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Field Day: lots of sunshine, less magic

The Fall played at Field Day. Photo: Bibabidi Words: Alex Aldridge

For those of you who missed out on the Field Day festival, here’s an easy guide to recreating it: Queue for an hour to pay £30 to get into a public park. Join another queue. Pay £4 for a can of beer. Drink it. Re-join queue. Mindful of the time you’ve spent in queues so far, drink the next 440ml more slowly. Queue for a toilet. Queue for another beer…

Field Day, the annual East London music festival, which took place last weekend, had lots of bands – including a few you’ve probably heard of, like French alternative rockers Phoenix and 70s punk outfit Fall – and lots of fun extra things like chairoplanes (swing carousels), sack races and Independent newspaper-sponsored cupcake stalls. But essentially it’s about queuing, paying more than you’d expect for basic things like food and drink, and temporary toilets. My most memorable experience? Witnessing a woman walk into the men’s urinal area, pull up her skirt and take a piss. The most convenient way to fast-track the mental processing of such experiences in this tightly controlled section of Victoria Park? £4 cans of beer. And so, my friends, the cycle continues.

If all this sounds a little cynical, I apologise. Actually, I don’t apologise. Music is obviously a magical thing. And, needless to say there are some wonderful musicians out there who have given, and continue to give, much happiness. But take away the music – and the Field Day line-up wasn’t the best – and many festivals, let’s face it, are pretty mediocre or even unpleasant. The best bits of Field Day involved sitting around, chatting with my mates in the sun. There were some other highlights, too, but having just written, read and deleted a paragraph about them, I’ve realised that they weren’t actually all that good compared to life outside the festival.

The moral of this gloom-filled 300 words? Don’t waste your cash and energy on half-arsed events like Field Day, go to parks with your friends, enjoy the sun and drink cheap beer, after all, isn’t that all we really want from a festival?

This coming Saturday (7th August) there’s a small free festival in London Fields, there will be independent bands, food, drink and local pubs with proper toilets. Maybe I’ll see you there. Read more about it in our Summer section.

To listen to Rome by Phoenix, without having to piss in a hot plastic cube or spend half of your wages on a six-pack of beer, click here: Phoenix – Rome (with thanks to the Independent Arts section’s free downloads).

Words by Alex Aldridge

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