Taunton Racecourse is Decadent and Depraved


We scrambled to the top of the field where The Pipe’s truck was parked. Plumes of smoke and Aretha Franklin bellowed out of steamed up windows. Only way we knew he was actually in the vehicle was the hand waving a beer bottle outside the driver’s side.

“Alright boys! You come up here to help me put out some bins ave ya?” The Pipe’s eyes were candy-floss, no doubt from hot-boxing his truck all morning. I grabbed The Pipe by his protruding arm and leaned my panic-stricken face towards the fog.

“Damnit Pipe, we’ve all just dropped a serious amount of acid and now we’ve been asked to haul fucking bins around! In about twenty-five minutes this crew will be about as useful to you as laminated tea bags!” The Pipe hacked a chuckle, then tapped his pipe ash on the side of the driver’s door.

“Alright boys, lets fucking do this shit!”

He started his truck, slammed his hands on the steering wheel and we jumped in the trailer, Aretha still wailing full blast. I couldn’t escape the swell of anxiety in the pit of my stomach as I felt the first tingling waves of the acid shaking hands with my spinal cord.

We touched down and gingerly stepped off the truck. I told The Pipe that we were done until Monday. Collectively our pupils were a nebula of burrowing black holes and we needed to escape to the relative anonymity of the dance floor. We were sitting ducks in open season and at any point with the crack of a gunshot, we could be called back into the firing line.

We pelted towards the main stage and I began to notice the music wasn’t getting any louder the closer we got. I put this down to some kind of psychedelic trickery, but when I saw groups of disgruntled punters; the same foot-tapping individuals from earlier, arms folded, shaking their heads, I wasn’t so sure.

It was as loud as your grandma’s living room and no one was dancing.

What kind of mean-spirited bastard would do this to us when we’re balls deep into an acid trip? We were stood on the edge of a dark mass snarling and writhing in agitation. These animals were wildly snorting chemicals and howling at the tepid entertainment. How long would it be until this mob turned nasty? Until the leash broke and it was let loose?

I started to get the fear. I turned to the crew, it wasn’t safe. We would have to find solitude somewhere else. Hide until this madness was over. Let the bastards duke it out themselves and come back when this horrid thing was settled. No place for any kind of psychedelic on this dance floor.

We retreated to the chillout stage. It wasn’t any louder but at least we could blend in among the straights, away from the savage orgy at the main stage. It was time to sit and stare at the horizon for a few hours and get a fucking grip. Josh and Seth had gone to the cafe for medicinal rounds of calming chai tea, but along the way they were accosted by a local powder trader.

Ketamine is a fiendish drug. It has the ability to turn the most capable person into a dribbling mess, reducing them to a hybrid between a victim of severe brain-damage and a two-year old child. Consuming it is a fine line between being slightly anesthetised and rendered completely useless; a stumbling, babbling, incoherent wreck. It also has the added bonus of completely messing with any psychedelics that may already be in your bloodstream. One line of the stuff whilst on LSD can drive your mind into a terrible, dank, confused, pit, which you only emerge from when you come down. Not that we knew any of that at the time of course.

Last thing I remember was being sat in a circle with the crew, calmly, responsibly, drinking chai tea. Then Josh pulled the devil’s wrap from his pocket. The next hours were lost. When I came to, I was back in the centre of the main stage, gripping onto one of the tent poles for dear life. As my eyes adjusted, I surveyed the room; the floor had cleared and there was this strange serenity.

I propped myself up, and with the last of my dignity, tried to exit in a straight line. I got a few knowing smiles as I wobbled towards the back of the main stage. This wretched thing was still inside me and since I checked out, whoever checked in after me had taken up position of Court Jester. I stepped outside, it was night. How long had I been away for?

As I wandered back to the campsite to regroup, serenity turned to eerie quiet, there was no music playing. Outside the chillout tent a security guard was debating with a group of teenagers. He was fumbling at his radio as he tried to answer the relentless questioning.

“The flyer said it would be twenty-four hour music, look at it!” Stabbing his finger at the colourful piece of paper.

“The festival licensing requires the music to be off between 4am and 9am, there’s nothing I can do about it mate”.

“I paid a hundred pound for this ticket. This is bullshit! And what about the sound level? I could be listening to music louder at home! What am I paying money for to be at a fucking festival?” The guard was backing off slightly, still clutching at his radio.

“Look mate.” His eyes narrowed as he planted his feet. “If you’ve got a problem with it, tomorrow when the production office is open, go and have a word with them, alright?”

The guy shrugged his shoulders and left, muttering under his breath. The guard immediately radioed in to the other grunts, probably to make sure they give him some shit later on in the festival; raiding his tent a few times would do it. Watching him squirm as they violently shook him down demanding his stash. These sick fuckers would love any opportunity to mace one of these young punks.