The 2005 Oxegen festival would be my last ever Irish festival. After this one I vowed never to return to it.
For me the whole festival was becoming more of an event to be at rather than enjoy the bands that were playing during the weekend. It was almost like Slane that everybody just wanted to be at just to say they were there.
Anyway, onto to the festival. I went down to it with a bunch of friends. A group of them came over from London and they decided to camp. Me and my friend Paddy decided to stay in a hostel in Dublin and got the shuttle bus up. Seemed to be the wise decision as the camp site just descended into madness. Tents were getting set on fire and people were pissing on tents which is not a nice experience. To make matters worst my friends from London were having a really bad time, one of them ending up with a black eye.
This is not what going to festivals is about. Sure you can have a drink and have a good time but getting completely hammered, wrecking tents and starting fights is definitely not a good why to enjoy a music festival.
So Oxegen was getting bigger. We had the main stage, the second stage (known as The Ticket stage), the dance tent and the new bands stage.
The festival took place over the weekend of 9 and 10 July and also coincided with T in the Park in Scotland so most of the bands would cross over between the two countries over the weekend.
Saturday was spent going between the mains stage and the second stage. We didn’t check out any bands on the new bands stage and the dance tent wasn’t visited at all.
On the main stage we got to see The Saw Doctors, Kaiser Chiefs, Razorlight, Queens of the Stone Age, The Frames and Green Day. While Green Day were the headliners, ABBA tribute group Bjorn Again actually closed the festival.
Green Day did the usual stuff like asking audience members if they could play guitar, etc and of course everybody puts their hand in the air and says yes. So we got three members of the audience plucked from the crowd to play drums, bass and guitar during Knowledge by Operation Ivy.
Inbetween sets on the main stage the only bands on the second stage that we got to see were Kerbdog and Nine Black Alps. The Prodigy headlined that stage but clashed with Green Day.
On Sunday the main draw for me was Foo Fighters and Audioslave. For a lot of people this was the closest they were going to get to see at least a third of Rage Against The Machine before the they reformed. Rage Against The Machine would come back to Ireland in 2008 and headlined the 2008 festival. Audioslave were great and surprisingly they did do some Rage numbers which I thought probably wasn’t right as Chris Cornell is no Zack de la Rocha and Killing In The Name didn’t quite suit his vocal range but having thousands singing back “f**k you I won’t do what you tell me!” is probably going to be he highlight of the weekend for a lot of people. They did a few Soundgarden songs as well.
Other bands we got to see on the main stage were The Beautiful South and Feeder. The only other band were saw was Jimmy Eat World on the second stage.
The Killers drew the biggest crowd of the weekend and they were not great. The sound was awful and you could hardly hear them at all. People near the sound stage were trying to get the attention of the sound engineers to turn the sound up to no avail. However behind us the crowds were loving every minute of it and thought it was great. Had me wondering if we were nearer the front and could hardly hear the band how come all those behind us though it was brilliant. Once The Killers finished the crowd disappeared and then it was time for the really awful Keane.
Instead of going to see Doves, we stayed at the main stage because Foo Fighters were on after Keane. Keane were truly dreadful but it was just a case of relaxing while they were on stage waiting for Dave Grohl and the boys.
Foo Fighters played a great set and are real entertainers on stage. They even had some audience members coming on to play with them as well before Dave Grohl told them “to get the f**k off my stage!”
Once the music was over it was time to go home. The whole place was like a giant landfill site with rubbish everywhere and people just leaving their tents behind, good ones as well as those that were destroyed. It was just like everything was disposable and it was very much a throw away weekend.
Between Witnness and Oxegen, I think Witnness was definitely the best of the festivals. Oxegen just got bigger and bigger and suffered as a result of its own green. The two day festival finally ended up a three day event.
Sadly Oxegen 2005 was my last Irish festival. Even my friends showed lack of interest for later events and even though lots of my favourite bands would go on to play them even I didn’t want to go down on my own closing the chapter on the festival experience.