I crawled into my tent and tried to rest. After a while of staring at the geometric patterns fluttering behind my eyelids I decided to reach for the blue’s I kept aside for emergencies. I popped two and lay back, wondering.
Blissful sleep took me and I fell into an unconscious well. After countless hours something started to tap gently on my consciousness. It was voices and the distinct waft of bacon. I dragged myself together and fell out of my tent, still fazed. It was the crew. They were fresh-faced and colourful, cooking breakfast on a small, open fire inside a Calor gas canister.
“Wow, what happened to you? Josh said. “We all thought you’d got chucked out or something.” Josh had luminous war paint on both cheeks and everyone else was sporting felt-tipped, curly moustaches.
“I could ask you swine’s the same question! Last thing I remember was burying my snout in that damn wrap and the next thing I know I’m blind, holding up the main stage”.
“Yeah I think everyone kinda checked-out for a while. But hey, we haven’t seen you since Friday! Where the hell you been man?” I drifted across their bemused faces.
“What do you mean Friday, what day is it?”
Turns out I had missed Saturday, thanks to the coma-inducing pills. It was now Jubilee day and most of the punters had shown their vitriolic support with relentless amounts of veteran’s bunting and haunting masks of Elizabeth II, with Rowntree’s Polo’s glued to her nostrils. The whole festival had turned into a patriotic nightmare. It was impossible to move anywhere without Lizzie’s grin in your face telling you to have a ‘good Jubilee!’
Stone, dead eyes, Fear and Loathing all over the racecourse. Something had changed while I was away. These free-loving hippies had turned nasty and everywhere I looked I saw hissing malice. The ongoing fight between festival liberties and the oppressive grip of the council had caused tension on the ground and the complaints department had barricaded its doors. The only way to express yourself now was on the festival itself, and they were going to take this beast apart, bolt by bolt.
Then I remembered the bells.
A cold washed over me as my eyes shifted to the mousetrap that was the racecourse. They had engineered our fate and we walked blindly in. It explains the military presence. Pass over and glass the remains if we couldn’t do it ourselves. Blame the whole incident on a faulty trigger for the fighter’s missile deployment system; a routine exercise that ended in a tragic, technical error, no blame.
The music stopped and silence exploded. In the wake, the feint chime of our demise mingled amongst the growing rumblings from disgruntled punters. At first there were sounds of confusion, then anger as people began grouping together to exchange their disdain for the weekend’s injustices.
In the deafening confusion someone began chanting ‘bring it down, bring it down!’ Fifty or so hippies charged towards the Heras fencing and began shaking it, drooling over themselves in a savage frenzy. A few of the security had tried to step in but had backed off to radio in for more help.
In amongst the flurry of chaos, something emerged that wasn’t shouting. It was music, it was, fucking Love Shack! Jesus fucking Christ! I turned around and haring towards us was The Pipes’s truck. He had converted his trailer into a mobile disco, complete with lights, mini-bar and sexy barmaid.
We all turned like Meer cats as the truck pulled into the crowd. I could see The Pipe’s grinning face as he squirmed in his seat from excitement.
People stopped and began cheering and laughing. Every now and then the DJ would turn the music down and shout ‘cans of Red Bull a pound’ and people cheered harder. People peeled off from the mob and jumped on the back of the trailer. Before long everyone had dropped their pitch-forks and joined the party. The riot was over and people danced around to 80’s pop classics like nothing had ever happened. The Pipe jumped out the van and came rushing over, excited like a school-girl.
“Wha’dya think?” He was beaming. They were playing all the tunes Pipe was blaring on the radio days beforehand. “We had this idea a few days ago, I’m so glad we could actually make this happen. It’s no fun when there’s no music about, so we thought we’d do something about it.”
“Good God man! You may have just saved this festival”. I threw my arms around him and kissed the bastard. Anxiety started to drain but before I could draw a breath, The Pipe saw something that wiped his smile. Out of the crowd of sated punters came Ham and Eggs, riddled with confusion and disgrace.
“We’ve just had a noise complaint from the council!” The knot in my gut tightened. “It’s quite funny actually. This woman complained, but she said ‘I’m not sure it’s you guys, it doesn’t sound like ‘your’ kind of music’. I guess she was wrong though, wasn’t she lads?”
We were fucked. The Council had done us on all fronts and we would end up tearing ourselves apart regardless of our efforts. Eggs was silent for a moment while he glanced over the blissful crowd that had gathered around the trailer. He snorted, and then surprisingly, cracked a small, awkward, smile.
“Well, I guess if the council don’t know it’s us, then the council can’t shut us down.” He spat and turned to ride away. “Just make sure that thing goes off as soon as the council get on site. Remember we’re not licensed for this shit and it’s the last thing we need right now.”
The knot slackened. The fucking prick was magnanimous. We had actually won. Civil war was averted and if the military were going to lay waste to the site, then dammit we would go down smiling. We had won the Freak Power vote on the ground and it had gained enough momentum to turn the tide. I leaped on the back of the trailer, defiantly pumping my fist in the air to beautiful Aretha just in time to hear the familiar, harrowing scream of fighter jets passing overhead.