Obviously the copious amounts of alcohol, poor diet, loud music and lack of sleep and hygiene were no surprise but there were some other unexpected similarities which no one had mentioned.
Just after my parents said their tearful goodbyes and left me in my uni room, there was a knock on the flat door. Two other Freshers from across the hall stood there, smiling with vodka and cookies in hand, inviting me to their flat for ‘drinks and games’. Déjà vu suddenly hit me. This is exactly what happened on my first night at Download Festival just a few months before! The guys from the tent pitched right next to mine, invited me and my mates over for coffee and a dip in their paddling pool. See the similarity?
If you have ever been to a music festival you will know exactly what I mean when I say “BUTTSCRATCHER!!!” Originally a joke from an episode of Family Guy, it has turned into a much loved catchphrase and you cannot go anywhere on a festival campsite without hearing it, and its variations, e.g. “Margaret Thatcher!”, being bellowed from nearby campfires. Well during Freshers Week when I was venturing out of halls to go and get some supplies from Asda (vodka and frozen pizzas) a group of guys burst through the doors and screamed “BUTTSCRATCHER” in my face. I couldn’t help but smile and scream it right back, much to their delight.
During Freshers Week, I would awake at 2pm almost every day with only a hazy memory of the previous night and my arms, legs, back and cleavage covered in swear words and alarmingly detailed drawings of male genitalia. This is exactly the state I would find myself in every ‘morning after the night before’ at all of the festivals I attended this summer.
A form of the infamous campsite rivalry was also evident with the Student Union club hosting an event called Hall Wars, in which the different Halls of Residence wore different coloured t-shirts and competed in various games to be crowned champion. Just a more organised version of the entire parades of people chanting ‘Green Army’ through rival campsites.
By the end of the week, everyone in my halls was popping in and out of each other’s flats and many evenings I would emerge from my room only to discover another random stranger standing in my kitchen/living room. Memories of all the randomers who would stumble into my camp at festivals came flooding back.
And it wasn’t just the first weeks of uni that these similarities cropped up. Just the other day the guys in my flat began constructing an impressive tower of beer cans in our kitchen, much like the one my neighbours at Bloodstock festival built using a tent pole they supposedly had no need for.
So if I could give any advice to anyone who is planning to start university next year and wants to know what to expect it would be to go to a music festival. It is pretty much the same as Freshers Week except with worse toilets. We even have Freshers wristbands for God’s sake!