‘I think we’ve done it wrong, J’. We were in a field attempting to put up the tent. It had been a while since we did this – a camping/festival experience – but we were more than prepared. Already the afternoon had involved a trip to Argos for an air bed and and Waitrose for food and drink. The car was packed to the roof with duvets, pillows; all the necessary accoutrements to make it a pleasurable as opposed to painful experience. Now at about 6pm, we were in a field surrounded by other tents with a view of the festival site.
‘Yeah, you’re right, the fly sheet has to go up first, then the inside bit gets attached to it – go easy on the pegs though, I’ve lost a few along the way – just hammer that one in with your foot’. ‘J, no, that’s how they get bent!’ I exclaimed, as I held one up that was already completely crooked. Soon the tent was up and stuffed to the ceiling with the necessary bedding. We giggled as we looked at it and tried to figure out how we were going to fit in.
As we approached the barbeque, I heard the first notes of ‘The Ghetto’ and my mood soared. We met the host and some of his pals. ‘Wow, check out the outerwear, J’. We were surrounded by Northface at the campfire, Berghaus at the ‘pop up’ bar, Kilimanjaro on the dance floor and the most sophisticated Patagonia I’d ever seen, lounging on the straw bales. ‘I know, to say nothing of the hats’ she concurred. She was right: Trilbys and flat caps were everywhere, drinking Jagermeister shots and Dark and Stormy cocktails, and hanging out on the edge of the dance floor just waiting for that perfect moment to join in.
Darkness fell and the moon came out complete with halo. The stars added to the brightness and an illuminated disco ball sparkled in the trees. ‘That’s Saturn beside the moon’ M said. ‘Really – it’s so bright – surely it’s a satellite?’ I replied. ‘Wait a second, I’ve got an app for that’ said Mr Flat Cap holding his phone up to the sky. ‘Hmmm, looks like it’s Uranus – but I could be wrong, not sure if this is working properly’. We all sniggered.
The campfire blazed on and I danced until dawn.
It’s amazing how music can energise you, how being in the country air on a summer’s night gives you a sense of freedom, and seduces you so that time stands still and the moment is lived for what it is.
I headed back to the tent. It was 9am and I hadn’t slept. As I crossed the field I saw J – my old chum and party pal for many years – and we laughed as I approached. We chatted, with the history and understanding of each other that only comes with time and numerous occasions shared. The night had been special and I was reminded that it’s not where you are but who you get to be with that makes something stand out and become that.