This weekend (12th of July 2015) I visited T in the Park and left less than 24 hours later. If you read my blog, you’ll know that I don’t usually blog about things like this however I feel like this is something that just simply needs to be said; and might save some people from wasting a lot of money.
I was very apprehensive at first about buying my ticket, it’s a lot of money ( £200) for student like me to shell out however I decided I would work longer and more frequent shifts at my job in order to cover the costs. Buying individual tickets for everyone I planned on going to see would cost £500+ so I told myself it was worth it. I worked over 77 hours at my part time job on minimum wage to save enough money to get my ticket and spending money. That’s a lot of hours for someone who is a full time student and took me quite a long time to save. A few months went by and I got increasingly excited about everyone I was going to see. George Ezra, Marina and the Diamonds, Hozier, Kasabian, James Bay, Alt-J… and many more. It was my first time away on my own and I got so excited to spend the weekend with some of my best friends listening to some of my favourite music. I’m not going to lie, I couldn’t contain myself at the thought of seeing Marina and the Diamonds, she’s been one of my favourite ever artists since I was 15 and was one of the main reasons I decided to go.
After a six hour drive and a lot of wrong turnings, we finally got there with a few hours to spare before Hozier started, the first act we planned to see. After spending what seemed like all eternity looking for the car park, we finally hauled all of our luggage to the front entrance, only to end up queuing for half an hour. I know that doesn’t sound too bad, queues are expected however we were just made to stand there for no apparent reason, no one was being let in. Then I got my bag ‘searched’, everything was okay and I was let through so I walked out of the way whilst my friends got searched. Ten minutes later I could see my friend in distress and something being thrown in the bin and smashed. No glass bottles are allowed, which is a fair rule I believe. However they threw away her mirror and mac foundation and would only let her take it back to the car if she rejoined the queue, which was now at least a mile long and would mean we would miss Hozier, someone we all couldn’t wait to see. This made us all pretty upset, I for one would feel so uncomfortable without any foundation on and I’d be gutted if my Estee Lauder double wear got taken away from me, I can only imagine how she felt.
After an HOUR long walk to our campsite, we threw our belongings in and trekked all of the way back to the stages. We expected it to be quite a walk, but not quite that long. It was horrendous! We practically sprinted and when we got there, we missed the majority of Hozier and only caught three songs. Once it was finished we decided to have a little look at the venue before the next act we wanted to see came on, we went to the little supermarket that they had and looked at the surrounding area. By this point, we had been in T in the Park for precisely three hours at most and already weren’t having the best time. Now, festivals usually involve drugs, there’s no secret about that. I wasn’t surprised when I heard of people taking them however nothing, absolutely nothing prepared me for the horror that we endured. There was a poor girl, rolling and kicking around in the mud on the floor with security guards sitting on her, and female staff covering her with their jackets to ensure she was kept dignified (at this point she had barely any clothes on). First aiders couldn’t do a thing . They just stood there and watched. I don’t know what she had ken or if she had been spiked, but it was very distressing to watch and all I could think about is how devastated her parents must be and the friend she was with was clearly upset. She was only about 15 years eeds.
After that it was time for Kasabian, a band I’ve liked for a long time and of whom my friends love. We were all so excited and had a wonderful time listening to them. Something I cannot fault are the performances themselves. They were amazing and we had a great time then. However it as the people that ruined it. I’m not exaggerating here, I promise. It seemed like almost EVERYONE was on some sort of drug. It was so scary seeing people in some of the states they were in. It ruined it for a lot of people that came to enjoy themselves and I felt as though the festival wasn’t even about the music, just an excuse for people to take whatever they could get their hands on for three days straight. During Kasabian a woman asked ‘what I was on’, insuniating that I had taken something. The fact it was so normal here just bewildered me. It’s a persons choice whether they take drugs or not, but this was on a whole other level.
I just want to say, I didn’t expect T in the Park to be a glamorous or particularly pleasant camping experience however I did think that I would have some fun by having a few drinks with my friends and enjoying myself. However with some of the people there, it was not possible. I couldn’t help but worry about so many people there. It got to 5am and I was absolutely desperate for the toilet, I hoped I could hold on until I went to tesco the next morning but I couldn’t. I had to go. I walked along to the toilets on my pyjamas to be greeted with the most disgusting thing I’ve ever, ever seen in my entire life. A woman told me to visit a disabled toilets as it was a lot cleaner and when I asked a security guards, they said there weren’t any. I explained that I physically could not use the ones that were provided and at this point I was in pain. They offered to take me to the VIP toilets and obviously I said yes. After a short walk I was presented with clean toilets. I felt like I had won the lottery. I am so thankful for them, they were very kind. One of them (I sadly have forgotten his name) walked me back to my tent to ensure I got back okay and we quickly got chatting. He told me about how his son was coming to the event and I told him about my blog and condition. He was such a lovely person and give me a hug when he dropped me off and told me to stay safe.
On the Saturday (yesterday, when I am writing this) my friends and I traveled to Tesco in Perth to collect some supplies and I got myself a few drinks to have at the camp with my friends. When we got back to the camp we all sat around and I had a few drinks with our other friends that were there whilst we listened to some music. Word quickly got around and we were informed that a man had died at the toilets a mere 5 yards from our tent. We were in utter shock. It’s not confirmed what it was however it’s highly speculated that it is drug related. The BBC confirmed that it was a 36 year old man. So much ran through my mind. Did he have children, a wife? How would they feel? Was he spiked? It was absolutely heart breaking.
I had a drink whilst I waited until it was time to see Marina and the Diamonds, I was so so excited and we started to walk down towards it when my friend, let’s call her G, started to feel sick. G and I were both so hyped about seeing Marina and the Diamonds together as we both love her music. We had been talking about it for months and listened to Froot, her newest album in full in the car on the drive there, both singing along. When we got into the tent that it was being held at, she needed to stand at the back and told me to go further in and she would meet me. Marina quickly came on and there was no sign of G, so I thought she was just standing at the back because she felt ill. I was with a different friend and she was with someone, so I decided to stay there. I met some lovely girls there who let me go in front of them, because I’m so short and I was quickly at the barrier. I had an amazing time and this gig felt different. It was full of girls and boys like me. There because they loved Marina and we were all singing our heart out and dancing with each other. It was like a breath of fresh air and I had an amazing time. Upon it finishing, my friend and I left to go find our other friends. With no sign of them, I rang them and found out she was in the medical tent. She could not stop throwing up and was told if she didn’t get better, she may have to have her blood tested or go to hospital. G then rang her parents who said they would come and pick her up and I said I would go with her. I wouldn’t let her go back home alone, that’s not fair. Friends are meant to stick together. We then all decided as a group that it was probably best to leave anyway due to the situation we were in and the awful things that had happened.
At this point, we feared for our safety and didn’t want to risk anything. Especially with G being unwell, it wasn’t fair. We made our way back to the tent and I asked some stewards if there was any way that G was able to get assistance to getting to the car park. They told us that they cannot drive her there however were able to help her with bags. As she was unwell, she was weak and felt faint. Definitely not able to carry all of her things and there was no way that we could carry them for her, much to our dismay. We were thrilled that they offered us assistance and quickly packed our things. When we went back to the help point, they turned her away. They said they could not help us, even though she was unwell. G was physically unable to carry her belongings however we had no choice. The walk was too long to do again and we did not want to risk her things being stolen if we left them for another trip. We felt as though the stewards were judging her, as if she had a hangover or had taken drugs and that her illness was her fault. She had not had either and was sure she was unwell due to the stress that she had endured at T in the Park. We were very fortunate and as we started walking there we saw a friend of ours who offered to carry her belongings.
As we got to the car park we could hear George Ezra, who is one of my all time favourite artists and my friends love him too. We were absolutely devastated to miss him any many more acts however we had to leave as we feared for our own safety. Something that we should not have to worry about. In total I saw Hozier, Sam Smith, Kasabian and Marina and the Diamonds. We anticipated seeing at least fifteen over the course of the weekend.
Security were very aware of the drug use and blatantly chose to ignore it. Without drugs, T in the Park would not exist. Why do you think the security is so lenient? They don’t ‘check’ bags, they feel for glass bottles and only peer inside. There are no detectors for drugs and quite frankly, someone could be waving them around and still be let in. If drugs weren’t such a big part of the event, I believe the majority of the festival goers wouldn’t be there. Nor would they sell anywhere near the amount of food, drinks and merch that they do. They completely exploit the young teenagers on drugs for their own financial gain, of which is completely and utterly wrong. They were so easily accessible and it seemed and normal it was to be taking them. To me, it feels like T in the Park is more of a three day event for people to escape reality and get high with their friends. It isn’t about the music and it certainly isn’t anything like it looks on TV.
On Saturday, on an article I read at 3pm, 25 people had been arrested that day. A shocking amount of people. Shockingly low. A man got beaten by bottles (of which there is a viral video of), tents and belongings were stolen, drugs were getting sold and many more activities were going on. There were hardly any police and absolutely no one patrolling any of the campsites. Security was absolutely abysmal and virtually none exitant. It comes to something when a security guard wouldn’t even let his own son camp there, it shows how little faith he has in the event.
In 2014, over 3.5 million people attended a music festival in the UK. That’s a lot of people and a LOT of money being spent. £16 million+ on ticket sales alone. Nevermind the money that they get from advertisement, add ons, vendors and more. I understand that it costs a lot to put a festival on, however there’s no denying that there’s a hefty profit involved. That’s all it’s about though. It’s a business. They’re there to make money and seemingly have no care for people’s welfare.
That’s not all though. Read these articles;
If security was tighter, maybe that man may not have died, a man would not have been beaten with a bottle, a woman would not have had her entire tent and belongings stolen.
A man was ran over by a bus due to poor road management, a girl was trampled, venues were too small, traffic jams lead to young girls sleeping rough on the side of a road whilst waiting to be picked up, traffic jams leading to people missing acts that they paid money to see. The whole event was an absolute shambles. It’s not acceptable in the slightest.
I ask of you, please share this around. Share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… Everywhere. I want everyone to see it and do something about it. The way innocent people, including my friend, have been treat is not okay. You go to a festival to have fun with your friends, listen to music you love and have a great time. Not to endure what we, and thousands of others, did. It shouldn’t have came to what it did and we should not for a second have doubted our safety. I hope the majority of the people at that festival had an amazing time, I really do. But judging by the comments on social media by other attendees, I’m not the only one feeling angry.
Thank you for reading this, my next post will be a lot happier, I promise.