Alice-Azania Jarvis: 'It was a weekend I wanted to last for ever'

In The Red
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The Independent Online

Oh, why did it have to end? Reading Festival I mean. I was having so much fun; I could have lived like that for ever. And I didn't even spend that much. In fact, I spent half what I had intended – less than half, if you're counting coins. Food, really, was key. In a record-breaking feat of organisation, I managed to pack everything I needed. Cheese and cracker sandwiches anyone? Yum. A mountain of cereal bars to soak up the whisky? Double yum.

I even had enough to share with random under-fed friends. Somehow, when it's cold and damp at Reading Festival, the question "Would you like a Babybel?" doesn't sound quite as odd as it might elsewhere. Best of all, it didn't feel like I was scrimping. I still bought the odd drink when my own stocks weren't available. And I even treated myself to a flash (£6) halloumi salad from the posh barbecue stall.

It was grey, it was Sunday and I'd spent the previous nights in a tent. I deserved it. But not once did I feel I was being ripped off – because I knew that I wasn't buying out of necessity, or under duress. I knew that, should the mood (or need) take me, my Tupperware of chocolate bars was not far away. Naturally, food wasn't the only thing on my mind. There were the bands. Rarely have I felt a line-up to be such good value for money. I saw The Libertines – something that, for a fan like myself, money just can't buy. I also saw Arcade Fire, Dizzee Rascal, The Drums, The Cribs. All, individually, acts I would pay to see.

Then there was the fun. I had several friends also attending and a chance to get together, whether in a bar in London or a field in Reading, is always something to look forward to. And it is, ultimately, always something that costs money, be that for the Tube plus drinks or for a festival ticket.

Finally, there was the question of corporate-isation. Too often, I hear complaints that festivals have become about sponsorship, about money. While I wasn't logo-spotting, I certainly didn't feel bombarded with profit motives. Not once did I have to buy a brand because it was the only one on offer. In fact, at one stage I was quite baffled by the whiskies available. In sum: Reading 2010 was a spending success. It was one of the most enjoyable weekends of the summer – and, while not cheap – it was great value.

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