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Ending up off-site with rock festival romances

By Alison Taylor

You know how festivals tend to be either really, really good, or really, really bad? It's the same with festival romance – there's no middle ground when wristbands are involved.

Take a few years ago, at the Glastonbury Festival. I woke up, sweating like no woman should, next to a man I'd been sort-of seeing in his crappy tent. We were feeling the effects of way too much fun and not enough sleep and the tension (not good tension) was as stifling as the heat.

Forced to ask him what was wrong, I enquired, why the weirdness? He replied: "I just had a funny turn, because I thought I heard my ex's voice".

What? Literally haunted by an ex? I'd heard it all now.

"Are you still troubled by her then?" I asked him, somewhat weakly, as we stumbled down the grass banking, my flaccid sleeping bag trailing sadly behind me.

"Aren't we all?" he replied, gazing off into the middle distance. Not to the point of hearing voices, actually. No.

I didn't hear from him for the rest of weekend but – and here's the festival lesson – I saw him every single day, making the most of the deluxe showers in the posh teepee field where I was camped.

Like an idiot, I'd procured him a hallowed gold wristband the night before, when we still liked each other.

"Isn't that XXXX?" my friends would ask, pointing out the shifty-yet-really-clean bloke exiting the A-list cubicles. Talk about an endless hangover.

But let's not dwell on the negatives, because festivals can also be wonderful places for romance.

It's the escapism, the adventure, the mind-altering hedonism. You do things you would never normally do in real life, like getting off with a feather boa-wearing violinist, or holding hands with a Hollywood star (really should've made more of that one).

Probably the most deviant thing I've ever done in the name of romance at a festival, though, was last year, again at Glastonbury: I went off-site with the guy I met. Off-site. It was a risk.

What if he was an idiot once the hangover had set in? What if I couldn't get back in?

As it turned out, he was wonderful and I'll never forget having a cuddle the next day on the clean sheets in his hotel room watching All Star Mr and Mrs featuring Eddie 'The Eagle' and his missus (I kid you not), wondering what time to schlep back on site for The Rolling Stones.

Now, if that's not love, I don't know what is.

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