Flashback 7 years ago, I was picking up my GCSE results from my school, while my mum was waiting for me in the car park with a car full of camping equipment, instant noodles and baby wipes ready to drop me off at the train station to go to my first ever festival, Reading Festival. I honestly look back on that weekend (or what I can remember of it) so so fondly, I believe that if I didn’t head out to that shitty field back in 2011 then I wouldn’t have the love for festivals that I have now.
This year was my first year back at Reading since I was 19, I was very apprehensive about going because I’ve changed ALOT since I was 19, I went for a day in 2013 and I was blind drunk by 11am and hanging out my arse by 2pm, don’t get me wrong, I had a great time, but its a very different way to spend a festival than I do now. I also remember being sat by the main stage watching Green Day and looking at the people around me, the vast majority of them were the same 16 year old that I was at my first Reading, and I had a sudden realisation that I’m basically a pensioner trapped inside the body of a 19 year old and that at that moment in time, I would have rather been in bed than surround by all these “youths” having fun (this could have been the bottle of jagermeister that I’d drank pre-lunchtime instead of just the full blown existential crisis that I felt like I was having)
I’m not sure why, but that feeling of being “too old for Reading” was a feeling that really stuck with me and I basically dismissed the possibility of ever going back there again, I honesty had the mindset that if I stepped foot back in that festival again I would get laughed at by a group of 16 year old’s and I’d have to run straight back out again, walking stick and false teeth in stow. I realise that this sounds insane, I’m 23 for gods sake, but anxiety can manifest itself in very weird ways, and for some reason mine was telling me that I’m just too old to go to a festival like Reading and enjoy myself anymore.
I didn’t take much convincing after seeing this years line up for me to decide that I’m going to tell this pathetic idea to fuck off and buy a ticket, I’m a little bit too obsessed with Post Malone, so the idea of being able to finally see him was enough for me to brave the festival that I’ve felt “too old” to go to for years. Honestly, Reading does have a bit of a shit rep behind it, I will always associate Reading with watching peoples tents get set on while sitting in a medical tent which was full of people who had taken some dodgy ket (I was only there because I had forgotten a coat and I was so cold my lips went blue and I lost feeling in my hands – don’t worry Mum), and because of this I did have quite a low expectation for how much I’d enjoy going back.
I honestly couldn’t have been more wrong with my expectations. I didn’t feel old, I didn’t feel unwelcome or embarrassed, I felt amazing, I felt at home in that field. The crowd was quite young, but I soon realised that i AM young, I’m only as old as I let myself feel, and when my brain is telling me that I’m too old to be enjoying myself its obvious that I’m going to feel like I’m 203 instead of 23. If I let myself go and allow myself to enjoy what I’m doing then that is when I feel that excitement that I did when I first walked through those gates onto Red Camp when I was 16 years old, its nothing to do with how old you actually are, if you’re doing something that you love and are having fun then you will shine.
I had the most amazing time at Reading Festival, Its left me feeling so excited for next years festival season, I feel a sense of fun that I though I had lost. But I never lost it, it was just being pushed away by anxiety and insecurities, and now its back I’m going to savour every opportunity to use it that I can find.
I actually took way more photos that I thought I did, so here is a few pics of what I actually got up to over the weekend, aside from having a minor revelation in myself. I FINALLY got to see Post, he was incredible and I got so excited that I almost had a little cry, I saw Nothing But Thieves who have become one of my all time favourite bands over the past few months, they were beyond anything I ever expected and were without a doubt one of the best live bands that I’ve ever seen. I feel like this was the best way I could have rounded up the Summer of 2018, and I can’t express how exited I am for next summer already.
Thanks for reading X