Last weekend I traded at RockPrest, a rock tribute festival in – you guessed it – Preston. It was one of a series of rock tribute festivals I am working this Summer. The first in Bolton, and the next, the biggest, in Prestwich, nattily named Festwich.
They were full on days for me, being an hours drive away, making it a 16 hour day, but I adore festivals. I love the happy, friendly atmosphere, the drunk people falling about, the live music, and the chatty fans.
On Saturday the sun blasted down, and it was perfect. My stall did really well, and I chatted with some really interesting people. However, on Sunday, the heavens opened. Not just a bit of rain. Full on torrential flashflood type rain. The field went from a couple of thousand to about 50 in half an hour. I was selling ponchos like hot cakes, and poor old Pearl Scam was getting drenched on stage.
As I moved my stall further back into the gazebo, I encouraged people to come in and shelter from the rain. Lots of people squeezed in, and many eventually bailed out and went home. There was one lovely couple who had come down from the lakes who I got chatting to. The man had grown up in South Africa, and he knew about batik dyeing, a method I am keen to try. He went to get his partner a coffee and offered to get me one too, I declined, but he came back with a cake for me as a thank you for letting them shelter from the rain. They eventually nipped back to their hotel to get waterproofs, but when they returned, they came to see me again, and gave me some bin bags, saying I could sell them as ponchos if it came to rain again. As ridiculous as this sounds, it really was raining to the point where a bin bag seemed like appropriate makeshift wet weather gear!
I was really touched by their generosity and it is just another reason why I love festivals. It really does seem to bring the best out of people.
Bring on Festwich!