Music festivals are an important part of the British summer time. And the Brits do them like no one else. This weekend it was the Dumfries, Scotland-based Wickerman Festival, (which draws it's name from the classic cult film, set in Scotland) a new and very different kind of music festival.
For our American readers I should probably explain the difference between a music festival in the UK and one in America. In the UK a music festival is a whole weekend – in The Wickerman Festival's case it was Friday and Saturday – during which time you do not leave. There is no going home at the end of the night – which isn't usually until around five a.m. anyway (this is Britain for fuck sake, we party all night all long here).
Music festivals, of which Glastonbury is the most famous example, are held in the country, on farms usually,taking up many hundreds of acres of land. You are fenced in and once you arrive you can't just leave and come back, you stay all weekend! It's a fabulous party that lasts for three full days during which time you camp, drink, listen to fabulous music, drink, rarely sleep, and do things with strangers that would generally cause your mother to cover her mouth in wide eyed astonishment that such things even happen, except on the pages of Penthouse Forum (but I'm sure your mother doesn't know what that is).
There are many tents which feature music and/or preforming arts and then a large main stage for the big/famous bands and a smaller second stage for lesser known bands. Then there are five or six smaller tents which are frequently themed – i.e. acoustic tent, indie tent, far out and funky music tent, that kind of thing; there are also carnival rides, hundreds of trade stands selling everything from beads and tie-dyed t-shirts to African wood carvings and vinyl records along with any kind of food you can imagine.
The General Idea
It's a good idea to arrive sometime on Thursday if you want a good camping spot. Or show up on Friday if you have press passes and camp in the VIP area (smug self-satisfied smile). To get your tent all set up, it's helpful to have a friendly guy from a great local band to help you with this part. If you wait too late you will camp in the overflow camping, and no one wants to walk half a mile for the toilets. And believe me after two days of nothing but a bit of fruit, some chips (french fries in the US), and enough alcohol to poison a college frat house you want to be as close to the toilets as possible.