Blood, Sweat and Tears - The Rock Werchter Report - Part 2

Apologies for the delay in getting this post out into blog land, I’m sure you've been struggling to eke out an existence in this crazy, cruel world since i placed part 1 up on the internet all those days ago and since left you hanging in suspense, so without further ado…

Having played the old "I-can't-help-anymore-I'm injured" card, my mate Isabelle and I headed off to the first aid tent, which just so happened to be inside the festival site, ensuring that we got to see the first act of the weekend, The Bravery, perform as well.

Showing a rare glimpse of sensibility and demonstrating a far too often missing responsibility I immediately took myself off to the first aid tent upon arrival at the festival site, where I was led to something that looked like the set of M*A*S*H – a huge canvas tent with lots of people milling about inside.

I filled in my details in an admission form and noticed that I was number 37, 36 people managing to injure themselves even earlier in the weekend than I had; which, rather bizarrely, I found quite reassuring.

I showed my hand to a nurse and watched as the colour drained from her face as she unwrapped what was left of my bloodied bandage.

“I’ll get a doctor to look at that for you” she said before hurrying off into the canvas labyrinth in search for someone that would help me.

I took the opportunity to look at my hand and was quite horrified to see that some of the stitches had popped out leaving a flap of skin dangling exposing a hole in the palm of my hand about the size of a 2 euro cent coin.

I was not impressed and although I am not of the medical profession, it seemed that the doctor shared my opinion.

“This is not the sort of environment to be walking around with an open wound. You run the risk of getting infection and your situation will get worse. I can patch this up, but you should really get this seen to by your surgeon as soon as possible.”

I listened in dismay and watched as he did his best to patch me up. Suitably repaired and with a nice fresh bandage I returned the festival, rejoining Isabelle to take our seats in the grass soaking up the evening rays supplied by the sun which had decided to make a grand reappearance just before The Bravery began their act.

But before doing so, there was one more important stop to make.

At the beer tent, I tried to get an inflatable Stella Artois tray that was capable of carrying 9 drinks but was dismayed to discover that you had to buy 10 drinks to get the tray for free.

There was only one thing for it.

“Can I have 7 beers and three waters please?”
“You want them all now?” said the barman looking at me like I had two heads.
“How else do you think I’m going to carry them?” I replied waving my bandaged hand.

The barman went to get a tray and set it down in front of me.

“Do you not think I’ve got enough to carry?” came out of me before I could stop it, quoting an old Smithwicks beer advert from Northern Ireland.

It has to be said that I laughed at my wit a lot more than the barman did….

Watching The Bravery, and singing along to classics such as “Honest Mistake” and “Fearless” we awaited on the arrival of the rest of the gang.

And we waited.

Faced with the predicament of a tray full of drinks going cold we did the only thing we could and consumed the lot, and indeed it was just as we were going to the bar for more during the set of New Order (yes – they’re still going) that the rest showed up.

It was time for the party to really start.

And boy did we party.

Unfortunately, I embraced the whole festival thing with just a little more gusto than was required and very quickly found myself stumbling amongst thousands of Belgians lost and trying to find the rest. The fact that we had set up base camp just to the left of a tall tower of speakers not helping me much in my quest to find a friendly face.

Next up on stage was the American rapper and self styled pimp (aren’t they all?) Snoop Dogg but to be honest, recollection gets a little hazy at this point, with “The Dogg’s” performance barely making an impact on my festival experience.

And anyway, I was there (at least for that night anyway) to see “The Chemical Brothers”, a band that I’ve had a soft spot for ever since my step father renamed my two brothers and I with the same moniker for reasons that should be quite obvious to regular readers.

Unfortunately my recollection of this act is not much better although I do remember dancing in the torrential rain (which had decided to return) waving my hands in the air only to get slapped in the face by my bandage which had decided to come apart again.

Cue another trip to M*A*S*H at the end of the night where I was rebandaged and this time supplied with a snazzy rubber glove to help keep the bandage dry.

All this I know now but you can imagine my surprise when I woke up the next morning completely oblivious to this knowledge in a tent with my mate “PopTart” and wearing a rubber glove.

I feared the worst.

Thankfully PopTart set my mind at ease as he recalled the evening’s events to me, including a visit to one of the many beer tents on the way from the festival site to the campsite.

Somehow, however, I had managed to lose PopTart on the way to the tent and had to be talked by phone by another friend, Abbie, back out of the wrong campsite and into the correct one.

Believe me, for Abbie to be soberer than me is quite an achievement but thanks to her help I eventually managed to get back to the tent for a few short hours sleep before embarking on day two of the festival, a day which would include such acts as Within Temptation, The Kills, Garbage, Greenday and Faithless.

Shame I didn’t get to see them all as I was ‘otherwise engaged’ sampling the delights of the back of an ambulance and two hours in nearby Leuven hospital…