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Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Volunteering at V Festival 2010

This was an unusual one. It was my first time at V, but without meaning to sound snobby or pretentious, it had always struck me as seeming a bit commercial. However, Faithless (always amazing), Goldfrapp, Madness (sunshine skanking), Kings of Leon (like listening to a CD) and Prodigy (angry) were headlining – which meant I wanted to be there. We managed to wangle free tickets through V-Inspired, meaning we worked a 7-hour shift everyday (in this case we were essentially litter pickers) and we got tickets, camping, and £25 a day for food. Ace. We were working for the Coca-Cola recycling campaign, and there was a bottle crusher at the onsite Coca-Cola garden, as well as a swap shop where festivalgoers exchanged plastic bottles for T-shirts, cap, ponchos and the rest.

It was so much fun – it was good to go to a festival with some kind of structure, as it meant I remembered sequences of events and the like. We were in the staff camping and easily distinguishable – a mass of flimsy red tents made from recycled bottles (yes really!). Bizarrely enough, the moment we’d put up the tent I heard a familiar midlands twang, and one of my best friends emerged from a neighbouring tent. Jonny and Ed were also there on freebies, as Ed is in the music business, darling. Tinie Tempah had been spotted camping nearby (not by me – I have no real idea of what he looks like).

One entertaining episode involved Sten and I sneaking backstage to interview people about recycling; we ended up wandering around the artists’ lorries, where I asked if we could interview what I thought were hairy bus drivers. Only when I whacked the camera out and started filming - and they promptly vanished into the bus - did Sten click that it was The Eels. All I can say is that one of those dudes has some great sunglasses.

On the last night we snuck into the artists’ free bar (I say snuck, what I actually mean is rolled through wet grass under a fence, with all the grace of a cat trying to swim). We received lots of free mojitos and sat down to drink them at a table with a couple of Madness – who were very fucked. Lee Thompson was particularly amusing – and belligerent too. A slight dispute ensued between Lee and myself and whilst I seem to recall it got quite heated, I'm relatively sure it ended amicably enough. After a wander around with one of their sons who'd stolen a crate of beer from some artists's van, it was absolutely pissing it down and we'd resorted to wearing the Coca-Cola ponchos (also made from recycled bottles, and also utterly crap. I might have well just got naked and saved my clothes from the rain.

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