"Oxegen Festival 2004 - Punchestown (Part II)" County Kildare Travelogue by DavyDoug
County Kildare Travel Guide: 53 reviews and 180 photos
Sunday 11th July 2004
Note to self: If ever find leg/legs not working, the situation is not greatly enhanced by sleeping in a Ford Fiesta (this is in no way a slur on the good people at Ford, I imagine no other small to medium family hatchback vehicle is any different).
So, at 8am I woke up, not quite fresh as a daisy, and stumbled my way over to the toilet. I then returned to my bed, cum passenger seat and tried unsuccessfully to get to sleep till about 10.30. Around then I thought I'd better reply to the barrage of concerned text messages from Laura and Sheila I knew must be waiting for me on my phone wondering where we were. The blank screen that greeted me came as quite a surprise. Could it be true that two of my oldest and dearest friends weren't that bothered about my safety?? Or maybe they just assumed that me and Nick had hooked up with a couple of fit laydeees? Ok, let's keep it realistic, a couple of drunk mingers? As it turned out Nick had apparently messaged Laura the night before while I was busy with more important things (relearning how to walk), and told her we'd kip in the car.
After a while Nicks mate Rory and his friend Nina arrived at the car. At this stage I was really suffering, and unfamiliar company was the last thing I needed. The effort needed to shake Rory's hand massively depleted my energy levels, and as a result I could only manage a wave for Nina. Fortunately I could tell from her sympathetic look she understood my pain. When Rory cracked open a beer, any fleeting thoughts of me getting out of the car to join the others disappeared. There was no way I could be exposed to beer just yet. A few minutes later when the rain started everyone joined me in the car, forcing me to interact with the group (a.k.a. open my eyes). I may have even managed to string a few sentences together about the previous nights experiences.
After Rory and Nina left, we set about our plans for the foreseeable future. These plans had two main objectives, finding a clean toilet, and finding food.
We found our clean toilet in the dance arena, along with some wonderful beats (Random Festival Tip: Shushing a DJ doesn't work), and then found food at a pizza stall. Walking and eating at the same time was too much for me and I insisted that we stop for a minute while I tried to eat. But it started raining so we had to keep on walking, back to the car. In total I think I managed about 3 bites of my 9 Euro pizza before I gave up (merely an observation, and most certainly by no means a complaint).
While we'd been away, Sheila and Laura had made it back from the campsite to their car. I was greeted by a couple of smirking knowing looks, effectively saying "God you were a mess last night" (and they only saw me up to about 8 o'clock). Which, to be fair, they had every right to be sporting. I apologised for my behaviour (if only I had a pound for every time I've done that), mainly for the dragging Laura down with me during Snow Patrol (and of course my regular use of her right boob as a support, I apparently had no interest in the left one?), and then collapsed (in a controlled manner) to the ground.
The others spent the next while drinking and eating; including some home made buns Sheila had brought, while I systematically, but politely, refused pretty much every item of food Laura and Nick generously offered. Nick periodically kept on slipping the volume up on the CD player, while I periodically did the opposite.
Just before we were about to leave for the concert area I managed to summon the energy to have one beer (and they say rock 'n' roll's dead?). When we made it to the security barrier Laura and Sheila proved a lot more successful at smuggling their drink in than me. Sheila using the textbook two cans of cider down the back of the kecks approach, with great success. Laura was particularly keen to see Pink, and set what seemed like a fairly break neck pace to get to her viewing spot of choice. Keeping up with her was no mean feat for me at this stage. Once we'd made it to our vantage point, Sheila and Laura got tore into their drink. After a while, Nick, and me to a slightly lesser extent, got a bit jealous of their drinking and hit the bar.
The next band on was Faithless, who Laura and Sheila effortlessly danced along to in that way that all girls seem able to do, whilst Nick and me merely bobbed our heads but still managed to make it thoroughly unnatural (in that way a lot of sober blokes seem able to do). Well, I'm actually doing Nick a disservice 'cos his head bobbing was, in all fairness, much more inherent than mine.
Half way through Faithless Sheila decided she'd go to the bar to see her friends Anna and Caz who would probably furnish her with some free beer. Nick went with her to help carry the beer, so this left poor Laura to dance pretty much on her own, with me just on hand to steady her when her dancing turned into falling over with elegance. By the end of Faithless, Sheila and Nick hadn't made it back, so as concerned friends; we went to look for them.
It didn't take us too long to find the pair of them loitering near the toilets, drinking what can only be described as, me and Laura's beer! Yes, I found this hard to take too. I can't remember exactly what Sheila's feeble excuse was, something like "We didn't know when we'd see you's again, so just drank them". She was completely remorseless. It was around this point I noticed just how out of it my banter colleagues actually were, and I wasn't. It was quite an unfamiliar experience. I don't think I liked it.
Then it started pissing down. The remains of the beer I'd confiscated off Sheila was now filling up quicker than I could drink it. Also, the pac-a-mac I'd bought on the Friday shopping trip miserably failed any sort of waterproofing test, I observed (though to be fair it did cost six quid so I wasn't hugely surprised).
Next up was Ash, after a bit of a delay because wind had driven the rain onto the stage leaving several electric cables in puddles. Fortunately none of them were killed in spectacular fashion and they put on a good show. Towards the end of their set I got a phone call from a private number. The person at the other end of the line seemed quite agitated and keen to know where I was. After a quick head count of our group, it became apparent that Sheila had wandered off somewhere and hadn't been able to find us again, and it was her on the phone. Given that I could hardly hear her (Random Festival Tip No.2: Shushing about 30,000 pissed randomers doesn't work) it was pretty lucky that it only took a few seconds of scouring the crowd to see her. So a cold, wet (and possibly in medical shock) but now relieved Sheila was welcomed back into the group (choosing to express her relief by giving off at me for not finding her quick enough). Think it was safe to say she wouldn't be wandering off again.
After Ash, Laura and Sheila went off somewhere, dunno where, and me and Nick went to get some food (using the forks) and then back to the car to get changed into something a bit more warm and a bit less wet.
Then we headed back to meet up with the others again at the Main Stage for Muse. It took us quite a while to find them but we got there in the end.
Next, (For the music fans, and it is all about the music, Muse put on a good show, a bit self indulgent, but I think that's just standard Muse live) we sauntered over to the Ticket Stage to see Basement Jaxx. As we arrived, Sheila went off to meet up with some of her mates, arranging with Laura where they'd meet up again.
A few songs into the Jaxx my phone started ringing. Hmmm? Who could this be I thought? I think, a possibly even more irate Sheila than previously, greeted me this time and explained that she didn't know where we were. It was almost impossible to hear what she was saying, but I shouted a few instructions of somewhere to meet me, and said my goodbyes to Nick and Laura (with my sense of direction I knew I could be gone for some time). With no sign of anyone resembling Sheila at the spot I'd suggested, I fired off a text to her, which seemed to do the trick. And she was looking pretty good when I found her, a.k.a. she came bearing free beer. After taking a minute to gather my thoughts I set about guiding us back to Laura and Nick. I was clearly on a roll 'cos I got us all back together in under a minute, even taking a fairly direct route and everything. A truly proud moment for me. No, seriously.
We left a bit before the end of Basement Jaxx to go back to the Main Stage to see the end of the Darkness set (don't think anyone's a particular fan of theirs, but since they were headlining we thought we'd see some of them). At some stage Sheila disappeared to go meet another friend (a popular girl), leaving us to enjoy a not bad performance from The Darkness, they put on an entertaining enough show. Towards the end I got the obligatory phone call from Sheila asking where we were, but as ever I struggled to make her out and let Laura have a go at talking to her. I don't think she had much more luck, but as Sheila wasn't on her own we didn't need to worry about finding her straight away. When I got a text off her shortly after saying she was on her own it successfully guilted me into rounding the others up and we went to meet her.
When The Darkness had finished (and Laura and Sheila had finished dancing to "I've Had the Time of My Life" off the Dirty Dancing soundtrack) we headed off to the car park to get some stuff. Although obviously not before Sheila had managed to get lost, (walking beside Nick) and issued me her forth and final distress phone call. Anyway, with Sheila found, and some toddler reigns securely attached to her, we went to the car and then on towards the campsite.
The plan was to leave the stuff at the tent and then go and meet up with Nick's mate Rory for a very small tent party. As the journey progressed we split into two groups (I think due to Laura's no nonsense brisk stride, compared to Sheila's more unhurried amble). Laura and me briefly lost our way and took a slightly scenic route, but once Laura had found Stone Hedge (random) she led us back fine. We waited in the big tent for a wee while, but as there was no sign of Nick and Sheila we reckoned they must have just gone to the party without us. We were both fairly knackered so this wasn't a problem. Laura got herself ready for bed and we just hung out for a bit in her tent, sharing all the jokes we could remember between us - a grand total of three (including Laura's very funny monkey joke). Laura was evidently enjoying the conversation, as I had a genuine comedy moment talking to her, only to look up and realise she was sound asleep. By this stage I really needed to go to the toilet, but didn't want to leave Laura on her own asleep. I tried my best to wait for the other two, but finally had to give in. I got out of the tent, zipped Laura back in and stumbled off to the toilet area (I wasn't drunk, but managed to trip over every single tent rope possible on my way).
On my way back I got a call from Sheila. Her and Nick had returned from the party (predictably just minutes after I'd left) and were concerned about where I was. Apparently Laura was pretty incoherent under questioning and QQ Morgam wasn't overjoyed when he was disturbed (which is fair enough). I reassured Sheila I was just on my way back from the toilet and would see them in a minute. As is standard, I got slightly lost on the way back. I paused to get my bearings beside quite a large tent and for a few seconds didn't have a clue where I was. Of course it was the back of our large tent that I was standing beside.
So, I rejoined Sheila, Nick and a sleeping Laura (not even awoken by my less than dignified entrance to the tent where I sort of accidentally landed on part her).
The three of us sat about for an hour or two generally talking sh!te and looking at the weekend's photos on Nick's camera. I shared Laura and my's joke back catalogue, and Sheila added the "two nun's in a bath" joke, which I think Nick still struggles to understand to this day.
And, oh no, the fun didn't stop there...I showcased my vast range of shadow puppets (lizard on a spring arguably being my best), and no attempts were made to record Laura snoring. You know, because she doesn't snore, she's a lady.
At about 4 o'clock, me and Nick returned to the Rod Hull memorial suite (QQ was keeping his women company in the Jamie Oliver suite). Think I may have made it to sleep around 5.30am (after fashioning some makeshift ear plugs).
Monday 12th July 2004
The day started with a horrific nightmare, that it was only 7am and people were shouting and shaking the tent ordering us to get up. Yes, predictably this was no nightmare, but was very real. Thankfully 'cos I didn't have that much to drink the day before I had no hangover. If I'd been in the previous morning's state, I may have been in serious trouble. We made it up by about 7.30, gathered our stuff together and started packing up the tent. Once everything was crammed into a bag of some sort, the QQ Morgam party said their emotional goodbyes and headed off to their car. At the same time Laura and Sheila emerged from their tent, it was packed away (Sheila selflessly taking on the demanding role of supervisor) and we headed off to the cars.
After a while spent composing ourselves in the car park (briefly interrupted when QQ phoned and told us he needed to meet us to borrow Nick's jump leads (cue the re-telling of the "A set of jump leads walks into a bar..." joke (One of the three from Laura and my mammoth joke-a-thon the night before))) the convoy set off for home.
We stopped for lunch (somewhere with a weird horse statue thing in the car park) but only managed to get a drink because no one was that hungry (or couldn't be arsed to get up and walk round the buffet). It was here that Nick and I were treated to the knowledge of what Laura and Sheila look for in a man. I was pretty tired at this stage so my memories are a little hazy, but think Laura said she goes for blokes with square fingers on big hands. Gents with perms and moustaches do it for Sheila I think.
We drove up the road a bit more, and finally did stop for some lunch at a pub in Dundalk. I've forgotten its name (actually, "Jockey's" maybe?) but they provided a ridiculous amount of food (which was alright) and I never got close to finishing it.
Emotional set of goodbyes, number two, were said after the meal and we went our separate ways. Well technically our separate ways, but seeing as we were going the same way the convoy sortof continued. Especially as Nick refused to be overtaken by Laura at any stage, making a point, as she'd been claiming he was holding her back earlier in the day with his conservative (just because fifth gear's there, it doesn't mean we have to use it) driving.
Banter CD's were fully utilised all the way home, with The Strokes and The Killers bringing back some very vague mixed memories, and Nick dropping me home about 7 o'clock. Inaugural equal opportunities banter trip complete.
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