Wow, it seems I’m behind on posting entries as this one is about the Oxegen festival which took place on the 9th and 10th. 😳 I had a reason for delaying it though, I wanted to include some of the photos I got. They were taken on a disposable camera though so the quality isn’t great.
So….on to the main thrust of the post, Oxegen 2005. For those not in the know, Oxegen is one of the biggest music festivals in the country with an estimated 60,000 people attending it over the two days. I had been before, when it was called Witnness, in 2003 and saw Coldplay, Damien Rice and a host of other acts. However, I always felt that I was missing out by not camping so, this year myself and Dave decided to go the whole hog. Little did I know just how much I was missing out on.
Dave and myself travelled into the city around lunch with our 2 man tent, bags full of clothes etc. We needed to pick up stuff like torches etc and wanted to get a big feed before getting the bus down. We were also to pick up beer, which added to the weight of the bags and almost broke our shoulders. 🙁 We got the bus down at about 5 and low and behold I met a guy I know from doing Gamecon. I had actually seen him earlier in the day and we joked that we would see each other down there. It’d be a long journey down with rush hour traffic but the bus was great banter with everyone in a good mood and singing songs.
We arrived in Punchestown, which is about 20 miles from Dublin, at 8.30pm and the group from the bus hoped to camp near each other but inevitably got lost going through security. Myself and Dave eventually got through and found a place in campsite B5. About an hour after that I saw a couple of the girls from the bus camp near us as well as Jay, the guy I knew on the bus, and his mates. We set up the tent and were then joined by a friend of Dave’s named Martin who he knew from work. We had a hell of a job setting up his tent and the thing was in rag order by the time we finished. 😆
At this stage the mood was great and the campsite was filling up. I started naming people camped near us by county, so a big shout out to Kerry. Well, specifically Paddy from Kerry but we called him Kerry all weekend. He had a strange fascination with putting up tents though. 😆 After that we had a party until the wee hours with people getting used to the group and all of that. We met Holly and Nic who were over from Glasgow, Curley and Smithey from the North somewhere, Anto and Shane from Dublin and Jay’s mates, Lougho, Murray, Ste and JR. After numerous “arguments” about Silver vs. Gold Miller we got to bed at about 5am with the bands starting at 1 the next day.
We woke up at about 11 with rainwater slowly dripping through the tent. The weather forecast predicted scorching weather but it was nowhere to be seen and I honestly thought it was going to be like that for the weekend. The morning greeted us with another tent of punters, this time from Donegal. After a quick freshen up we hung around the campsite for a while and then made our way into the venue. You aren’t allowed to bring capped bottles into the venue and there’s no alcohol allowed in either but you can smuggle it generally. 😉
The reason you would want to smuggle drink in is simple, prices are extortionate inside the venue. For example, it’s €5 for a pint of Heineken and that’s all they sell. No other beers, just Heineken. Fair enough, the event is sponsored by them but it felt like the definition of captive market. Food was even worse and I dread to think how badly we were being ripped off. Anyhow here’s the band reviews from Saturday:
Angels of Mons: These guys were the first band we saw. I knew nothing about them and it was mainly to kill time, they weren’t bad but they weren’t fantastic either.
Kaiser Chiefs: Dave had been raving about these guys but I hadn’t heard much about them at all. Turns out they put in one of the best performances of the festival. 😀 High energy tunes got the crowd moving and the day rolling.
Razorlight: I was really looking forward to these guys as their debut album, Up All Night, has been on my MP3 player for months. They really put everything into their live shows and they continued the great buzz that the Kaiser Chief’s had got going. Top stuff. 🙂
Snoop Dogg: Snoop turned out to be the real suprise package of the weekend. We were starting to walk away when he came on stage but he really turned the crowd up to 11 somehow. The funniest had to be when he got the crowd singing “Ole, Ole, Ole” and “When I say Punches, ya’ll say town”. 😆 Legendary stuff.
Queens of the Stone Age: Wasn’t overly impressed by them. I only knew one song anyway.
After that we headed up to see Athlete as were looking for Mr Hugh Shine, one of our mates.
Athlete: I’ve heard a few of Athlete’s songs before but wouldn’t have been an out and out fan as such. They put on a good show with the crowd singing along to a few of the tunes.
After we came out of the tent we eventually found Hugh who was with his mate Noeleen, who we hadn’t seen in years. Dave and Martin wanted to head on to Kasabian but myself, Hugh and Noeleen went on down to the main stage for Green Day.
Green Day: Now, it has to be said, I’m not a huge fan of Green Day. I know a lot of their material but they wouldn’t be top of my listening list. However, they put on a fantastic show. They were really into crowd participation and got an girl up on bass and a bloke up to do the drums on one of the songs. 😀 They finished off with “Time of Your Life” which is my favourite song of theirs.
After Green Day finished we went up to catch the end of Ian Brown. His song F.E.A.R. is about the only one I know so I can’t really critique his performance. He was giving it loads though but we were a bit knackered so headed off back to the campsite. While walking back we came across an abandoned inflattable sofa so we started throwing it around while listening to Bjorn Again who were just finishing on the main stage. 😆 Great craic.
Then it was time to head back to campsite B. Hugh and Noeleen had camping tickets but decided to book into a hotel in Naas, about 30 mins walk from Punchestown. When we got back the party was in full swing and the lads had the stereo out and the guitar (minus one string). The rest of the night we chatted away and drank cans. Highlights o’ the night:
- The human pyramid with four lads on the bottom and myself and two other lads standing on their shoulders. Needless to say it was about 5 seconds before we came crashing to the ground.
- Martin tapping away on two tent poles while facing away from everyone else. Myself and Holly almost pissed ourselves laughing at him. The words, “out of it”, don’t even cover where Martin was. 😆
- Myself taping away on Bambing the tambourine for song after song.
- Watching the sun rise over the campsite and finally deciding to go to bed.
We woke up in what felt like an oven! The weather had really perked up and the campsite was baked in sunshine. Myself and Dave got up and resolved to tidy the tent (nicknamed Spartacus for some reason) but farted about for a couple of hours. Eventually headed off to see the bands around 2.
Feeder: I had an ongoing conversation with Holly about Feeder, who I think are excellent and she thinks are rubbish. 🙂 Needless to say they played some quality tunes including Buck Rogers, Just A Day and Just The Way I’m Feeling. Really got the crowd going too.
After watching Feeder we decided to head back to the campsite as we had lost Martin and thought his homing instinct would take him to the tents. When we got back a load of the lads were hanging around so we just chilled for a while. Hugh had said he would replace the couple of cans he borrowed the night before but the legend gave us more than he took plus they were cold. That’s particularly important when it’s hitting 27 degrees out. 😀
Around 5 we headed back in to see the rest of the acts that would be on that evening. They were:
The Streets: I expected Mike Skinner to go down quite well with the festival crowd but the opposite was true. 😕 I don’t think that particular type of music is suited to the big stage but the crowd were singing along anyway. Only problem was that he kept calling all the people in the pit, “The VIPs”, which everyone was slightly puzzled with. I loved the music though and would go see him in a smaller venue.
The Killers: The “big” act of the weekend weren’t headlining but with the amount of buzz surrounding “Hot Fuss” they were always going to be a big draw. Starting off with “Mr Brightside” got the crowd bouncing and with “Somebody Told Me” and “Indie Rock and Roll” following, I was in complete bliss. 😀 They weren’t that great on chatting to the crowd but apart from that they were great.
Keane: Keane were a nice break from the faster stuff and the setting was perfect with the sun low in the sky and bathing everyone in gold. A few of the guys headed off to see “The Magic Numbers” but myself, Dave, Ste and Murray hung around to listen to them bang out the singles. Keane are particularly popular in Ireland and Tom got the crowd singing for some of the choruses. All in all a great performance in the perfect setting.
James Brown: After watching Keane we headed up to the Green Room to catch some of James Brown. The Foo Fighters were headlining the Main Stage, which we had just come from, so our plan was to see some of JB and then head down to catch the end of the Foos. JB didn’t disappoint banging out some top tunes and really filling the tent with soulful ryhthem. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay for the whole of his performance.
Foo Fighters: We caught the last half hour of the Foos who were banging out the tunes to a massive crowd. Most of the stuff was new but some of the stuff was a bit older like “Monkey Wrench”. I can’t claim to be a massive Foos fan but Dave Grohl switched with drummer for one song and he had the “Pac-Man twins” to entertain us as well. Was a bit drunk at this stage so the memory of their performance is a little blurry.
After they finished we headed back to the campsite via a different route for the craic. I had been trying to contact Paddy all day but I actually bumped into him while walking towards campsite A. He was with a few friends so we could only chat for a second. Apparently he had a good day at least. 🙂 By the time we got around to campsite B some people were leaving to get the bus back to Dublin. I was so glad to be staying the Sunday mainly because I was so tired and couldn’t face lugging the tent and bags to the buses.
Martin turned up 10 hours after he went missing and said “Where the hell were ye?”. Very funny moment for all of us and I don’t think he even knows where he was. The rest of Sunday night/Monday morning was spent drinking and singing until we watched the sun come up. Dave, Murray and JR had a crazy mess fight and were throwing each other around the place. Luckily no tents got destroyted. 😆 I eventually got to bed about 5am.
At 8.30am I was woken but a loudspeaker. Needless to say that’s not a nice way to wake up after three and a half hours sleep. Security were sweeping the campsite getting everyone to pack up and go for the buses. The lads from Kerry were already gone but we packed up the gear in about half an hour. Somehow the toiletries bag had got left outside the tent and someone had stolen the contents. One of the cameras I had used on Saturday was in it unfortunately. 🙁
Getting the bus back was an absolute joke. 🙁 I won’t really go into it but the guys who were with us know how much of a nightmare it was. The journey was a slow one but Lougho kicked it off with a rendition of “We’re All Fucking Wrecked” which, I have no doubt, will become a festival anthem in years to come. 😆 He had the whole bus singing it and even went downstairs at one stage to get them going. Other hits banged out were “Can I get a burger like the one in the picture?” and “The Chinese Take-Away Song” plus when Lougho says “Ham”, you say “Slllllllaaaaawwww”. 😀
When we eventually arrived in the city, 5 hours after starting our journey, we went for a Burger King before resolving to meet up that night in town. Before we got our buses home we belted out “We’re All Fucking Wrecked” on one of the countries busiest roads with some onlookers shocked but most of them just bemused and laughing.
That night, after no sleep, we went out to Temple Bar for the night. Holly and Nic were going home the next day so it was kind of a final get together for the gang. I stayed in Bloom’s Hotel that night and went to work the next day. I really should have rang in but alas, I was too stupid to. 🙄
Tuesday: On Tuesday, Holly, Nic and Jay came into my work for lunch as there’s a big canteen and the prices are cheap. The girls were flying out that night so I gave them the tour and Holly took lots of photos which she’s promised to send to me.
All in all, Oxegen 2005 was one of, if not the best, weekends I’ve ever had. Everything just clicked into place from minute one and I’ve made some new mates as a result. Oxegen 2006 can only hope to be as good.
Tony’s Festival Top 5:
- Snoop Dogg
- Kaiser Chiefs
- Foo Fighters
- The Killers
Cast: Tony, Dave, Jay, Martin, Holly, Nic, Lougho, Murray, Ste, Curley, Smithey, Kerry, Donegal, Anto, Shane, John (aka JR), Bambing (the one and only penguin tambourine)