Guide: How to Have A Festival Experience Without Leaving Your House: An Experts* Guide

It’s the weekend and we all know what that means – it’s paaaaaarty time! Don’t let enforced confinement be a Debbie downer, I’m here to show you that while Glasto may be off, you can still have an authentic British festival experience without ever leaving your flat.

Step 1: Getting There
You can keep it traditional and use a large camping rucksack, or go rogue and take some kind of wheeled-suitcase scenario. As no one is actually going to see you, you won’t be subject to the looks of scorn/amusement/dersion that would normally haunt you as you drag it, mud-caked and heavily sweating, through the 8th field. Once you’ve loaded yourself up you basically just need to tramp up and down your hallway for approximately 40 minutes or until one of your shoulders is glowing red from the Ikea bag straps cutting in, because you couldn’t decide if you should bring boots or trainers or both and so have 5 pairs of shoes with you. Normally you would have had at least a couple of cheeky cans in the car on the way there, so technically, you’re behind. In an effort to catch up, be sure to drink continuously throughout your hallway voyage and do not stop to go to the toilet even if you are desperate. Feeling like you might piss yourself is an integral part of any festival journey!

Step 2: Setting up camp
Now, obviously you’re in your house where (I can only assume) you already have a bed, so you may be tempted to skip this bit, but you really would be missing out on a wonderful part of the experience: pitching the tent. It’s best to find a patch of floor where there isn’t quite enough space so you bash into furniture as you wrestle with tent poles, nearly poke someone in the eye, and trip over a lot. Once the tent is assembled and you’ve piled all your stuff inside, have a heated argument with someone (housemate, pet, stuffed animal etc) about your bad choice of tent door direction that you are too lazy to now do anything about.

Step 3: Heading out
I hope it goes without saying that you should have been guzzling down your choice of tepid beer/cider throughout the entirety of the tent uprising, and have now ascended to the higher plane of consciousness known as ‘tipsy’. As it’s only the first night of the fezzie there won’t be much on, but you may as well head out and get your bearings. Wander aimlessly from room to room for a couple of hours, pausing to watch half an hour of a very average improv show on youtube, and some kind of dad disco garden shed set. Keep the door of the biggest room, or as I like to call it, the ‘main stage’, shut – that doesn’t open until tomorrow!
Give up around 11pm, reminding yourself that it is a marathon, not a sprint. Stagger back to your roomtent realising how drunk you are, and then realising you have been drinking for 9 hours straight. Luckily for you it is much, much harder to get into the wrong tent, when there are no other tents. Another win for Flatfest! What a great weekend this is already shaping up to be eh? Before getting into your tent, be sure to find a four hour psy-trance playlist on Spotify and put it on a portable speaker positioned approx 1.5 metres from your head. Ideally also open the window and turn your heating off so it’s fucking freezing. To counter this, you should put on every single item of clothing you bought with you, but just know you will wake up dripping in sweat and with feet akin to burning coals. Goodnight!
Day 1
Wake up and immediately start drinking. This is very important and (like with so many other things now) time is irrelevant. Let the smell of one of your co-habitants cooking bacon waft over you, as you sadly eat 3 x frankfurter sausages from a can and curse past you for eating all the good snacks. Spend the next 2-3 hours ‘getting ready’ which in this context means: trying on every outfit you bought with you, making cocktails, spilling cocktails, trying to mop up cocktails before they get inside your sleeping bag, repeatedly losing and finding your stuff within the square metre of your tent, and making more cocktails. Once you’ve got bored of that, announce “shall we head in and check it out” to no one in particular. Repeat every 15 minutes for an hour.

Now this bit will take some imagination on your part, but using whatever technology is available to you, set up live streams / mixes / concert recordings to play from different devices in each room. You could cheat by only putting on artists you actually like, but to retain the authenticity of the experience I would advise putting on a mixture of things you feel like, hate, and have never heard of, in disparate genres and at varying volumes. You can put on something you love, as long as it’s at the same time as the one other thing you love, but in the room furthest away, so you can dash between them. Ideally all of the noises will coagulate in a lovely sound clash and create a transcendent sound bath** experience in the hallway.

Roam from room to room, drinking heavily. Whenever you need the toilet, wait outside the door for at least 10 minutes before going in. You could also try a cup wee. Maybe it’s something you’ve always wanted to have a go at but were too nervous out in the fields? And you did say you were going to use this time to learn new skills… This is your time to shine! Probably don’t let your housemates see, though, especially if they don’t already know about Flatfest. They will definitely think isolation has pushed you over the edge, and probably also make you buy a new cup.

Additional fun festival activities can include but are not limited to: 

  • Shouting out random names to see if anyone answers. You can switch this up with just chanting the same name over and over again, or just use random words. There doesn’t need to be a reason why.
  • If anyone answers to any of the names, celebrate wildly. Obviously this is less likely to happen if it’s just you in your flat, but you could have a go shouting names at characters on the TV instead and see if you get any of those right? #isolationhacks
  • Facetime random contacts in your phone. Virtually recreate awkwardly bumping into them in a field. Make polite small talk while desperately scrabbling in the sloshy recesses of your mind to work out who the fuck they are. (Except this is much weirder, because you’ve facetimed them at 3pm on a Friday afternoon during a global pandemic, off your face and pretending you’re at a festival in your kitchen.)
  • Order some niche world food that you would never normally eat, like paella or churros, to be delivered. If possible, pay twice what you want to for it.
  • Turn on aeroplane mode and try desperately to call/text/whatsapp your friends with no signal.
  • Pretend to overhear someone saying their sisters’ boyfriends’ mate tours with Radiohead and they are playing a surprise set at 5pm down the Rabbit Hole. Spend the next 2 hours trying to find the Rabbit Hole before dismissing it as unfounded rumour.
  • Recreate the waltzers by spinning really fast in alternative directions while turning in a circle until you want to puke.
  • Name the rooms in your house fun quirky things like “the wizards willy” and “pineapple shakedown” so when you run into your housemates/irritated spouse/small children and they ask you what you’re doing, you can confidently answer “just heading through the sunflower field to Dobby’s Castle Party to catch Baaaa-llerina Boogie’s 3 hour disco sheep ballet workshop” etc
  • Change your outfit 4-6 times per day, in increasingly bizarre combinations. Ideally you would have themed Flatfest in advance, and created specific costumes for each day and theme. Come on, what else do you have on?
  • Lose all of your things again.
  • Pretend to overhear someone raving about the amazing once-in-a-lifetime unmissable Radiohead set you missed and swear violently.

Once it is dark outside you should keep all the lights off inside too, especially in the bathroom. Navigate your way by the stars/your phone torch. Head back to the tent so that you can get changed and do your make up in the dark. Make yourself up a hideously strong bottle of spirit and mixer and head back ‘out’. For added danger, mix your drink in total darkness.

By about 3/4am you should be jumping on the sofa blasting Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”, simultaneously feeling a bit sick and like this is the best night of your life. Call a random acquaintance and tell them how much you love them and that you’ll always be there for them. Find a novelty party hat from somewhere and use the Houseparty app to drunkenly make friends with strangers. Continue drinking until you are sick on your shoes. Stumble back to your tent for the crack on! Spend the next 3 hours chatting top quality shit. It doesn’t really matter if you’re by yourself for this bit as no one would be listening to you either way. Eventually pass out fully clothed, party hat askew.

Day 2
Repeat Day 1, but with less enthusiasm and a hideous hangover.
Day 3
It’s sloshy Sunday, baby! You should smell a bit funky, look like shit, and feel slightly unhinged from barely bothering to sleep for 3 days. The great thing is, as you’re actually still in your house and not at a festival, no one else can see how disgustan’ you currently are. Eat half a pack of plain digestive biscuits while staring blankly into the abyss. Wash down your dry, dry mouth with a big gulp of water. The water was straight gin. Dry heave out your tent porch. Deliberately let your phone die so you can’t text your friends and find out where they are. As you’re in isolation and can’t see them anyway this won’t be as annoying as usual, so that’s another positive.

At this stage I would strongly recommend cracking out a box of red wine (sweet precious), putting on your comfiest sparkly leggings, and lying on the floor listening to readings of Letters Live, sobbing quietly at the really emotional ones. Alternatively, try to have a nap whilst feeling guilty for not ‘making the most’ of the festival. As the sun sets, it’s time for the final push! You’re really tired and can’t be bothered, but you force yourself to change and start half heartedly drinking the paltry remains of your booze supply, which is now Tesco basics vodka with flat tonic and squash. Luckily everything shuts early on a Sunday, so after a final limp boogie, you crawl back to your tent and collapse into your sleeping bag, grateful that tomorrow you can go home and sleep in your nice clean bed after the easiest journey home ever!

*depending on your definition of expert

**I do not know what sound baths are

Originally published on my wonderful friend Dulcie‘s blog That Festival Life

Review: Alfresco Disco – Buoyancy

alfresco buoyancy

After the success of last year’s Buoyancy boat party, Bristol party collective Alfresco Disco once again transported their gleeful approach to the good ship Balmoral.

Setting off from the Cumberland Basin docks, we charted a course up through the River Avon with a 400 strong crew of revellers basking in the sun and sea breeze. As always with an Alfresco party, the crowd were dressed to impress. Unsurprisingly, a strong nautical theme was prevalent – going by headwear, the Balmoral may be the most heavily captained ship ever to take to water.

The Alfresco residents kept the upper deck heaving as Tom Hodgson, Luke Turner, Justin Gettings, Frankie Mann and Justin Credible took turns on the decks. A relaxed, Balearic vibe was explored to begin with, before the tunes took a left turn into luscious disco. Below deck, things were slightly darker both visually and in terms of the soundtrack. The second room, aka the cabin bar, sent forth stormy house and techno, reflecting the rising winds outside in a sonic turn of pathetic fallacy.

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that if you put a load of people on a boat and get them wasted two things will happen; boys will piss over the side and everyone will get wildly excited about bridges. With each bridge we passed, the cheering became louder, reaching a euphoric pitch by the time we crossed under the Severn Bridge, much to the bemusement of those on nearby vessels. Although we were sadly missing the unfortunate tourist that accidentally found himself aboard the Balmoral last year (under the impression he was going on a pleasant cruise around the harbour), we could get our own tourist fix from the below board souvenir shop, where postcards and magnets were flying off the shelves at the same velocity as tinnies of Red Stripe.

After several hours of sailing and dancing, the first part of the voyage came to an end as the boat pulled in to Clevedon Pier. Piling on the party buses, the crowd were transported to out-of-town venue Factory Studios where the Alfresco gang hosted an afterparty with more DJs and a BBQ. But having been swept away with naval excitement and three sheets, at this point it was time for me to abandon ship early.

Originally published online for Crack Magazine

Review: Alfresco Disco – Rave of the Decade Part 2

Alfresco disco rave 2

If you’re going to throw a party and call it the ‘Rave of the Decade’, you’d better be ready to deliver. If you’re going to smash it out of the park and then a year later throw ‘Rave of the Decade: Part 2’… you’d better be ready to vault the bar you’ve already raised.

Alfresco Disco’s parties are inspired by the free rave 90s culture, with Rave of the Decade Part 2 explicitly referencing “the early Sunrise parties that changed everything”. That’s all well and good but when you’re boarding a bus at 2pm on a murky grey Saturday afternoon, you might need a little time to warm up.

Decked out in our finest ‘nineties’ gear – or the approximation of it that comes from a quick Google and a few lost hours on – we pile on the assembled fleet of buses. Events immediately turn raucous and the Alfresco monitors have their work cut out, especially when the drive (billed as a 20 minute journey) takes more like an hour due to heavy traffic. Excitement builds to the extent that our top deck treat passing drivers to a round of mooning in order to let off some good-natured energy.

Eventually we pull into what appears to be a large farmyard and are greeted with the sight of a big wheel and a barn full of revellers who look to be getting proceedings well under way. Further exploration reveals that two large barns form Rooms 1 and 2, with a hidden ‘chill out room’ over the way full of comfy air seats playing host to a 7 hour set from TRI3E. Despite the double whammy of Dirtytalk residents in Room 1 and Stamp the Wax in Room 2 I can’t resist the lure of the rides where, full disclosure, I spend a lot of time and most of my money as the day progresses.

By now the Alfresco Disco DJs are heating things up in both rooms, and as the light begins to fade outside we start to feel more illicit. The treats keep on coming with both Marshall Jefferson and Luke Solomon on the decks in Room 1 before DJ Die closes down Room 2 with an old school hardcore set, bringing things to a glow stick waving, whistle blowing, foot stomping conclusion.

Piling back on the buses with significantly less energy than the inward journey, everyone is shattered but content. A rave of the decade (part 2) was promised, and for the second time in as many years, that’s what Alfresco delivered.

Originally posted online for Crack Magazine