Saturday, 5 July 2014

Here's Summer...

Music Festivals have long been the bench mark for a British Summer, it’s not just a hint that the cold dark long days are gone for another four months it’s also an exciting time for us to get out the summer wardrobe, don the shades put some sun screen on and purchase the obligatory two man festival tent, that comes with enough space to stash the dirty clothes and half empty crate of beer (you can never have enough beer), into, while you let your half pissed girlfriend squat on your aching shoulders for what seems like an eternity.
Stretch Me © David Rothwell Photography 2014

However you don’t mind that if only for a day or so, except the girlfriend is developing an addiction to the half baked half raw horse quality burger, that seems to offer sustenance and soak up the cider, beer or what ever she drinks these days. No you don’t mind at all, that’s not the real reason you’re here, you’re here for the banter, and most importantly the music.

It’s the music that drives us to these locations each year, year in year out. Though it’s all worth it, you will get to see some over sized Texan Blondie, whose airbags came as standard as a bench mark for those oil rich country folk, who admire some Li’l Ol’ sweetheart sporting the whitest glint of a smile, in that tight Barbie Ranch Girl outfit.
No you don’t mind at all, because when England fail to meet their mark in the ever so boring World Cup Tournament; you know you have the perfect excuse to go travelling to the other side of the country and get totally muddied and yet surprisingly happy that you are wearing those Wellington Boots from George at ASDA with the pattern or motif on the side, that helps guide you to a similar looking tent.

Though in all honesty apart from packing some spare underwear, lip balm and a few necessary bottles of water and a tube of toothpaste, to freshen your alcohol infused morning breath, what else is on offer at a festival? 

Some more girls © David Rothwell Photography 2014
Some more girls
Well the answer may not surprise you at all; it seems to go with the territory not cigarettes but drugs. It seems that every festival has them despite the organisers paying huge sums of money for the Donkey-Kong lookalike security with the invisible rugs under their arms.
Yes it seems that certain contraband works it way through, yes illegally purchased cigarettes are high on the list as well as drugs or legal highs as they are known these days.

They seem to be a wholly excepted part of the culture these days when paying homage to the latest sounds or sounds that make a one off comeback. Then you have differing forms of festivals there is the all-rounder sell out which is Glastonbury, next up we have the super club festival that offer the discerning dance music enthusiast a whole new series of sub-genres breaking down into splinter groups which are derived as thus hard, harder, hard and loud, harder and louder and where are my ear muffs ‘cos my ears are bleeding.
Then we have one off events that hope to make it back the following year if the council permits, and of course these offer very little to the seasoned festival goer.

Which brings me to my case in point about a new kind of festival, which is currently breaking Britain today. This festival is generally about another cultures’ beliefs, this being a Hindi festival. 
Peace Out © David Rothwell Photography 2014
Peace Out

 The Holi or Sanskrit festival is a festival of colours or festival of love. Bringing in new life and a new spring in the Hindi calendar. It is not supposed to be a drinking, dance music festival, by tradition though music of the Indian traditional kind is played.
So when you decide to try this festival out your going on the pretence on what has happened at other festivals, though to be honest this just isn’t any other dance music festival, you are advised to wear white, the reasoning behind this is so that the colours which come in perfectly packaged sachets of coloured corn flour powder, are able to establish your undeniable origin.

It may seem like harmless fun, but you realise that when people from other parts of the world namely New Zealand are wearing what can be best described as a highly fluorescent snorkeling face mask and breather you begin to feel quite alarmingly discontent.
Though if am honest with myself I am thinking this could be the latest dance music festival fashion statement and in reality I haven’t got anything to worry about in the slightest, I keep telling myself it will all be okay. 
Colour! © David Rothwell Photography
Holi One

The other negative aspect about this was the apparent singular stage, which was reminiscent of the Kaaba Stone in Mecca. Did I just cross over onto another plain…had I transgressed into another world of religious wonder…err no.
Over the tannoy of the loudspeaker system, I could clearly hear the common expletive ‘fuck’; this would not be considered as being diversely sensitive and respectful to another person beliefs.

Then my thoughts seem to focus on the ever-growing small crowd, which is trying in vain to avoid the now light shower of rain normally, experienced in April. We are perched under a small marquee barely big enough to cover a hundred people let alone the 2,000 souls who have updated their social media status by you guessed it employing the universally known liking symbol into their daily language, that and employing the old scissors / peace symbol gesture, which is meant to imply peace or so they think.

To myself it means something of a sexual or gang land nature, next time you see that gesture with the hands just remember that seemingly similarity to either holding a gun or pleasuring your girlfriend, you will definitely think more laterally.
The Girls © David Rothwell Photography 2014
The girls outnumbered me

The positive side to all of this was the overwhelming gathering of female to male ratio, the guys were outnumbered 6/1 at one point then that increased as the day wore on. So what does that mean in the demographics? This particular event was more appealing to a female audience then male? Quite possibly the musical taste was not to every one’s delight, though I recognised a few tunes, I mainly concentrated on capturing images of the people at the event.
They were a great bunch, and after a few beers more and more of those females were approaching my stealth like gait, in the hope of getting a ‘groupie snap’, I duly obliged some of these ladies were quite full on, which in retrospect did make me smile the reason was simple, I love confident women. I like that a woman can be confident and be happy in the surroundings where she may be.

This was getting interesting now, because it seemed that what we all came for, was beginning to take place in a field of sorts. The irony of it all was a security guard played by non other than a Yorkshire man dressed as a gardener, acting like a security guard played by a Liverpudlian resembling cricketer Phil Tufnell.

Indian Couple © David Rothwell 2014The scene was becoming more outrageous as the day wore on, we began to get in to a rhythm of every two hours it was powder time! Or Holi One time, though I did overhear a few blokes exclaiming Holi Shit! Holi Shit!  Every time our compère hostess called us up, yes the girl who actually served me merchandise was the one who actually graced the stage to implore us to get to our feet, colourful powder in one hand; Altern8 mask in the other.
It was dreadful to the extreme the powder hardly being ejected into the air as the ‘girly throw’ barely made it past gravity, instead nonchalantly people did the task while supping a beer or guzzling the wine from a bottle, and emptying the contents of said colourful sachet into ones face.

Hardly the elegant manner in which I hoped the powder would be ejected, still none the less; all had a great time. I began to favour this event due to the proximity of the event to the place of my childhood; we were after all partying in Stanley Park, Liverpool.
This sort of made all the effort all the more worth it, I was smiling wryly and realising that I would have to make my way home with others against a setting sun, covered head to toe in coloured corn flour, in the name of Holi One!