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Festival tribes: The people you won't be able to avoid at this summer's big events


The Trustafayrian

Favourite festival: Secret Garden Party

Must-see acts: It’s about so much more than the music

Essential accessory: Headdress

Lara isn’t sure exactly when festivals consumed her being. Oh no wait, she is: summer 2007, when she and best gal-pal Rosie went to their first Secret Garden Party dressed as steampunk Mad Hatters and ended up, two weeks later, nearly totalling a tractor at an impromptu psy-trance rave on someone’s parent’s Norfolk farm.

The whole thing was totally bloody life-changing. So when Lara finally got back to Shepherd’s Bush, she quit the secretarial job she got through Dad’s stockbroker contact and devoted herself entirely to tomfoolery.

Nowadays, she’s co-director of the Tipsy Hamster, which creates immersive tent experiences at jamborees up and down the country. Think dormouse taxidermy, corset cross-stitching and performance-poetry happenings organised by her boyfriend, haiku squadron leader Leo.

Mum and Dad don’t understand this is a not-really-for-profit thing and constantly nag her to get a career. It’s particularly annoying, given the hours she’s already spent on collapsible sculpture art for this year’s bi-annual visit to the Nevada desert for Burning Man.

The Green Man Goddess

Favourite festival: Green Man

Must-see acts: The Ox Bow Lake Initiative,  a brother-sister duo who update the sound of classic jug-band blues with serving spoons

Essential accessory: Multiple scarves

Keep it hush-hush, but Jane is going contraband this year. In light of controversial changes to the ale roster, she has decanted 15 litres of her favourite craft brew into plastic bottles, which she’ll smuggle into the main arena in the secret pockets of her customised, vintage tea dress.

Still, not even a Magners bar could dim the charity press officer’s enthusiasm for the Brecon Beacons bacchanal: three days of bucolic, nu-druidic serenity, full of arts, crafts, indier-than-thou music, mild drizzle, beards and very considerate people.

And, thanks to her freelance writing for the Folk the Pain Away blog, she gets in for free, too. Not that she’s a mere folkie: her tastes stretch as far and wide as the line-up.

Difficult time signatures, dance music you can’t dance to, any bands classified as “collectives”… you name it. She’ll try to hold herself together for Edwyn Collins, though she can’t guarantee that she won’t crumble like a badly made falafel at the first bars of “A Girl Like You”.

The Glastoic

Favourite festival: Glastonbury

Must-see acts: Anyone he saw in 1997

Essential accessory: Cagoule

There are few things that annoy Graham more than Glastonbury these days, filled as it is with sushi, glamping, silent discos, Example, BBC journalists in coloured Wayfarers, significant periods of dry weather and people who have come through the proper entrance.

 Though, in fact, one of the few things that annoys Graham more than Glastonbury is festivals that aren’t Glastonbury, hence why he’s making his 14th trip to Worthy Farm in 17 years despite nearly going Travis Bickle during the Kafka-esque nightmare of this year’s online ticket sale.

If he’s honest, he does wonder whether he’s part of the whole problem of the festival these days, what with his cocktail shaker, two kids, three varieties of Breton top and home-laminated personal schedule.

Who would suspect he once got unofficially married by a member of the Boo Radleys while tripping out at the Stone Circle? But then, by the same token, he just knows that come Saturday, 9pm, as Primal Scream command everyone to come together for “Come Together” on the Pyramid Stage, he’ll be bawling like Gazza and resolving to come back for one last year.

The Rioj’n’Roller

Favourite festival: Cornbury

Must-see acts: The one that his researcher told him was cool

Essential accessory: Daylesford Organic hamper

If you’d told Max 10 years ago that he’d be grooving away at a pop-music festival, he would have looked  at you as if you were Tony Benn. Yet here he is,  a government minister well into his forties, with sweat coursing down his crumpled polo shirt after getting down to George – James? – Arthur from The X Factor. 

He knows those who aren’t “engaged” with festival culture probably imagine they’re still playgrounds of hard drugs and hipness, but Cornbury really shows just how far things have moved on. One minute, you might be sharing some charcuterie with one of the Cotswold rock fraternity, the next sharing your passion for Van Morrison’s “Blood on the Tracks” with Jeremy C. 

And then there’s all the happy, ruddy-cheeked locals,  so ready to muck in with their produce and their entertainments. He would say this is Big Society  having a bloody good knees-up, though Pippa has rightly banned him from tweeting following his communion with the Pimm’s Bus.

The Lad Hander

Favourite festival: V

Must-see acts: The banging ones

Essential accessory: VIP lanyard

The day of wreck-oning is finally here: Jezza’s 24rd birthday mission to V. The chest has been waxed, the flip-flops polished, the deep V-neck thrice-ironed by Mum. Now all that’s left for the start-up property developer to do is wait for his 12 horsemen of the apoco-lash to arrive so they can cruise it down to Chelmsford with LMFAO on loop.

It’s a quality line-up this year – Calvin Harris is off the hinge and for legends, you can’t beat Stereophonics. Though to be honest, he’ll probably spend most of the weekend in the Virgin Trains VIP Lounge, which is totally worth the extra 100 quid (plus £5 booking fee) on the ticket price. After all, who wants to be dealing with grass and crowds, when there’s Astroturf, faux-Hawaiian cocktails and an endless succession of bands performing acoustic Rihanna covers?

Jez only hopes he sees a few more actual VIPs this time: last year he thought he was chirpsing a Saturday, when in fact she just went to school with Olly Murs’s sister – and that was after he’d spent half-an-hour waiting while she was getting a mascara mood assessment at the Mac style-blog pod.