area where there was no queue at that point. Once wristbands were secured we burst out into the camping field and surveyed the vast area in front; this was the second time I regretted over packing. With a vague idea of direction we set off in the general setting of 'away from the entrance, away from toilets' before settling on a patch in the red camping area. Being well-seasoned campers (and refreshed with a dry run the weekend before) we made short work of putting up our medium sized, very practical 6 man tent. It was a shame that we forgot the mallet, but pegs were secured sufficiently but no more (and far better than some of the rubbish attempts we saw. At least we put our guy lines out). Once we'd got this sorted I insisted we hired a trolley for the remaining two thirds of our stuff and if you ask me, that was the best £10 we spent all weekend. By the time we'd finished all that I was relieved that it was over.
The first visit to the toilets was a little alarming. In some unfortunate twist I picked possibly the one cubicle (if you can call it that) without a lock and also there was no sign of any loo roll, thank goodness I had the foresight to carry plenty on me at all times. Toilet paper is on a stand next to the toilets so you have to make a guestimate of how much you are going to need in front of a small crowd. Again, patting self on back for carrying plenty of extra in my bag.
There is something worrisome about a toilet door which shows feet and doesn't lock. The raised tin toilet blocks reminded me closely of the metal crates that cows get lined up in for milking. I was uncomfortable with the concept for a while but 24 hours in resignation took over and just not having to queue for long was a joy.
The Thursday late afternoon dissolved into evening as we walked through the 'village' and into the main arena area. The village holds a great array of places for the weekend campers, including first aid, a supermarket and the showers. We didn't make it to the showers (yuk, I know. But we used a bazillion baby wipes), the opening hours were limited and the queues were crazy. Word is that they're communal too which doesn't bother me as such. An all in one shower gel/shampoo would be best for an almighty wash down and swift exit.
Not much goes on on Thursday, it's quiet and relaxed with people milling around steadily. We took a wander around the site, trying to familiarise ourselves with the place and find our feet with a trip to the bar. Cider was my beverage of choice for the weekend. Tiredness decided we needed an early-ish night so we headed back to the tent just in time to miss all the fireworks. Typical.
As I've waffled on so much I'll have to post the rest in at least one other piece. Keep your eyes peeled.