Nervous plus questions about going to a festival
April 9, 2015 10:24 AM   Subscribe

We have priority tickets to go to the BST (British Summer Time) festival in Hyde Park this June. I really just wanted to see Paul Weller, but can't figure out what time he'll be on (any way to find out?). Also I'm nervous about standing around for hours, about the crowds, etc. Yes, it's a very minor problem in the scheme of things, but I could use some advice on it please.

After buying the tickets, I realised that last year at the BST there were problems with crowd control and there were injuries because of it. Also, I'm not great at standing up for hours and I have a bladder problem that means I need the toilet pretty frequently. We bought the tickets kind of on a whim without thinking it through, and now need to decide whether to go or try to sell them.

We have priority entry tickets so can get in an hour ahead of everyone else. What should we be doing in this time? I guess we could stake out a place close to the stage but then what about crowd surges? How do we find out about timings of different acts? How late should I expect it to run?

Yes I realise this is supposed to be fun and clearly I am "past it" if I'm worried like this. How do I deal? Or should I not even try? I do think it would be pretty fun to see Paul Weller and some of the other bands, but my fears are preventing me from looking forward to it.
posted by hazyjane to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total)
That's going to be a great show, you should go and have fun.

The crowd usually reflects the music, and if I recall, last year was Black Sabbath. Which lends itself to aggressive activity. The younger bands with younger crowds may well see more jostling and that. I expect The Who will draw and older crowd – and while it may be crowded, I doubt you'll see much aggression there. Maybe a lot of nostalgia packed into one place, but not aggression.

With regard to the logistics, Priority Entry will sort you out. As long as there's two or more of you. Head in. Find a spot slightly off to one side if centre stage and about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way back. Go hit the loos before the public are let in. Come back. You'll be able to sit until it fills up. Chances are a lot of other people will be sitting too. The crowd will pass you and cram into the first third and then naturally diffuse a bit from there.

Watch as much of the show as you want, and then bounce. There's no rule that says you have to say any longer than you want to. Some of the best shows I've seen in Hyde Park have been those where I've stayed for an hour or two. Leaving ahead of the crowd. Before the finales and all that.
posted by nickrussell at 10:35 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I've been to a fair few "festivals" in Hyde Park now. And also seen Paul Weller several times, although not at Hyde Park. As festivals go, they are usually very well run and controlled. They have a series of nights with different kinds of acts that attract very different audiences. I wasn't there, but I suspect the trouble was because of the fans of the bands that were playing, rather than the event itself. Paul Weller fans, in my experience, are mostly older and well behaved. I imagine it'll be similar for The Who fans, they all have kids and bad backs now ;-) It's probably a bit of mosh pit immediately at the front, but further back from the stage you'll be fine.

I can't guarantee what the toilets are going to be like this year. But in previous years its been relatively well maintained porta loos and I think some of those large trailers with loos. They weren't pristine, but as festival loos go, they were very useable. There were queues for the ladies later in the night. I think you probably have two choices, go, and accept that you will have to use not 100% lovely loos later in the night, or only turn up when Paul Weller's on.

Closer to the time , they may put a running order up on their web page, or you could try ringing them. I expect The Who will probably start about 8:30/8:45 so Paul will probably be about 5:30/6pm, but thats a rough guess. I think there is a hard curfew in Hyde Park of 11pm, so they tend to finish well before that.

Plenty of people only go to see the bands they like and leave before the headliners. If you're not fused about seeing The Who, that works out better for you, as you can leave before the loos get not as pleasant. Bear in mind that because it's a Friday night, you get a post work influx, so your quiet spot at 4pm might be crowded by 6.

My favourite spot in Hyde park is about third of the way back, on the right facing the stage, at a point where two paths cross. It's slightly higher ground, which helps me see as I'm a short arse, and it's far enough back that you can sit down and have a picnic through most of the acts. Most of the people at that point from the stage don't start standing up until the last act is on (bad backs!). It's also not too far from some of the loos, which are down the either side of the stage (assuming they have similar layouts to previous years). If you want to do the whole event, I would take a picnic, stake out a spot around about there, with a good view of one of the big screens, and chill out listening too good music :-) it's an awesome line up.
posted by Helga-woo at 11:06 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

I've been to a few of these as well. They're generally pretty safe and well organised. There's plenty of room nearer the middle/back - the only problem you might face is people talking through Weller's set. Another option might be to go up the side - you might be able to get quite close to the front without being crowded (though I'd guess a lot of people will want to see Weller, so maybe not).

You definitely don't have to stand, most of the crowd will be sitting for most of the show except nearer the front. [Just don't sit down near the front and stay sitting down when everyone else around you is standing - seen that, it's not good]

You should be all right with toilets as long as you budget some time for queuing, and time it (e.g. don't go just after a band finishes, because everyone else will be too - maybe go at the start of the last song and listen to it while you're queuing).

The set times will definitely be announced on the website, but maybe not until a few weeks before the show. Helga-woo is right about the curfew; depending on how long the Who play, Weller would finish by about 8, maybe 830, so I'd say he'd start between 6 and 7.
posted by Pink Frost at 5:57 PM on April 9, 2015

Oh sorry, I got my maths a bit wrong for the timings. They way it usually works is the headliners get about 2 hours and a bit, and the support acts around 45 minutes to an hour. And then there'll be about 30-45 minutes set up between bands. The BST gigs are very well run and those acts are pretty professional so they'll likely stick to the running order unless there's a cock up somewhere (and they'll have all learnt from that time with Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney a few years ago).

So assume they're aiming for a 10:30-10:45 finish, you can get a rough idea of timings working back from that. Pink Frost has it right, Paul Weller will probably stay between 6 and 7.
posted by Helga-woo at 5:37 AM on April 10, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks so much for all this great advice - from a toilet strategy to a place to sit/stand for short-arses to the hope of getting a running order before the show. I'm feeling much better about this and really looking forward to it now that I know I can handle it. Amazing, thanks again.
posted by hazyjane at 8:01 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

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