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Metalcamp 2011: An unmissable tale of wristbands, bin bags and supermarket shopping

The first thing I want to do on Metalcamp Day 2 is go back to the beach bar for a refreshing dip in the river, but there’s a couple of other things need doing first. We didn’t bother getting wristbands yesterday, and didn’t need them as access to the marketplace and beach bar areas wasn’t restricted. But as of today, it is. So the first thing we do is join the long queue for wristbands. Oh, and bin bags. You can’t get your wristband before you get your bin bags.

Bin bags? Why bin bags? Because the organisers of Metalcamp have a responsibility to keep the site as clean and tidy as possible, and one of the ways they encourage Metalcampers not to trash the place is by insisting that everyone pays a 10 Euro deposit for two bin bags – one for recycling, one for rubbish – before they get their wristband. In theory you then have to present your two full bin bags along with your deposit token when you leave in order to get your 10 Euros back, but it’s not enforced all that strictly. The point really is to reinforce the message that Metalcamp can only happen if everyone takes care of the site.

The message certainly works on me. I find myself reluctant even to throw cigarette butts on the floor, never mind drinks cans in the river or kebab wrappers in the bushes. And it seems to work on most other Metalcampers too. The site is far from spotless, this is a festival after all, but it’s certainly the cleanest festival site I’ve ever seen. People come here as much for the environment as for the bands, so everyone’s pretty mindful of not fucking it up. Ash seems a little doubtful about my ‘cleanest festival I’ve ever seen’ assertion, but that’s because he has never been to any other festival. He gets a bit freaked out when someone leaves some noodles in the washroom sink. That, my friend, is nothing.

Anyway, we’ve been standing in the queue for five minutes or so, and it’s already stretching some way out behind us. Croatian guy appears and asks if we can exchange his and his friends’ tickets for them. My immediate response is that we can’t, but I’m not awake enough to think of the obvious reason why off the top of my head. Fortunately, Ash is a little more awake and points out that they need to queue in person to get their wristbands. Croatian Guy kinda facepalms at himself and heads for the back of the queue.

After a wait of, I’m not sure, half an hour or so, we acquire our wristbands and bin bags, and decide to head into Tolmin to pick up some supplies. On the way we stop for a breakfast of ham, eggs, bread and coffee at the cafe tent in the campsite. You don’t get much for your 4 Euros and what you do get is a bit minging, so we don’t go back there again.

There are two supermarkets near the Metalcamp site. Euro Spin and Mercator. Mercator has by the far the coolest name – it could be a villain in a sci-fi comicbook adventure, don’t you think? – but Euro Spin is cheaper and a bit closer, so we go there. We get bread, cheese, salami, beer, water and, having traversed some precarious, unlit woodland paths the night before, Ash gets himself a torch. He didn’t bring a torch; you can tell he’s a noob, can’t you?

By the time we’ve carried all that back to camp we’re very hot and sweaty, so I insist that it’s bath time and we head for the beach bar. At this point I’m looking forward to seeing Ash’s face at the moment he realises just how cold the river is. But that particular Metalcamp rite of passage is going to have to wait ‘til my next blog entry.

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