Having grown up on the Isle of Wight, Festivals were a yearly luxury on my door-step that included the muddy dancing, expensive alcohol, listening to amazing bands and a hot shower, my own bed and a fried breakfast. Being spoilt with 2 festivals and free tickets from playing with the Medina Ukulele Orchestra, I enjoyed festival season to the full from 2005 clinging to my mum and dad through to the year I headed off to University in 2013.
Since moving to London and being a student, it’s been a different story. Although Glastonbury is on the bucket list – the current thought of the expense in addition to the struggling down on a train, standing in long queues and drinking warm beer from a muddy tent is not currently the most appealing thing on the list. But I’ve been lucky to find my kick of summer festivals without the hassle. This summer we attend both British Summertime in Hyde Park and Citadel in Victoria Park – both day festivals and both a 30-minute tube ride away.
I have to applaud BST for the incredible sound quality. Even the bands throughout the afternoon were clear and perfectly balanced. The atmosphere was incredibly chilled, probably due to the line-up, but despite being the last of the days of 6 lots of headliners, the site (and toilets) were immaculate. We relaxed in the sunshine with a reasonably priced Pimms that we didn’t have to queue for. This huge bonus was a result of the copious amounts of bars scattered throughout the site. There was a great variety of food and for the two of us, cost us less than an evening out for a meal. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were out of this world. I have to say, the crowd singing Free Falling still gives me goosebumps. And to top off a fantastic day, it took us no more than 45 minutes to get home.
Citadel was a different, but equally as brilliant experience. As a whole gang of us went, this day was a bit more full-on but the festival site suited a bigger group perfectly. There was so much to see and do. One of the gang had previously been to the festival the day before on the same site (what a great idea!) and had raved about the things there. A problem I’ve experienced at a few festivals now is the low sound quality but Citadel did not disappoint. Again, we did not have to queue for more than a few minutes and there was a variety of places to eat. The crowd was a little rougher but I still felt safe at the festival and the site was, again, surprisingly clean. It was a perfect day and I spent no more than £30 (plus ticket price) for the whole day.
Although I would always recommend a weekend festi for those who haven’t experienced it, and they are always a memorable and entertaining time – for similar (in the sense of Bestival) or less (in comparison to Glastonbury) money, greater choice and a warmer shower in the morning, day festivals seem to be the a pretty good option if you’re London-based.