I am just back from the Reading Festival. What an amazing weekend of music and fun. On top of this the weather was incredible!
When I was drinking the thought of attending a music festival without copious amounts of alcohol involved would have seemed ridiculous and pointless. I held the firm belief that it simply wasn’t possible to have fun unless alcohol was there with me.
I remember attending the Reading festival several times in the past with the insides of a wine box hidden in my trousers. This was over two-litres of wine I sneaked in and I would always manage to drink it all before starting on pints of over-priced beer at the bar.
I also remember sinking an entire wine-box during U2s headline set at Glastonbury, it is all just a blurry memory. No surprise there!
Now I don’t drink I just love the feeling of being totally free. There is no stressing about sneaking in drink, getting to the bar or where the next drink will be coming from. It just doesn’t matter and I simply don’t care.
At this stage in my life alcohol is un-important, insignificant and meaningless to me. So I had no worries or concerns when it came to my first music festival since I quit, I knew I was going to have so much fun.
What I really enjoyed was people watching. There were so many incredible outfits and whacky people to look at, I just sat for ages checking them all out. I have to say that a few of the drunk people did raise a smile, but I also felt concerned for some of them who were clearly well and truly wasted before the evenings events had got underway.
The highlight of the Reading Festival for me was seeing the Foo Fighters. They are one of my favourite bands and I had seen them at the exact same festival seven years earlier, I can’t remember much about that as I was so drunk.
It was going to be so good to see them and to be able to have memories I can keep hold of forever. I think this is one of the best things about any event or special occasion when you don’t drink. The memories stay with you and remain clear.
The Foo Fighters didn’t disappoint and I was dancing, singing and jumping about like an idiot throughout the entire set. Now, I always thought it was the alcohol that made me do that, but clearly not.
The Foo Fighters closed the festival on the Sunday night with a huge firework show and after they had finished there were some revellers who looked like they were in a pretty awful state. Rather than get caught up in the crowds, I sat and enjoyed a bit more people watching and it was quite shocking to see the mess that some people had got themselves in from drink (and probably drugs in some cases).
Another massive bonus was that I didn’t need a visit to the toilet once during the entire three-hour set. When I was drinking it would result in me needing to pee every 15-20 minutes. This meant I got myself a spot near the front and managed to keep it for the whole set. I remember at so many gigs in the past I spent at least half the show fighting the urge to pee and wondering when the band would play a song I didn’t like or didn’t know so I could have a chance to relieve myself!
The best way of describing my first trip to a festival sober was a feeling of being totally present, engaged and fully aware. I can still remember the songs, the colours, the lights and even the smells and I am sure those memories will take a long time to fade. Unlike the foggy memories that I used to have that were formed inside a haze of booze.