Monday, May 3, 2010

Nice day for a... festival

The day after I had submitted this Nightwatch column for the Indo's Day and Night festival-themed mag, I got a wedding invite for the August Bank Holiday weekend. Mark and Simone, your wedding is OBVIOUSLY excluded from the sentiments expressed here...

By Susan Daly

Friday April 30 2010

Martin King, eat your heart out. I can confidently predict this summer is going to be a scorcher. Of course it will be: it's FIFA World Cup year. Volcanic eruptions, flash floods and freak earthquakes notwithstanding, there are a few laws of nature you can set your clock by.

One is the direct correlation between the number of times Mr King winks at the end of any TV3 weather bulletin and the increased likelihood of rain. (If he winks thrice, it's time to get out the sandbags. This is a scientific fact.)

Another is the absolute guarantee that any year with a World Cup in it is a year with a heatwave. It's like nature's way of punishing anyone who insists on wearing a polyester football shirt and sitting indoors for a month.

This is the same twisted weather system that, less fairly, makes Leaving Cert students swelter inside exam halls for two torturous weeks while the rest of the country basks at the beach.

The point being that I'm convinced it's gonna be a good one -- and I'm putting my money where my meteorological guess is. This, my friends, is going to be a great year for festivals. All I need to figure out is, a) which ones I can afford, b) who I can get to go with me, and c) where I will get the time to go to all the ones I fancy. I'm thinking a spreadsheet might be the way to go.

Spreadsheet, you cry? Doesn't that go against the very spirit of festivals, of free love and living carefree for a weekend? Not in my little handbook of obsessive-compulsive behaviour, it ain't.

I'm the kind of gal who goes to these things with water purification tablets and three different SPF creams. Yes, my rucksack is huge, but I'm also the angel doling out babywipes and aloe vera burn salve to less-prepared friends by day two.

I'm also finally feeling this is the year where I have sorted out exactly which fests I want to throw my lot in with. It has taken years, but I think I have grown a radar to detect the fests being run by badly organised chancers. Not that there are many of those now: the time for thinking a one-sided lorry trailer and a burger stall justified charging folks 50 lids is over.

I don't get festival fatigue. I love having six options on a June bank holiday (not including the offer to help a friend move house -- er, no thanks). My only problem is all the other life stuff that gets in the way of me rocking out in a field.

Things like weddings. How selfish are those people? Would they not get married in February when we are really in need of a good party? The chillier weather would also carry a reduced risk of Uncle Jimmy wanting to take off his shirt to perform the Hucklebuck.

What makes me laugh is the reaction of some people to festivals. "I wouldn't have the stamina," said one. Another thought I was an idiot for paying €300 for a three-day festival.

I don't know if it's rude to point out that you are expected to spend at least that much time and effort on a wedding these days, no matter how far away from the top table you're seated.

Pre-wedding dinners and post-nuptial barbeques seem to be de rigeur. Jebus help you if you suggest you mightn't be able to spare another two days off work on either side of the big day.

Who spends less than a few hundred euro on an out-of-town wedding? Between accommodation in some overpriced B&B in the back end of Westmeath, transport, a wedding outfit and the all-important present -- well, let's just say there's no such thing as a free three-course dinner.

By all means, have your wedding on the August bank holiday. But I'll have to consult my spreadsheet.

First published here:

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