Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

A damp squib

We've been to a few music festivals here in Spain - pop festivals, mainly indie bands - generally pretty close to home. I did investigate going to one near Burgos and another near Bilbao this summer but, even months ago, all the hotels were gone and we're far too old for that sleeping under canvas nonsense. A second factor in deciding against was that, when I did the sums and compared it to my monthly income, I decided that the best thing to do with the coming summer is to sit in the garden, perspire gently, listen to the cigarras sing and read books borrowed from the library.

Last century I worked for a youth club charity. We decided to hold a major fundraising event and we even hired an event organiser. She was well out of her depth and the event was destined to be a squalid failure. But the morning of the event dawned stormy and thundery; rain was falling in torrents. The event went ahead because everything was ready and there was no alternative. The dismal event and the financial losses were all put down to the weather.

In the book that we Britons call Don Quixote, often quoted as the masterpiece of Spanish literature, a work of two volumes with 1250 pages there is not a mention of rain. In Spain, if it rains, events are often scrubbed. Usually they are re-arranged but sometimes that's just the end of them. There's always next year.

I like festivals. I like the short sets and the multi stage thing. If one band isn't too good there is another to listen to and if they are no good either then there are vegetable noodles and falafels to buy. The truth is that I'm a bit old for festivals though. If I have to stand up for too long my back aches and my legs really begin to hurt. Maggie has a similar, but much more painful, problem with her hip. My contact lenses are another problem. They're fine till around 11 or maybe till midnight but, after fourteen or so hours in my eyes my blinking becomes non stop. There's another thing about later evening. The bar is now more battle ground like than earlier, the toilets are repulsive and the number of stoned (does one still say stoned for drugged up?) and drunk young people makes for more collisions and spilled drinks which have a negative effect on my good humour.

But I also have a theory. The headline bands at the festivals are probably doing alright. They probably spend their time travelling around the country in a Transit (does one still say a Transit as the generic for a mid sized van?) but they've given up the day job and they have a couple of albums behind them. They are, in a word, successful. And whatever happens tonight isn't going to change that. Their current reputation is made and their future will depend, not on tonight, but on their new songs and future albums.

The same isn't true of the bands at the beginning of the running order. If they do well tonight people might go out and buy their music (does one still buy music or does one simply steal it?) The opinion formers, looking for something to pad out their blogs, video channels and Instagram accounts, might say something nice about them. You can see, too, that the bands themselves get a buzz out of being on a big stage with a lot of kit. They put a lot of effort into doing as well as they can and they often look to be having a hoot of a time. Besides which the toilets are still smelling sweet, the bar is easy access and nobody is crashing into me because their motor control functions have been compromised.

We were going to a small festival in Elche this evening. The bigger bands, like Love of Lesbian and Sidonie, we've seen several times before, others, like Elefantes and Casa Azul, we've seen too but not so many times. Some of the bands on the running order like Kuve, Polos Opuestos, Atientas and Women Beat were all new to me. I was looking forward to it. Then, yesterday, via Facebook, not via the ticket agency that took my money, I find out that the event has been postponed and split in two with one day on the 20 April and another on May 12. We could have booked up lots of other things for this weekend but we didn't because of Elche Live. And why is the event cancelled? Because there is a high probability that it will rain this afternoon. Pathetic.

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