Can there be a better way to spend a weekend than with a bunch of old farts in the sunshine at a retro festival? This was the 1980s revisited – my favourite era, when I was a drama student without a care in the world (apart from having to find time to crimp my hair between pints of vodka and lime).
There we all were, somewhere in a field in Bristol, the forty, fifty and even sixty-somethings, some dressed in what looked like rambling gear, others in Lycra that really shouldn’t be seen in the vicinity of a muffin top. There were quite a few bald heads going nicely pink in the sun. In the campsite, posh campervans and tents with blow up frames. We were armed with loo roll and anti-bacterial wet wipes – and I got my face painted for the first time ever. Ain’t no stopping us now….What a mix of music! From Bucks Fizz with Cheryl Baker looking distinctly stiff in her high heels, to the Jam (without Paul Weller) who didn’t look any different. And this via Aswad, Betty Boo, Howard Jones, Jimmy Somerville and Nick Heyward. How invigorating it was to realise that most of the performers were older than us. In fact, some of them had their grown up kids performing on stage with them. No grandchildren yet, but give it another couple of years…
Hey – we were bolshie and fought our way right to the front for Chas and Dave. Once there, we were stuck and couldn’t escape the ‘Rabbit’ and some dubiously sexist lyrics. Oh well, what the heck, the simple solutions was to have another drink and sing along. When I say sing, that is debatable. At least we didn’t have the repeat from last year when a bloke turned round and demanded: ‘If you don’t know the words, DON’T SING!”
On the last day of the festival we took a well-earned break from nostalgia, lying back on rugs in the sun, relaxed and happy. Suddenly it was time for the Boomtown Rats – so we leapt to our feet. ‘Leapt’. Hm. We attempted to get up without groaning at the aches and pains in our aging bodies. But hey, we did it, and hobbled off to the arena to see Sir Bob leap around with the energy of an 18 year old. But he still doesn’t like Mondays.