Latitude 2018 – Part One: The Festival.

Dear Blog,

Last months I had the most amazing 5 days volunteering at Latitude Festival. As I volunteered as well as went to my first ever festival, I’ve decided to split this blog into two; One part dedicated the festival itself and the second part dedicated to my volunteering experience with Hotbox Events. Enjoy!

As my long time followers will be aware of, 2018 marks a year of change for me. A year of saying more ‘Yes’ and less ‘No’ and so far, I have pushed myself in ways I never thought possible. As a teetotaler and overall introvert, the festival scene has never really been very appealing but when the advert to volunteer popped up on my Facebook all the way back in February, I thought “Meh, why not” and I am so glad I did.

Latitude, located only 45 minutes from me in Norwich, is known as a more chilled, family friendly, kind of festival with something to entertain everyone. With this in mind, it felt like a safe bet.

I arrived at the campsite on the 11th July, a day before the festival was opened to the public so I could be briefed on my shifts and site rules ect… There wasn’t much to do that day as the world cup dominated most of the afternoon. The following day however, the festival Village opened and staff members were allowed exclusive access the arena area of the festival. I took this opportunity to take a bunch of Snapchat videos and compiled them into a handy little snap shot of my day. It was great to see all the stalls and stages free before becoming rammed with festival goers in the coming days. I managed to get quite a few freebies too! Including a t-shirt, drinks and several wristbands. I was very happy. It was a great little V.I.P experience. unfortunately, during June and July, Britain experiance one of its longest and hottest dry spells, leaving the ground very dusty and the grass had turned to straw so the entire festival sort of felt like it was being held in a barn. I would be lovely to see what it looked like before.

There were five different stages; Two main music stages (the BBC Music tent and Obelisk), The Comedy stage, The Lake view and The Water front which were mainly for the lesser known bands and alternative entertainment. There were also other little stages scattered around in various places.

It is a tradition of Latitudes to spray paint their sheep pink. I’m not entirely sure why but I have been told they don’t mind and it washes off as soon as it rains. So please don’t be alarmed if you see them in the below video.

 

The festival opened up to the public on friday and it was already really busy. I remember looking at the crowds thinking “There is no way more people can arrive?!” but of course with the headline act playing on saturday evening, it was going to get a lot more intense. The great thing about the more well-known acts playing at the weekend was that most of Fridays entertainment was from up and coming singer/comedians. Some of the best jokes were from entertainers who were still finding their feet in show business. I was truly amazing to be able to witness this person who, no doubt about it, will become a successful comedian, spread their wings on what is probably their biggest stage to date. These performances were also the lease crowded so you got the enjoy the experience from a reasonable distance. One of my favourite highlights from Latitude.

A lot of the stalls had begun to open up on the Friday and anything that was offering freebies, I was there (I love my freebies). Hair brand Aussie were offering some free dry shampoo samples and fresh juices if you took a photo in their bathtub. As you can see in my video below, I gladly took part. I was a fan of Aussie before the festival so free dry shampoo sounded amazing, especially given how much dust was in the air from our lack of rain. The juice however… Perhaps a little too much on the healthy side for my liking. It was beetroot, carrot and ginger. I think I’ll give that a miss next time.

 

I was on duty for most of Saturday but once my shift had finished, I was able to rush over to see Harry Hill at the Comedy tent. That was an interesting experience. unfortunately, I found his act to be rather dry especially as his closer was to get members of the audience to lick a piece of styrofoam and stick them altogether. Yes, it really was that weird. It became apparent that Harry works better with a script and TV studio.

I discovered my favourite stall after watching Harry Hill; Festival Postcards. A little stall that sold festival themed postcards (what gave that away) and a little post box so you could send them, while at the festival. I can not emphasise how excited I was to discover such a stall existed. A long running tradition of Gemma’s and mine is send each other postcards so this inexpensive shop was a little hidden treasure.

The Killers were Latitudes big headline act and what an act they were. I managed to get reasonably close to the front of the stage and my view was brilliant. Brandon Flowers has such a fantastic stage presence, genuinely looking happy to be there and entertain us all. About half way through their set, The Killers noticed two signs in the audience asking to play the drums. Picking one, the gentleman (I can’t remember his name. Micheal? Micky? I’m sure it began with an M) took to the stage and aced ‘For Reasons Unknown’. The whole crowd was cheering this guys name. It must have been an amazing feeling. Now, I don’t know if this bit was staged or not but I like to think it was a genuine act if kindness. The guys face of pure nerves and concentration seemed far too real.

 

I didn’t have much free time on Sunday (my last day) as my shift began midafternoon. There wasn’t much on in the morning so I made myself at home in one of the handy hammocks that were scattered across the festival grounds. It was so oddly peaceful. You would never expect to be able to swing happily in a hammock beside a river during a festival. It’s one of the many aspects that make Latitude so unique.

I manged to watch the Chortle Student Comedy finalists. They were a funny bunch of university students who had all entertain the Chortle contest while in the middle of their degree’s. I have a lot of respect for anyone who can take on something like this while studying as doing my degree alone, took all my time and energy. There were six finalists, all given a 7 minute window to blow us away with their jokes. Most successeded. It was an enjoyable experience.

 

As you can see, my videos get progressively shorter the busier Latitude and I became.

All in all, this was an absolutely amazing experience. There really aren’t many things in life that I would give a 10/10 review but this has come very VERY close. I’ll say a 9.9/10 (I don’t believe anything can be perfect). As my first ever festival, Latitude was a very fun, relaxed place to be. I felt safe, comfortable and just genuinely on a high all week-long. I hope next year is just as good.

 

I have not be paid to promote anything or anyone featured in the article. All opinions are my own. 

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Rebuild: It Takes Time.

Play me in the background.

Dear Blog,

When I was down, I used to spring back up. I used to put on my imaginary armor, fists clenched and flight. Blow after blow and I would continue, feeding off the adrenaline as tears streamed down my face. I would be hanging, broken and bruised but still asking for more. I never won, I never felt victorious.
Post fight and I would skulk away, shed my protection and be isolated. Alone. And ultimately, confused. I thought I was being strong. I thought I was protecting myself. I must not let anyone hurt me. Not again.
Inside, I was fractured. Things were coming apart, loose connections flailed in the voids. Thoughts and instructions couldn’t complete their journeys. The lights were going out.
So I would panic. And when I panic, I fight. The cycle repeats.

I spend my entire youth like this. subconscious self sabotage. Things continued until all the lights were out, my eyes were glazed over and I was nothing more than a shell, walking the earth with fragments of my soul rattling in my shoes. As my shell trekked the country, it unknowingly passed hundreds of similar beings; Broken.

Heres the thing about being broken, it takes an effort to fix it. Over the years, with the help of pills, councillors, therapists, the pieces in my toes began to slowly rebuild. Brick by brick. At first things were held together with tape. A quick fix. Sometimes I faces challenges and before I could think about my reaction, I would fight. And break. Crumbled. Again the peices began to rebuild. Slightly stronger tape was used. As time went on, the challanges seemed less relevent. I didn’t have the energy to flight. Instead, I would shrug and walk on by. I couldn’t collapse again.
The distance gave the pieces time to fuse together, slowly climbing up my body, giving me back feeling in my hands, in my heart, in my brain. I wasn’t trying to be strong, I was strong. It repaired the connections that were once lost. The idea’s came back and so did the imagination. And when it was time to turn on the lights:

I was ready to face the world as a new person. I have crumbled for the last time.

 

 

 

 

I Absorb Personalities.

Dear Blog,

At the moment, life isn’t as easy as I would like it to be but it has given me a lot to think about such as, me as a person and where my issues lie. Then I had a thought, an epiphany if you will: I have a personality draining demon.

As I have grown up, especially in the last 4 years, I have gone through a huge personality shift. Things I thought were important, things I’d dreamed off for years, faded into the background and I learnt life didn’t have to be linear, we aren’t in the 1950’s. I am free to go, do, be anything I want to be.

In 2014, I dyed my hair bright blue, straying away from my long, natural blonde hair. I saw a youtuber who had the same shade who seemed to have a pretty decent life at the age of 26 and I was inspired. So I changed my appearance to embrace this new-found youth. I have not been my natural hair colour since.  Now I know back then, I was more copying her rather than being motivated by her but I do still believe it triggered a change in me. From that moment, I have been absorbing different parts of people’s personalities.

Later that year, I got into an unhealthy relationship. I hold my hands up and admit I was 75% the cause and thankfully it didn’t last long. However, I met this person and listened to their stories, their families stories and was again inspired (can you see a trend?). This person was a keen guitarist and singer and although I have been playing guitar since I was 16, I am nowhere near pro (and unfortunately it is a skill I have completely given up now), I was starstruck. His favourite band soon became mine, I started taking my guitar more seriously and would often bug him so let me play on his until it became such a focus of mine, a obsession, that I soon overtook him and his passion until he couldn’t keep up. He went back into his shell like a freshly dried raisin. Then things ended.

So now we are in 2015/16 and I am this blue haired, semi-rock chic with guitar chords pumping through my veins. What would be the next thing I’d add to my arsenal? How about traveling.

In 2016, I met my current partner. When we met, I was hung up on the idea of getting married and having children. That was my goal in life. But when we met, I heard stories about living in Australia and Vietnam. Going from country to country on your own. This was like giving sugar to a bee. I adored that idea. I craved that idea. I stole that idea… Over the course of 2 years, children were out of the picture, replaced with plan after plan of going on holidays, month-long breaks and even moving to New Zealand. Everything sounded so exciting and was feeding this demon.
Cycling was another trait I adopted from my partner. Before I knew it, I was entering sportives left, right and center. I bought a bike worth hundreds of pounds, cycled everywhere and invested so much of my spare time watching cycling videos on YouTube. Weekends were filled with the urge to cycle more, further, faster. It was a sport my partner had partaken in since he was 8 years old and here I was, going crazy, addicted. I wanted it all but I couldn’t see that I was draining him. I was literally sucking the life right out of him and he became just another shell of who he had been. Because of me. So much inspiration that I adored but instead of cherishing his traits and talents, I wanted them for my own.

Here, in 2018, I am an energised, motivated, inspired ball of raging energy, yet I am alone. I took what I loved and I killed it.

I hope that I have found who I am ment to be and will stop this destruction otherwise I will end up with nothing to show but a list of failures and broken hearts. In a world with so much opportunity, where it is normal to go against the norm, how will I find my balance? Or am I still a naive 25 year old?