On the 1st of this month, I got to spend the day in North London, soaking up the wisps of sunshine and watching a bunch of live indie bands. Finsbury Park’s first Community festival offered the energetic likes of Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Wombats, Slaves and others. Going with my friends, I came to discover that it was my friend’s first festival or concert of any type. So I thought, why not take advantage? Even though I am not the most experienced, I was interested to see what Community was like from the eyes of a first time festival-goer and how the whole experience went for him.
After a kind of haphazard conversation on Facebook messenger, I managed to get a decent interview out of my very lovely and good friend Harry.
What were your thoughts beforehand?
To be honest I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I’d never been to a concert before so I was just completely in the dark about what was gonna happen or where the toilets were gonna be or anything. I just felt a bit nervous ‘cos I didn’t know how everything was gonna run but overall it was just an incredible experience. The pre-nerves were definitely not needed though and knowing that I was with the people that I trusted and loved most that’s what helped me through.
Aw I’m glad you had fun. We were all kind of wary of the security before going in, what did you think of it?
I didn’t know what to expect from the security to be honest, I thought it was just gonna be you know, scan the tickets and just send this through. At first we had to get rid of our water bottles even though some people were allowed them. They didn’t really check on tickets too much which I was surprised about but we went through and we were all scanned and stuff. I was impressed with the organisation and how they were always standing by willing to protect people. I know I definitely felt safe and knew that I wasn’t gonna be in any harm or any danger.
Best moment at Community?
I would have to say the best moment for me was actually seeing the artists perform and seeing the stage setup and everything because I hadn’t seen anything like it before and it was so unique. I just felt like a little child in a candy shop. It was amazing seeing the artist being themselves, and enjoying the moment.
I think calling it Community was definitely the right decision because it brought everyone together. The people of London, especially young people, should be one big community where we all love and respect each other and the music had the power to reinforce that. It doesn’t matter who you are because you’re all there together for one reason. Festivals help to break down stereotypes; you could think that with people like me, because I’m gay, people think that I have to be stereotyped but I don’t, I’m just there to listen to music and have an incredible time. They did such a great job making a community such a beautiful thing.
Yeah I agree, would you say it even connected some people together politically?
Community brought people together in any way you could think of, politically as well. It depended on the act; when Slaves came out it was quite a controversial thing. They were bringing up politics and that “the tories were out” and bringing up to date issues that are going on in our country. It was more of a mockery, like a propaganda kind of thing but it was still incredible to see. It’s good to see how music expands on not just people but world issues, music doesn’t just define us but everything around us. The way Slaves addressed it definitely brought the crowd together.
It’s hard to really find a weird or cringey moments but if I had to pick I’d say probably seeing Slaves for the first time; I’d never seen an artist perform like that before. Everyone was warning me to prepare myself and didn’t really understand what everyone was meaning. Once they came out on stage and they did their little chanting monologues between their sets I started to understand why. All the stuff they were coming out with, I’d say it was a bit strange but still really cool (laughing) how they were all like “f*ck the hi hat”. In the end it turned out to be kind of iconic in a way, how that had stuck with me.
Advice for any people festivaling for the first time?
Make sure you’re prepared for every situation, when I was standing in the crowd I felt a bit faint at one point. I had to step out of the sun, it was really hard for me to get out of the crowd. Looking back, it was because I didn’t have enough water so I guess just always be prepared for any kind of situation cos it’s your health that matters most. I know that its an incredible time and atmosphere but you gotta make sure you’re prepared. Just make sure you know where you’re going, have friends with you and keep your belongings are safe. Lastly, and this one’s very important, always look out for any beers being thrown ‘cos i had about 2 beers thrown at me and it kinda hurt. It was a livable pain though.
Enjoy yourself because it gonna be a moment of your life that you’ll always remember.
As a friend you should always try to comfort and guide the less experienced person as well. So, what did you think of the performances?
Catfish stole the show but The Wombats and The Hunna were also vocally incredible, great to see live without relying on a backing track or anything. Their voices were so powerful, I just couldn’t get over how they’re actual people, they used their voices as power, it spoke to me personally.
Knowing that I got to see them live it was just it was just so magical and I know that sounds really cheesy. I’d been building myself up in anticipation and I actually saw them live it was like on this dream come true.
It’s always great to hear what someone else’s opinion, so I’m really thankful that Harry took his time out for this. I look forward to going to many more festivals with him. Community was definitely a great experience and I couldn’t have agreed more with what my friend said about it.
If you’re looking to go to any festivals in the future I’d recommend https://www.thefestivalcalendar.co.uk/?row=16
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