As festival season officially arrives, so too do the festival-goers. Presumably, these are normal people most of the time, but the sound of far-off speakers seemingly triggers in them a metamorphosis, and so they transform moth-like into one of the tribes below. You can’t avoid them completely but with our spotter’s guide you should at least see them coming.
The Physique Squadron
Beware this 14-strong group of permatanned provincial gym-rats, all sporting identikit quiffs, plus full sleeve and neck tattoos. Before they even hit the festival site, they’ll be stripped to the waist to reveal the ultra-defined, plasticated physiques honed over the previous 50 weeks of not drinking, living in the gym and subsisting entirely on broccoli, chicken breasts and 50ml of clenbuterol injected straight into their right bum cheek every morning. High likelihood of at least three of them having a full-on, roid-induced nervo during Disclosure’s headline set after looking directly into a strobe light for 45 minutes.
You know this guy: 22 from the neck down, but 58 from the neck up, the hard-living Monster’s head looks like a pickled onion someone’s retrieved from a week under the fridge. Never has a ticket or wristband, is a weird mixture of incredibly skinny but also incredibly muscly and goes from albino-pail to chronically-sunburned in three minutes. Doesn’t appear to be into any of the music on offer, but it’s a moot point as he’ll spend the entire festival walking around really quickly, with a happy hardcore mix playing out of his massive Android phone on a continuous loop.
Hip Hop Toffs
Sprawling crew of chinless Notting Hill types, talking at air-raid siren volume like affiliate members of Kurupt FM, despite having attended Bedales and technically being landed gentry. Expect plenty of snapbacks and mock-chav haircuts topped off with imitation gang signs thrown up in every one of the 900 Instagram Stories they post during the weekend. There’ll also be the spurious claims to a misspent youth in pirate radio that even Paul Nuttall would balk at, and a palpable air of terror if any actual non-white people walk within 20 metres of them.
The First Timer
Planned for every possible eventuality, bulk buying five different online retailers’ Festival Edit and is now carrying more gear than Shackleton took to circumnavigate Antarctica. Will passive aggressively nag their friends into carrying their surplus baggage, insist on using up the most tent space and then refuse to share any of their industrial-sized supplies of food, phone chargers or wet wipes. Their tent will be mysteriously burgled after less than 24 hours on site.
Distant cousins of The Physique Squad, but with 20 per cent more body fat due to marking every social occasion by drinking like a recently docked submarine crew. Randomly bellowing ‘Oi oi!’ whenever there’s a lull in the conversation, still clinging onto the feathery mod haircut and doing that Liam Gallagher walk that even Liam Gallagher has dialled down a few notches nowadays. Will have to leave the festival site early after one of them gets so over-excited during Kasabian’s set that he shoots a firework into his own face.
The human face of the drugs trade and the embodiment of the grim truth that whatever abstract arguments you can make in defence of ‘personal freedom’, at some point it basically means forking over money to a bloke who looks less likely to pass through ‘the doors of perception’ than ‘the unlocked window of your gran’s flat at 3am.’ That said, you can’t even get a phone signal, while he’s taking payment for laughing gas balloons via a wireless card reader, so who’s really got the last laugh, eh?
The Instagram Darlings
A shape-shifting group of minor celebrities who wouldn’t exist were it not for the Mail’s Sidebar of Shame. Usually descended from someone marginally less useless, and now hanging out with someone you think might be Nick Grimshaw. All in matching posh wellingtons that they got for free via their agent on the condition that they Instagrammed them every 20 minutes. At least once a day you’ll see one of them pretending to DJ (ie jumping up and down and whooping incoherently over a pre-mixed set). On the Sunday, you’ll overhear two of them discussing how awful it is to be stared at by plebs (they will be respectively dressed as a giant bear and a Native American during this conversation).