From getting stuck in moshpits to copping off with Edward Scissorhands lookalikes, these are some of the real stories to come from people losing their festival virginity. By Ellie Swain.
Last updated: 28th May 2019. Originally published: 20th May 2019
Image: Parklife Festival
For those who have experience in the realm of music festivals, it’s often true that you never forget your first time. Experiencing the carefree vibes, the dazzling outfits and of course, the head-spinning tunes in one extraordinary package for the first time is a feeling like no other. And if you were anything like me, you’d have been wondering why it’d taken you so long to get to one.
Festivals tend to gift us some of the wackiest, unforgettable and downright weird memories, especially from the very first festival when it’s all so new and you’re perhaps a little overexcited.
I remember heading to Global Gathering at the ripe age of 19. My best mate and I were so unprepared for camping that we barely brought enough to survive. No warm clothes to sleep in, no mattress to lie on and no pegs to even pin down the tent. Needless to say, we didn’t sleep too well that weekend!
Another strong memory of that festival was when we were dancing in the sun to Labrinth at the main stage. I remember feeling an unusually warm trickle of liquid dripping down my leg, only to turn around and find a very tall, very drunk young man accidentally peeing on me. Good times indeed…
Want to hear some more memories? Whether you’re a festival regular or you’re heading to your first this summer, check out these real memories from first festivals to get you excited (and maybe a little bit scared!).
1. I Lost a Welly in a Mud Pit
My first festival was Parklife, Manchester back in 2011. It had been raining and I ended up losing one of my wellies in a giant mud pit. No stress though, I just had to walk around with one welly on for the rest of the day, whilst my other foot got completely soaked and muddy!
2. The Whole Crowd Was One Completely Content Entity
I recently went to my first festival whilst I was travelling in Australia. It was Pitch Music & Arts in Victoria, near Melbourne.
There I was, in the middle of a packed tent with the bass thumping and the crowd heaving, when I turned to see my friends and the hundreds of other festival goers single-mindedly and wholeheartedly living in the moment.
It seemed to me the whole crowd was one completely content entity. That’s when I realised the point of the festival and so many others like it. It’s not about the alcohol, the party atmosphere or even the music. It’s about everyone coming together to be themselves and to be around others who are also being themselves. It’s about relaxing among new friends you’ll probably never talk to or see again.
That is the one memory I’ll take away above all others. It was a beautifully stark and surprisingly serene moment in a haze of dancing, freedom and laughter.
3. I Got Stuck in a Mosh Pit
I learnt the hard way to never get too close to a mosh pit when I got stuck in one at Global Gathering raving to Dizzee Rascal!
4. I Snogged a Boy Dressed as Edward Scissorhands
I was 16 when I first went to Reading Festival and I thought I was very cool. I cut the sleeves off my vintage Levi’s t-shirt and got too drunk on the coach there drinking gin and tonic, did not pace myself at all.
Then I joined a gang of older lads who had a megaphone and shouted obscene things through the megaphone with them. I got ‘um-bop’ from the Hanson song written over my arms and face. Got my nose pierced in a tent and it got infected. Saw Rage Against The Machine and Babyshambles and snogged a boy dressed as Edward Scissorhands. Experienced the true disgustingness of a pit toilet. Was converted from an Indie Cindy to a lover of Dance music when I saw Justice live and they had a wall of amps, it was so loud and amazing...
Bumped into various people I knew from MySpace and shouted their MySpace names at them. Realised that hanging out with my drunk festival friends was very different when we were sober, hungover and it was raining. And finally, I witnessed the destruction and burning of tents on the last day.
I had to have 3 baths before I was clean again.
5. He Peed in the Middle of a Crowd to Avicci
My first festival was Stereosonic, a massive electronic music festival that used to tour Australia. I remember the headliners were huge – Tiësto, Avicii and Calvin Harris were playing.
We managed to get pretty deep in the crowds when Avicii was playing and my mate ended up vibing so hard to the beats, he refused to leave when he needed to pee. So, he just peed in the middle of a packed crowd whilst bopping along to Avicci – no biggie.
6. Security Had to Drag Me over the Barriers to Save Me
At V Festival 2010, I ended up being crushed at the front of the crowd watching Kings of Leon, wasted. Security had to drag me over the barriers to save me! I also lost my shoe in a mosh pit.
7. My Tent Was Flooded
My strongest memory from my first festival Bestival wasn’t about the music and the artists, but about the campsite where we slept.
One night, the weather was so bad that the whole camp got extremely muddy and slippery. I remember that my tent got flooded as I slept and I was trying to cope with it by removing the water with the same glass I used to brush my teeth!
I also remember people losing shoes in the mud. Since then, I know that waterproof tents and wellies are key at festivals!
8. I Remember the Thrill
I remember the thrill of first walking through the gates of Lovebox Festival back in 2010 was like no other. Hearing the main stage going off, seeing the crowds of people and looking up at the fair ground rides was so exciting!
9. We Saw The Kooks Sing ‘Victoria’ with Ray Davies from The Kinks
I was 16 when I went to V festival with a few friends. What I can remember from it was drinking a lot of straight vodka and trying to look for a good camping spot near the hottest guys.
We also failed to put the tent up ourselves and needed help from some middle-aged men. Overall it was really fun to see a lot of my favourite bands with loads of my best friends! The highlight was seeing The Kooks sing ‘Victoria’ with Ray Davies from The Kinks!
10. I Bust My Mate's Nose When Crowd Surfing
One memory that stands out from my first Reading Festival was that whilst watching The King Blues I somehow managed to get my mates to lift me up to crowd surf and ended up kicking one of them in the face busting his nose. I did successfully make it to the front though!
11. The Unleashed Tent Was Absolutely off the Chain
I had been to Boardmasters before but when I went in 2012 it was my first time camping. I remember the Unleashed tent going absolutely off the chain when DJ Fresh dropped ‘Gold Dust’.
I love Boardmasters, it’s such a great festival full of a wide variety of awesome music as well as lots of surf and skate.
Keen to make some memories of your own? Check out our festival finder to help you land the perfect one this summer.