This article was originally published on THUMP UK.
We should start by stating an obvious but very pertinent point: festivals are great. A good festival is about as close to perfection as life gets. You've got friends, copious amounts of booze, really expensive burgers, fields, girls in cowgirl hats and lads decked out as Keith Lemon. All that and you get to see pretty much every DJ you're into over the space of two or three fun-packed days. If that's not utter bliss, I'm not sure what is.
The thing is though, and we're sure you'll agree, you do unfortunately meet some utter wrong-uns at festivals. That in itself isn't surprising or shocking because, well, whenever there's a gathering of more than five people you're guaranteed to find at least a twat or two, but it still doesn't make the process of navigating the worst of the worst any easier.
With that in mind, we've decided to team up with London based illustrator Josh Hanton to produce a kind of visual field guide to the absolute worst people you'll definitely meet at a festival at some point over the next few months.
1. Mr. Festival
From late May to early October this bloke lives out of a sleeping sheath stuffed into a rucksack. He'll see any band or DJ on any stage anywhere, just to soak up the unique thrill of watching a band or DJ he doesn't care about playing to an audience who regret being stood where they are. He's laden with knock off Pot Noodles and absolutely reeks of unbranded cider. Both arms are covered to his armpits in wristbands, and his left hand he tightly clutches a printed festival timetable that turned limp from rain and sweaty palms. He just fucking loves festivals. He loves them. Leefest is his Woodstock, and he's very, very, very excited to catch Infected Mushroom at BoomTown later this year.
2. Daddy Cool
"Why," he says to you, as Archie or Benji or Theo or Olly or Ralph or Buddy Bear start pulling on your trouser leg, covering your denim-clad shin in spittle and sweet-stickiness, "can't we bring generations together at these kind of events? That's the whole thing about club culture, isn't it? It's all about unity!" Two hours later you see Archie or Benji or Theo or Olly or Ralph or Buddy Bear slipping off their father's shoulders, accidentally bringing him tumbling to the ground, inadvertently causing him to both muddy his jeans and spill his pint. You watch him get redder and redder, angrier and angrier, and he nearly, very nearly shouts "FUCK OFF," at his own children. Then the child starts running amok inside the tent and Kerri Chandler notices a small child in a very expensive jacket clambering onto the stage and he sets an alarm off and the whole festival becomes a disturbing, dizzying, panicky hellhole and dear old dad's somewhere, in the middle of it all, muttering about his spilled pint.
3. The Gruesome Graver
He's older than the hills but by GOD he's going to sidle up to you over a cig and breathe noxiously nostalgic conversational fumes in your incredibly disinterested face. The knobbly-kneed old bastard's still wearing the terrible tie-dye he looked awful in the first time round, and despite the slack-jawed slimes he's directing at your innermost core, his wizened, weathered, haunted visage masks a Baikal-deep sadness. "It was all better back then," he says over and over. "It was better...when....back then...when I was young."
4. You've Done too Much, Much too Young
It's 3pm and you've jut puked over the vintage North Face shell jacket you bought with mummy's debit card from Too Hot and now you're going to miss Novelist and you start crying a bit and the tears and puke mingle and everyone around you's laughing, laughing AT YOU and they're never going to stop laughing and you don't know what to do and you fall over in the puke and tears and ruin your new Nikes and your tapered joggies split and we all see your tiny, tiny, pink, hairless bollocks slopping about in the muddy puke.
5. The Muck Spreader
This utterly filthy bastard's only got one weekend off all summer and he's going to make the most of it. He's boshing anything he can find, he's drunk the bar dry, he's consumed and shat out the majority of the meat on offer...and it's not even midday! His trousers look like they are made of hemp and king skins, and his hair looks like burnt hay and Wotsit dust. He smells of Blackthorn and lighter fluid, were you to taste his skin you tongue would dance with the flavours of salt and MDMA crystals. His name is probably something like 'Spud' of 'Pog'. He's wearing a Croatian football shirt. By sunset he's a zombie, but a zombie determined to feast on techno rather than flesh.
Come Monday morning though, he's mutated into this...
You can see more of Josh Hanton's incredible illustrations here.Josh Baines is on Twitter