Determined to not repeat the same mistake I did last year by leaving you hanging with no end to what happened at the Popaganda Festival. I'm now finally composing the continuing story of the festival almost three weeks later, I really don't have any sense of planing sorry guys.
I think I left you hanging at the day of the start of the festival (26/8). After waking up in my dream bed overlooking the suburbs hearing Arcade Fire sound checking the suburbs. I left the hotel and headed to the festival area, some of us had been up and running since the crack of dawn so I could hardly complain about my lack of sleep. However the mood was at its best and the weather was great (something which is always appreciated by festival organizers) nothing could go wrong or so we thought….it's a festival something is bound to go wrong. Nothing serious of course but a whole lot of stuff that could have been prevented with a bit more communication. These things are usually the most memorable moments and the one's you laugh about in the end.
Upon opening the festival the level of stress was running high and one tiny itsy bitsy thing could set anyone off. Even thinking about food wasn't an option, sounds horrible right? But in festival times there's to much to think about especially this year when we had the most demanding band we've ever had and started or project of think more environmental. Being the head of box office with one other colleague and taking care of a little group of volunteers always stirs up the maternal instincts and makes me always prioritize my volunteers needs first. It's amazing how fast you build up a attachment to people, they were all my little babies I had to take care of first before I could have some peace and quiet. So finally when everything was calm (around 5 p.m.) I called down to Arina (who also hadn't eaten all day) on the radio to finally take a break and have some dinner.
But just five minutes after speaking with her a band turns up in front of me, it's Austra. Their lost and have no idea of where they're supposed to be. Trying hard to hide my excitement I tell them that they're supposed to be at a club venue where they're playing. Totally misinformed about that and not been able of reach any of their contacts they wandered down the giant hill from the hotel with their instruments down to box office just to be told this. I called for Arina who later calls Caroline (our transport coordinator) and unfortunately gets the answer that there are no cars available to get them to the venue. Left with two choices, taking public transport or walking we had to go with walking because none of us had any money on us. So off we went with one instrument in each hand.
///Austra - The Beast\\\
It's a funny story to retell and we had a good chat with them while walking but maaan it was hot and the instrument were quite heavy. When we'd walked all the way down Götgatan and finally reached Debaser, the apologies couldn't be anymore than they already were but the band was still happy and had enjoyed the stroll because they got to see a bit of Stockholm. All is well that ends well as we say (minus the fact that we didn't get to eat…).
Later that evening the second memorable moment of the day took place. When we had finally closed box office and there was nothing more to do than to set my little children a.k.a. volunteers free and make myself useful somewhere else. I walked down to the little stage after getting a hipster-alert message on the walkie from Arina to have a look. When I reached backstage everyone was slightly hysterical, apparently Arcade Fire was on their way to this side of the festival area to have a shower using the bath house (I have know idea if that is what it's called in english, but it'll have to work) facilities that we were connected to. The problem with this was that all the other bands that were hanging out at this backstage area were using the toilets connected to the showers and dressing rooms in the bath house. So all of a sudden my job became to guard the toilets and make sure that nobody used them. That became a harder task then I had thought it would be because I wasn't allowed to give them the really reason to why they were dined access to the toilets. Telling drunk people they can't pee when the need is huge and they obviously know that the toilets are working is hard. I've never felt so horrible and ridiculous in all my life.
Somehow the bands were really understanding despite having to almost piss themselves. It was definitely fun trying to shake one of the band members of Is Tropical. He wouldn't leave until he got a reason to why he couldn't pee so I came up with a bunch of stuff but he wouldn't believe me so finally I had to go with the extreme "somebody died in there" which really got him going and shouting. Pleased with myself for getting him off my case I realised that spreading the rumor of somebody dying at our festival wasn't the best idea so I had to take it back. Which however made him stay and demand another reason until another band member told him pee somewhere else and I added to it with "I give you permission to pee anywhere else of your choice". Which I think ended with him taking a piss at a very inappropriate place. Ahhh Lovely rowdy englishmen those boys, a typical band with the girls, the….., the drunkenness and the fun. There is an even funnier story to tell after we realised we lived two doors from each other at the hotel but maybe I'll just keep that to myself.
Going back to the whole guarding a toilet situation…in the end (after an hour of guarding the toilets) we got a call on our walkies that Arcade Fires had decided to eat some pizza first and the most ironic thing was that just in that moment the last band left the backstage area. So basically everyone could have used the toilet that hour and I had just done one of the most ridiculous things in my life… guard a fucking toilet. Eventually they had their shower and they were the most lovely people ever when they came out and had a chat. It was hard to think they'd ever make such phony requests but probably that happens when you reach that level of success and half of the stuff you do is planned by someone else. It's also kind of weird to be able to say that I haven't really seen Arcade Fire live (because I only heard them from a distance behind a wall live) but I've stood there having a friendly chat with Win Butler & Co when they were standing there newly showered, water dripping, half naked and kind of freezing. This is why I love working festivals you miss out on a bunch of gigs but you get to be apart of making everything happen and all these weird shit.