You know those glorious out-of-town buffet restaurants where you can pile up your plate with every cuisine known to man, all for ten bucks? That’s like going to a festival in 2015. Except instead of humid duck pancakes, watered-down chicken tikka masala, and dehydrated chips, your plate (known in this scenario as the camping ground) is sodden with every different species of festival-goer you can imagine (also it costs $300).
Festivals used to boast their own fiercely-united collection of attendees ,and you could tell each event apart by the people who went. But these days you can encounter chief fuck-face wearing a NativeAmerican headdress, a shoal of teeth-grinding university students, the dreadlocked trustafarian, and the grooving-and-cruising Daddy Cool all in the same friendship group, at the same event.
Thing is though, we’re all human; and being human, we’re all fundamentally flawed. It doesn’t matter if your wardrobe is ASOS festival chic, Karmaloop, or the clearing rack at Anthropologie. Nor does it matter if your iPod holds Pendulum’s back catalogue, Taylor Swift’s greatest hits, or the damp batter between Ben Howard and Alt J. The point is that you’re a human being who, at some point, has sucked to be around. We all have. So to reconcile you little shit bags, here’s a list of every annoying person you’ve ever been to a festival with.
The Friend Who Turns the Festival Into a Series of Disconnected Text Messages
“Oh my god we should totally meet up!” squeals this marauding acquaintance, weeks before the festival actually starts. Once you’re on site, these people are hell-bent on finding you, for reasons unclear to either of you: “Come 1Xtra tent! Front right!” “Just @ pie stall now, txt me when here” “Back at the tent come find us we’re camped near tents”. They won’t be happy until they’ve turned your weekend away into a festival-themed version of the Crystal Maze on acid where the only prize is an awkward conversation about what you’re up to at the moment.
The group who bring numerous tubs of glitter, wear sequins from head to toe, and say stuff like, “Can we all be rave pixies this weekend!?" while forcefully applying decorations to your face—and when you refuse to join in they look at you as if you are placing a double barrel shotgun in the mouth of happiness itself.
Is it that unreasonable that I don’t want to look like a Forever 21-clad mermaid with a tropical skin disease?
The Clean Freak Who Can't Deal With the Toilets and Spends Four Days Burning Their Skin Off With Antibacterial Gel
Their natural movement stunted by the handfuls of travel-sized Purell jammed into each pocket and the fact that they haven’t shit in two days despite consuming nothing but beer and carbs, this person can be seen shuffling from stage to stage with the grace and urgency of a woman in labor riding a Segway to the hospital.
Every inch of your being hates this person and the long, thorough wet-wipe routines that have to be completed every time they touch something, causing you to miss the first five minutes of every band’s set. But if you think about it, their dedication to music is actually much greater than yours. This is the kind of person who actually utilizes the toilet seat covers in airports yet, somehow, agreed to spend a long weekend camping in a muddy field that reeks of sweat and cheese, just to see Alabama Shakes. The inconvenience they caused making you wait around for them every morning while they dry-shampoo their pubic hair is fucking nothing compared to the colossal bowel movement they’ll have to endure when they get home.
THE RUSH TO THE FRONT GIRLS WHO HAVE TO BE AT THE FRONT THE WHOLE TIME DOESN’T MATTER IF THEIR BLADDERS BURST DOESN’T MATTER IF THEY STARVE GOT TO BE AT THE FRONT.
"Oh fuck it, I need to pee".
The Festival Worker Who is Pretty Much Useless
People who wouldn’t know how to wire a plug that have been carted in from university or local outlying areas, and have no clue where Gate C or whether this the quickest way to the Circus field. Hell, they only vaguely know the direction to first aid, and they haven’t figured out their walkie-talkie quite yet. Basically these IRL extras serve no purpose other than to trick you into feeling like there is some semblance of order to an orderless world.
The Balloon Crew
You see a guy with a small sports-branded satchel fastened to his side nod in your direction. Then comes the enquiry: “Balloon? Two for a fiver.” He doesn’t ask any other questions. Because really, there’s no need for a “banging load in this week” or “couch-lock high” sales pitch with balloons. Instead, the entrepreneur arrives at the festival with a thousand whippets and the guarantee that when he pops up—coordinating between business and pleasure with a sole, deflating balloon perpetually hanging from his mouth—a congregation will gather round his watering hole. He’s a true businessman: modern and savvy, and aware balloons remain the best way to make your money back at a festival. Unlike say...
The Cup Scavenger
This is the person—because it’s always one, isn’t it, you never see them in packs or as a codependent pair, just one lone maverick—prowling the festival ground and picking up the discarded cup detritus scattered across the floor. They proceed to stack the salvaged paper debris into a biodegradable obelisk, which they then ferry around the festival, clutched to their chest like a baby made from dead trees. These litter vultures are deluded, because they’re not carrying a baby-fat-fresh newborn, are they? They’re carrying a load of paper cups; a literal tower of rubbish—paper cups that are worth five cents each—and it’s all because they want a free beer, the little freegans. But do you know how many cups you need to exchange for a lukewarm pint? About two hundred of the insubstantial bastards. These human-form seagulls shouldn’t be allowed in the festival purely on the basis they don’t understand basic time management.
The Young Lovers Who Spend All Weekend Getting Fucked and Breaking Up
From the 16 year-old couple celebrating their exam results with a case of Kopparberg and the thrill of no supervision, to the twenty-somethings who have been together since they were 16 for no apparent reason other than neither could find anybody else willing to deal with them, festivals are full of young lovers who spend three-to five-days either fighting or fingering.
The combination of line-up clashes, exhaustion, and multipack cider pushes these people to their primal extremes. “Let’s go see Catfish and the Bottlemen!” partner number one will say, one eye wandering off to the left and the other rolling back in its socket, “Fuck that,” replies partner number two, crushing an empty cup under their wellie for emphasis, burping, and swallowing some sick, “They’re on the same time as Alexisonfire. We’re doing that,” to which partner number one slurs, “I hate you. I hate you So. Fucking. Much.” Then they both pair off into groups of friends and spend the rest of the day threatening to cop off with a stranger before making up with loud sex in a tent that isn’t even theirs. Repeat ad nauseum.
The Enigma Who Always Gets Stuck in a Toilet / Poo Ravine at Every Outdoor Event Ever But Nobody Has Ever Met
These tragic tales are usually so far removed from you and the people you know that they feel almost like urban myths, but as the old saying goes: pile hundreds of thousands of people into one confined outdoor space and force them all to dump their waste into a communal septic tank, and someone, somewhere, will fall in it.
Whether it’s the man who took Trainspotting too literally and went hunting for drugs in a toilet bowl, the poor dude who got pushed over in a porta-potty at T in the Park and suffered PTSD from the fear of literally drowning in other people’s shit, or the infamous Charlotte Taylor—who got her head stuck in one of the toilets at Leeds festival in 2009 and became forever immortalised on Urban Dictionary as “Poo Girl”—there are so many versions of this story it rivals that of Jesus Christ, and their presence is equally intangible. The only way you’ll get a good look at Poo Girl is in your post-festival comedown dreams, and even then she has your mother’s face.
The person who has a binder full of carefully planned clashfinders and has done up their tent with pinboards like Carrie from Homeland
Guys I’ve been on setlist.fm and, presuming everyone sticks to their normal festival song order, we can leave Maximo Park after “Apply Some Pressure” and still get to George Ezra in time for “Budapest”. Guys? Guys? Guys, I think you’ve locked me in the tent.
The parent who drew the short straw and has to take their teen kid and their nine shitty friends to T In The Park.
Okay, you kids go down the front and enjoy the Foo Fighters, I’m going to hang back here and see if I can score any weed off one of the members of The Beautiful South. Let’s meet at the Burger van no later than 11:30PM. If you’re all on time I’ll buy you a cider to share between you. Wait, what are you doing with that small plastic bag of unrefined brown sugar?
The “It’s more than just the music” guy
Spends the whole weekend watching BBC Three comedians do their B material while you’re watching Blur literally make a field of truckers cry. Comes back to the tent each night trying to retell all the jokes he’s heard but is unable to remember any of the punchlines.
The Immodium guy.
“Just necked 25 of these, that’s me sorted for the weekend”. Dies on Sunday.
The guy who is still shouting “Butt Scratcher” even though that episode of Family Guy aired 8 years ago and he is 34.
Worse than the rise in ticket prices, more stringent security, and even the era of “Alan!”, was the arrival of “butt scratcher” on the festival scene. A sort of call and response among unilads, a mating call for people who want to reverse the natural course of evolution.
The Guy Who Came Without a Tent or a Sleeping Bag, and When You Ask Him How He Expects to Proceed he Winks and Says “Just Gonna Wing it, Mate.”
The sheer audacity of this guy is something you can only step back from and slowly clap. I mean, the outright gall even becomes a talking point among their friends: “Jim’s not even brought a tent!”, “Jim, you absolute legend, mate!” But all that self-reliant swagger looks grotesquely naive when you find them shaking silently by the chars of the campfire at 9AM, broken and alone, a trash bag for a blanket and morning dew stuck to their face. Even then, these remarkable souls stay resolute—he’ll turn up next year and do the exact same thing again. That’s just Jim’s vibe.
The person who has managed to cook themselves delicious food, stay incredibly clean-looking, go to bed at midnight, smell great, and see Belle & Sebastian twice, despite spending five days in a field surrounded by shit, piss, alcohol, and drug dealers.
Fuck you people very much.
This article originally appeared on Noisey UK.