One evening at a party, I got a call from Sarah, asking if I’d come to Oxegen the next day. “I have an extra press pass,” she screamed. “You have to come!”
I never considered myself a festival goer, often preferring to sit at home in comfort with a glass of wine and CD. In my living room there is no moshing or boisterous behaviour. Sarah advised I wouldn’t have to rough it; the press pass guaranteed access to a clean bathroom and luxurious bar. After initial hesitance, I agreed to go. My imagination, and verbal accounts from friends, created an Oxegen full of hundreds of people sloshing about in mud. I remembered the location of my Wellington boots.
On arrival the thud of heavy tempo, somewhere in the distance, registered in my ears. Surprisingly, the day was dry, even sunny at times. My pale skin took a scorching. Unexpectedly, there was no muck; dry, bark chippings littered the ground. My heart raced as we passed the burly security men at the Press Entrance with eight cans of Budweiser in tow.
Sarah instantly recognised people in the Press Area. She schmoozed while her boyfriend Ross and I made chat.
A random girl, packing away a microphone, piped up. “Who are you excited about?” she asked me from behind a large, untrendy pair of glasses.
I was caught off guard. “Eh, Kate Nash. I like Kate Nash.” I hoped this would satisfy her.
“MGMT are on in ten minutes. We are going there now. Do you want to come?”
“Who are MGMT?” I asked.
“Eh, only one of the hottest groups playing today”. She turned and was gone.
Sarah continued chatting as the numbers in the Press Area, affected by the allure of MGMT, dwindled. Sarah’s boyfriend Ross nudged me now and again to point out an occasional celebrity here and there. I recognised few. I really was a fish out of water.
Moments later, Sarah announced we were to leave. We left the small enclosure of the Press Area and made our way across a type of allotment towards more oversized security guards.
“Hang on a moment,” instructed Ross. “There’s Bresy!”
I turned to Sarah. “Who is Bresy?” She didn’t hear me.
“Hi Bresy!” called Ross enthusiastically to a tall man about ten or fifteen feet away.
“Hey,” answered Bresy in a friendly tone. Bresy moved towards us.
Sarah and I stood next to Ross. She beamed at Bresy. I assumed he was a friend. I stood there awaiting an introduction. I passed the time by analysing Bresy. He had nice hair, beautiful eyes, good height and a muscular frame. I realised Bresy was in fact very attractive. I drank in the sight of him.
“I heard the new album,” said Ross. “It sounds pretty good. Are you happy with the result?”
“Yeah, we are,” Bresy answered. “It’s about as good as anyone from Mullingar could come up with.”
Why is Ross asking about an album? Who is this guy? I asked myself. I cleared my throat. “I’m from Athlone,” I announced, staring into Bresy’s beautiful eyes.
He looked surprised. “Are you? Oh right.”
Bresy and Ross chatted for a few more minutes. Bresy said goodbye and strolled in the direction of a heavily attended Performer’s Area.
“Who was that?” I asked, a little peeved I received no introduction.
“That’s Niall Breslin,” answered Ross, as we shuffled towards the main concert area.
“Who is he?”
“He’s the lead singer of the Blizzards.”
“The Blizzards? Oh I know them. Oh right. So I randomly informed the lead singer of the Blizzards I am from Athlone?”
“Yep, you did.”
“Fuck, he’s hot though, isn’t he?”
Ross said nothing. Sarah laughed and put her arm around my waist.