The summer of 2003 was the one where I done a festival all by myself. Nobody was about or interested in going down to the very last Witnness festival. It moved from Fairyhouse racecourse to Punchestown racecourse in County Kildare.
So I didn’t wait about and bought tickets for the weekend. I definitely wasn’t going to go camping so I booked a hostel to stay in Dublin city centre. To get to the venue buses left Dublin to go to the venue so that was also sorted.
Only dilemma about going to a huge festival on your own was do I say hello to anybody? I didn’t see anybody that I knew from previous gigs at it and was a bit on the shy side so I kind of kept to myself moving from stage to stage to see all the bands I wanted to see.
Couple of positives about being on your own for the festival.
You got to see all the bands you wanted to see.
There was no waiting around at beer tents meaning lots of time to see bands.
No dilemmas about who to see if bands clash at same time you just make a decision and stick with it.
I travelled down on the Friday night and got to the hostel I was staying in. On Saturday I woke up and got ready to head for the bus to get to Kildare. It was a pretty straightforward service as there was loads of buses heading out to it.
Once I got to the site it was into the queue to get the weekend wristband and to get the all important timetable to plan who to see.
There were three stages of interest for me – the main stage, the upstage and the onstage. The onstage was a tent and the upstage was a second outdoor one. There was plenty of gaps between the stages so it was just a matter of walking from one to the other. There wasn’t much sound clashes.
By the time I got there the first band I saw was Downpatrick’s The Answer. They opened at the upstage. I also headed over to the main stage for a while and saw the Revs. The only other band I caught on the main stage were Supergrass. Coldplay were the headliners but I had no interest in seeing them.
So I headed over to the onstage and caught The Raveonettes instead of Coldplay. Earlier on the same stage I saw OK Go and Turn.
When it was all over Coldplay were still playing away on the main stage but I headed back to the bus to get on the road to Dublin and a good nights sleep. Something you don’t get when you are camping!
Sunday was actually the busier of the two days. I was up bright and early making my way to the bus stop and got there in time for the opening bands.
First band I saw was Snow Patrol. Pre Final Straw Snow Patrol. 2004 would be their year and they would go on to be future headliners. This was probably the last time I would get to see them play their older stuff.
The rest of the day was spent going back and forth around the three stages. I took a chance to see Kings of Leon on the onstage. They had just released their debut album and they had a raw edge about them which is something I think the band lacks now.
Other bands I got to see on the upstage were The Music and The Polyphonic Spree (band of the weekend!).
The main stage was pretty busy too and I took in sets from Jerry Fish and the Mudbug Club, The Walls ,The Cardigans, Super Furry Animals and The Frames. I don’t remember seeing The Flaming Lips. They probably clashed with The Polyphonic Spree.
David Gray was the headliner on the main stage but I definitely wasn’t interested in him. The Manic Street Preachers closed the upstage and I went over to see them instead.
Overall I think I survived being on my own for a festival. The following year 2004 the festival would share bands with T in the Park in Scotland.