The press tent is a tipi, which somehow irresistibly reminds me of "I Am the Walrus": Sitting in an English garden/Waiting for the sun.... It's pretty much that, verbatim as I watch the quintessentially dulcet British showers rage on outside of my warm tipi, nuzzling a beer and pouring over my program guide, surrounded by hip cameramen and cool PR girls with short hair and wondering what could possibly be next...

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When I think of the word 'festival', I think of girls in those obnoxious flower crowns I've wanted since I was perhaps about six throwing up peace signs and adjusting the dozen or so rings on their fingers to no end; I think of camping and tents, campfire meals and pot noodles, great big billowing clouds of smoke being emitted from crowds, enthusiastic DJs luridly baiting their audiences on with jumping and frantic hand gestures. But the thing most necessary to this iconic image was the idea of sun—sweet sweet beautiful shining sunlight—and it was this simple fact which may have perhaps mollified me somewhat upon entering the festival after being promised the "hottest day on record":

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It's around 2:30 P.M. as we enter the campsite, both of us absolutely soaked to the bone. Wearing nothing but a hoodie and a summer dress, I tried quietly to hide my rage as I approached the stage by the entrance, my ear screwing up in an attempt to make sense of the noise.

A quick turn to Arthur:

"Is that...is that Disclosure on right now?? Is it?"

His eyes, too terrified to meet mine, remained fixated at a spot on the ground.

"I...I think so."

And so, standing there in the rain soaked into my skin, I watched the last half hour of Disclosure's set in perfect bewilderment, kicking up my heels sporadically in a sad, waning attempt to dance while wondering why on earth no set times had been released prior to the day of the show.

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This was my major fault with the festival—it'd made promises which it did not (or could not?) seem to keep. Compounded with the weather fiasco and the lack of more Disclosure in my life (the headliners/legends/lovers I had come especially to see), the festival was off to a rocky start until we managed to find the press tent, where a hint of warm air and a plentiful supply of beer awaited.

Reinvigorated with liquid courage, it was tent hunting time.

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I had my doubts about making Essex friends (what is it with all the self-tanner, exactly? can someone make it stop?), but, in my honorary Hunter S. Thompson condition, they seemed like a nice enough bunch. Nicole and I hold hands as we wander around while Daniel grates his teeth together, Arthur skipping along in tow. It's a pleasant if not somewhat unusual scene, with the wet having abated somewhat by this point, leaving my charming British friend the other Arthur leading us merrily along down the road, the program guide our map.

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And I'm complicated, you won't get me out of trouble
And I'm complicated, you won't get me out of trouble
And I'm complicated, you won't get me out of trouble
And I'm complicated, you won't get me out of trouble...


It drones on and on.

Hands, lights blur by and I feel the bass so hard it's almost as though it's manually pumping my heart along with it.

And I'm complicated, you won't get me out of trouble...

And our heart beats move—

The whole crowd is lucid, lurid, swaying shaking shouting pumping, electric and glowing, faces skimming past like mad. MK rules the stage with the stoic intensity of a hypnotist: with his manipulation of the music and beats so keen he appears to be a puppeteer, watching the crowd dance merrily along their dainty strings with wooden smiles. It's a performance I try fervently to remember, starting off longingly and solemn and transitioning quickly: a Disclosure "White Noise" remix followed by the Storm Queen "Look Right Through" remix.

I'm glutting myself on the MK set—I know this much. We rush past the other tents furiously, rabbits hopping from one hole to another, enjoying the lazy smoke curling around the stage, the glistening hands and dopey smiles, until one more performance manages to captivate my attention:

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Knife Party.

Sinister images rapid flash before my eyes: a beetle crawling into an ant hole, a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, the pupil of an eye dilating, too many strange and unusual things that I somehow managed to unsee as quickly as they came into focus. This was the signature of Knife Party—the cloaked, mysterious images that hovered on the screen—just as the wicked lights came into focus; just as they managed to break and fragment, washing away over the audience; a tumultuous sense of excitement, of purpose diffusing through the crowd. We were all drunk on the performance, the anticipation, the building up of the frenzy only to have the beat sink down again, clear, crisp musical relief:

You blocked me on Facebook
And now you're going to die...


Red light one, red light two, holy hell it's happening and—

The song drops and the stage belches forth a cloud of smoke, pillars of fire licking the faces of the audience members as every light and lightheaded dancer scrambles wildly, beginning a massive frenzy with hands and beats raining down like wildfire in rapid succession, one after the other after...

It's a load of good fun and all I can say is I'm sure glad I got to see it—wet shoes and summer dress and all.