For me, festivals are a compulsory part of summer. After going to Reading for the first time last year, the feeling of being surrounded by close friends and good music for a few days is something I seriously crave during the long winter months. So when I saw British Summer Time festival was taking place in Hyde Park, and could fulfil all my festival needs without the hassle of packing and travelling too far I immediately signed myself up.
I chose to get the combined ticket package, which meant I got to see The Strokes on Thursday, then Blur on Saturday. Despite only being a day apart, both events were so different – the entire atmosphere shifted depending on which band was playing, which made it feel more like two separate experiences rather than one long concert spread out over two days.
I saw The Strokes after school – my friends and I had a few lessons to go to, last minute changes to our artwork which was going on exhibition at our school that night, then finally we could get the tube down and try and bag ourselves a good spot to see the band. It was so hot and sunny, and upon entering the gates I was shocked at how festival-y it felt. It didn’t feel like Hyde Park, or London for that matter. Music drowned out the drone of nearby traffic, rides and stalls blocked your view of the surrounding buildings and offices and the huge fake trees framing the main stage stood out like silhouettes against the dusk pink sky.
We were all wearing Hawaiian shirts and making the most of the chance to cover ourselves in glitter; sitting on the grass, listening to warm-up acts, a late afternoon could not have been spent in a more peaceful way. When The Strokes came on, I will admit ‘peaceful’ is not the term I’d use to describe the over-excited teenage crowd, but they played so well that you didn’t really mind being buffeted around a little in exchange for a good place near the stage.
Blur on Saturday was a completely different experience – late after getting stuck in traffic after work, I gave up with trying to get there by road and ended up running across Hyde Park, one hand holding my phone through which my friend was trying to explain where they were in the crowd, and the other clutching my bag and disposable camera. I was luckily in time to see Metronomy, and after my near-miss getting there made sure I really enjoyed (and danced badly to) every single song. I could tell from the offset that the crowd was different to Thursday – most were adults, and that crushing sensation you experience at most gigs was surprisingly absent, and remained so the whole evening. Even during Blur’s best songs, everyone would jump and dance together, in their own spaces, meaning you could enjoy the band so much more as you weren’t also trying to concentrate on your own survival.
The festival was really great, and made me realise that you don’t always have to travel for ages and camp for days on end to achieve the same festival experience. I really enjoyed seeing such great bands, and do think the decision to wear light, cool clothing (it gets hot in the crowds!) and a sturdy pair of Dr Martens each day really helped my enjoyment as I wasn’t worried about anything or uncomfortable in any way. The one problem now, however, is that I just want to keep going to more festivals!
Blog courtesy of Ellie @ Rose & Vintage