Yesterday I drove to Reading pick up my 17-year-old daughter who had spent five days and four nights in a tent at the festival along with a crowd of friends, her first ever big rock experience. In some ways she’s a chip off the old block but you know what – the departing Reading audience in their teeming hordes, magnificent in their unwashed disarray, their hair uncombed, their clothes filthy, all carrying their belongings like refugees from a war zone, looked exactly the same to my eyes as the tribes who descended on Bath and the IOW and Plumpton and the rest in my festival days. Almost 40 years have passed and the music has certainly changed, but those who love it now look absolutely identical to those who loved it then.
Olivia and her three friends couldn’t stay awake in the car on the drive home but before they all nodded off there was a fierce discussion on the relative merits of the sets performed by Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, Prodigy, Jamie T and more. I wished I could have joined in and, indeed, tried to at one point but Olivia gave me the sort of look that communicated, “Shut up dad, just drive.” So I did.