Kate Stone

Kate Stone

Ladettes and yummy mummies take on Latitude

Something always seems to afflict my legs at festivals. At Glastonbury ‘07, it was welly burns, ravaged to such an extent it would have had even the Kray twins wincing. Honestly, cheshire cat grins left an indelible imprint all the way round my legs, just below my knees. This was mostly due to my stupidity though. Ignorantly, I danced for about 20 hours straight without those protective woolly socks underneath. Idiot. Of course there would be consequences.

This year though it was an unidentifiable insect that laid its fangs into me. We’re thinking after closer inspection of the British Natural ‘pain in the ass’ Wildlife encyclopaedia (or wikipedia) that it was a blandford fly or horsefly as these buggers actually pierce the skin. And hang out in East Anglia.

Wow, am boring myself now. I wish I had something more interesting to say, like it was one of the members of Vampire Weekend for example, who left such a work of carnage.. have really got to work on that wangling one’s self backstage thing, (or talking utter bullshite)  as Sam said… “own it Charlotte, own it!!” So true. So true.

Annabel Giles headlines the Funny Women heat

But for now, would just like to give my personal thanks to Lynne for a fab weekend (and all that murderous driving!) and to Annabel Giles, for trudging what felt like five miles to the first aid tent with me, while I limped a bit pathetically and winged I couldn’t see a thing without my contact lenses in. Ah festivals, always bring out those Girl Guide orientation skills.. we smelt our way! Or something..

Now I’m going to hand over to the Funny Women Warrior for her thoughts on Cath Kidston kudos. Still not sure how I feel about being referred to as a ‘yummy mummy’, considering I’m still in my ’20s (just!!) and have no nippers, but hey. And Lynne, that tent ain’t ever coming down..

Memoir of a middle aged festival virgin

Despite being married to a musician whose first experience of a festival was Woodstock in 1969, (yes, really and his name isn’t Wally), my only previous festival experience has been backstage in the hallowed confines of the VIP area. The loos had pictures on the walls, automatic air freshener and nice smelling soap and there was no pervading whiff of body odour because the acts and their entourages were accommodated in a fleet of Winnebagos or the hotel up the road!  This was 1987 and I was running the press office at the Reading Rock Festival.

23 years later and I’m persuaded to embrace the festival life and CAMP!  No such back stage luxuries for us this time around – in fact not for anybody because Latitude is one of those festivals where everybody appears to camp – even the ‘somebodies’ are glamping it up in the performers camp, although a few of them have been allocated cosy little pods that resemble flotation tanks to sleep in.  Even the one act who admitted to me that she was residing at Libby Purves’s house for the duration was seen queuing for the overflowing and unpleasantly smelly chemical loos!

It’s de rigueur to be seen in a tent, a festival rite of passage and this is clearly the place to lose your festival virginity relatively painlessly.  According to my festival savvy 17 year old daughter, Grace, Latitude is Heaven compared to the Hades of today’s Reading Festival!

So with trepidation aside I put my trust in the hands of experienced festival goers and seasoned ‘glampers’ and packed with Grace’s help.  Wet wipes, toilet paper and tissues were her recommended essentials – along with an array of first aid items like headache pills, insect repellent, insect bite cream, plasters and even more tissues.  Everything got used.

Worst bits – giant and weeping mozzie/horse fly bites, black snot, constipation, the runs, needing the loo in the middle of the night, dirty feet, chipped nail varnish, broken finger nails, BO, furry teeth.

Best bits – the Suzy Bennett patented wet wipe wash (unless you were prepared to queue an hour for a shower and then that was the best bit), peeing in the bushes, not having to take off your makeup, or put any on at all, and dancing all night.

Semi-finalist 2008: Helen Arney mixes the ukelele and comedy

Another great bonus was hearing that the ‘boy band’ camping next door to us had dubbed us the ‘yummy mummies’.  Only two of us are actually mummies, and probably past our yumminess, but flattering all the same.  The rest are not yet mummies…. it’s amazing how a bit of Cath Kidston defines you!

My thanks to the gang for looking after me – Cara Cummings, Samantha Lyster, Charlotte Browne, Annabel Giles, Helen O’Brien, Genevieve Swallow, Grace Lightman and Abi Battersby.  I just hope that I can get my ‘pop up’ tent to pop down again in time for next year!

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