In November, whilst braving the wintry weather amidst an onslaught of deadlines, summer can seem like a lifetime ago. Yet, as I procrastinate the hours away, scrolling through Spotify, I can’t help but let my mind wander back to the blurry nights of summer music festivals. Whether it was watching Biffy Clyro play from a Ferris wheel against a backdrop of Loch Ness or going a little crazy with the crowds of Red Hot Chilli Pepper fans in Madrid, the summer festival is the perfect antidote to a year of slogging over books in the library. Indeed, the only thing keeping me going through this pain of essay-writing is the consoling thought that in a few short months the line-ups for summer 2013 will be released. And then there’ll be the all-important decision of which one(s) to go to. In the past, it would’ve been no contest for me; UK all the way. However, having now had a taste of what the rest of Europe has to offer, I’m inclined to look to the less muddy options over the Channel.
My change of heart began as I rolled up to Rockness back in June, feeling like a bit of festival veteran in a cool ‘been-here-done-that’ kinda way. Until, that is, I realised that I was only a veteran in the sense that I was a bit old. Not cool, just old. It seemed that a motley crew of 14 and 15 year-olds had become our fellow festival-goers and that drinking just wasn’t quite as fun when there was no fake ID or Sourz involved. Then there was the mud that encased your belongings, the inevitable 36 hour hangover, the persistent rain putting a dampener on everything and the occasional cup of urine flying around by the front of the main stage. Talk about bonnie Scotland…
So when I found myself, little over a month later, watching some of the very same acts but this time under a setting Spanish sun, I realised what I’d been missing. I discovered that you could get all the good stuff without any of the annoying bits: there were still the big names, there was still an excuse to drink during the day, and you could still get lost in the crowds, just soaking up the atmosphere. But instead of overly-excited tipsy teenagers, you were in the company of Spanish twenty-somethings. There was no need for wellies as you could wear sandals without fear of frost-bite. You could show off that perfect outfit without having to cover up in the much-needed hoodie. And there was still all the hype and energy, without it becoming so aggressive that you felt the need to dodge every airborne plastic cup.
After 2012 saw UK stalwarts like T in the Park, Reading and Isle of Wight remembered more for their water levels than their line-up, for me, 2013 is all about abroad. Why not try getting high on life at Hideout in Croatia, sampling a taste of urban Paris at Rock en Seine or camping on the beach at Benecassim outside Barcelona? Basically, the options are endless. And they don’t involve mud.