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Page last updated at 11:22 GMT, Friday, 27 August 2010 12:22 UK
Reading Festival



Fiona Madden
BBC Blast Reporter

Fiona Madden
Fiona Madden went to 50 festivals after Reading

As music-lovers flock to Reading Festival over the next few days I am reminded of my own festival experience at the same site exactly ten years ago.

I was 15-years-old and had never been to a festival before.

After a discussion amongst our parents it was decided that I was allowed to get our first taste of festivals at Reading "as long as we were careful."

Ten years on, I have been to about 50 festivals and I am building myself a career as a music journalist.

Nervous excitement

Looking back on it I don't remember any feelings of fear, anxiety or doubt as I marched from Reading station to the site with hundreds of other punters - I just had a real sense of nervous excitement.

I do remember feeling completely overwhelmed by the vast mixture of people, from Britpop kids with their Liam Gallagher swagger and zip-up parkas to Slipknot fans with orange boiler suits and multi-coloured punk hairstyles.

The whole camping experience was a first and I settled into it with surprising ease; the prospect of a muddy weekend with no shower just added to the whole feel of things.

Reading Festival goers
For many teenagers, Reading is their first festival

Admittedly the outside of my tent resembled something of a dumping ground by the end of the event as we had not thought to bring bin bags.

We also made a rookie mistake- we camped on a slope next to a hedge, meaning that when young gentlemen relieved themselves in the bushes, which they frequently did, it ran down to the bottom of our tent. I can safely say that it was a mistake that I learnt from!

I remember when bubblegum pop duo Daphne and Celeste took to the main stage and were bottled and taken off, as well as seeing Oasis live for the first time, sitting on the shoulders of a stranger.

Slipknot fans

I also remember spending a lot of time in the Bacardi Tent dancing to live salsa music and bongo drum beats with Bacardi bottles flying across the bar like a scene from 80s film, Cocktail.

The last night of the festival saw over zealous Slipknot fans tipping over most of the loos and setting them alight, which is a tradition that seems to have carried on with the last day of the festival usually seeing some revellers going a little wild.

This is the only thing I would be genuinely wary off if I were to send young loved ones to the festival but it is also something that festival organiser, Melvin Benn, is aware of and is trying to stop.

Flooded festival
Young campers at Reading Festival often have to get used to mud.

Melvin said "People need to be aware of the consequences of arrests being made and they [the police] will be vigorous about our desire to catch people causing trouble and seek prosecutions against them because this is affecting a lot of people.

"I can take all reasonable steps to ensure it is safe but I can't guarantee absolute safety; no one can guarantee absolute safety."

I personally have very fond and innocent memories of Reading Festival 2000 - I discovered an experience that I found absolutely life-changing.

My first time at Reading Festival was an exciting part of my life and one I will never forget.




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