Friday. 12 noon. Kick off. The pigpen was finally flung open and all the little piggies were set free to plant snout into powder. The punters already had a taste of precedent as they corralled through the gates and had their ‘excess’ amounts of alcohol confiscated. One case of beer, or one bottle of wine or spirits was the limit. This was partly a ploy to drive more revenue to the bar but had already upset some of the punters who took the warning on the website as lip-service to the Council. The confiscated booze would then be fed back to the bar for sale-for-profit back to the punters, much a like an in-house dealer, will sell you back your drugs after you get fleeced at the door.
The pen had only been open a few hours and there was a growing stench of revolt. A few crooked stiffs would look the other way for a bribe, especially if you talked in their currency; cocaine or amphetamine. Others simply loved the power trip as they watched the hippie’s crumble and wilt as they told them their stash was most definitely illegal and they would be detained until the police arrived to deal with them. No second chances, no get-out-of-jail-free card.
The masses that made it through the gates wandered into a festival still putting its face on. A lacklustre attitude amongst the higher organisation trickled down through the ranks. A crowd had started gathering by the silent main stage and amongst the watch-glaring, foot-tapping, gawkers, a few heads were rallying around the background trying to get her to sing.
By mid-afternoon the music started and you could feel the site exhale. From here on in you could be fooled that there was really a festival happening. That this wasn’t some elaborate rouse to get a load of hippies into a field for chemical experimentation. Most of them had now shrugged off the airport security and had started to get groovy.
Our crew had even started to relax. It had been relentless and most of us were exhausted. The thought of getting bent on psychedelic drugs with an already fatigued mind seemed reckless, but when a stunning Italian girl wearing little other than ‘caution’ barrier tape wandered into our campsite, all reasonable thought stepped to one side.
“Elooo trippah’s! I ‘ave some really tasty Offman’s for sale”. She was writhing to the faint bassline in the distance, her face beaming in the telling Cheshire way that only a healthy dose of LSD can give you.
It was exuding from every pore in her being and I was getting high just standing next to her. The sight was too much. Hypnotised, we all plunged our hands into our pockets and gathered round.
Time to get knee deep in this thing. We had clocked-off for the weekend and could disappear amongst the other punters until we had to fix up Monday morning. Three days. By the end of this they would have to spatula us off the side of the marquee.
No sooner had I tasted that damn tab, Ham and Eggs, the festival coordinators, snuck up on black BMX bikes.
“Hey boys, glad I found you.” Ham’s Formica smile retracted, revealing more gold than teeth. A move that could crack even the most hardened, poker face. “You guys need to put the bins out, now! Pipe’s at the front gate with the trailer, go meet him there”. He snorted as they both turned tail, cawing sadistically into the distance.
We chewed the cud blankly at each other. By now it was too late to go back. The acid had already dissolved and it would only be a matter of time before the background melted and the all the defining lines became blurred. Josh straightened up.
“Come on guys, let’s get this job done I’m sure we can have it finished before we all turn into party casualities. We can do all this all in under say, 30 minutes, right?”
30 minutes. It was going to be tough.