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22 Brutally Honest Confessions From A Music Festival Worker

Please stop throwing cups of piss at our head.

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1. The best-paid festival job is also the very worst job.

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Yes, we do actually clean the portaloos during the festival – if we didn't they'd be even worse. And the stewards who do it essentially get danger money due to the fact it's one of the worst, grimmest jobs in the world.

2. Working the pit barriers can be unpleasant too.

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If there's a surge forward, people can be crushed against the barriers, so we have to act fast to haul them up and over if they're looking faint or in danger. At rowdy gigs it's quite a stressful job and you have to be really alert. You certainly don't get to enjoy the music, despite being right next to the band.

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3. No, we can't get you backstage.

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We barely get to see any bands, especially if we're managing the queues. We're also not exactly important in the grand scheme of things. "Can you get me backstage?" Mate, we can't even get ourselves backstage.

4. We can't do anything about the price of booze either.

Twitter: @BillyMayhem1

Yes, we're perfectly aware £5 a pint is a bit much, but it's not our fault. Do you think the people cleaning portaloos in yellow vests get to make pricing decisions? If you've got a complaint, launch it at the organisers, not us.

6. We get piss thrown at us all the time.

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Especially if we're standing on the barriers looking for trouble, bad behaviour, or flares. You're basically a giant target for plastic cups full of warm wee.

7. But the piss washes off, unlike the verbal abuse.

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You do get used to being shouted at by drunk punters, but even so it can start to grate a little after a while, especially as we're only trying to stop festivalgoers injuring themselves or getting too fucked up. People often get personal, hurtful, and aggressive. Just wind your neck in, guys, we're here to help you.

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8. The police have our back, though.

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They're usually only a quick walkie-talkie call away, and they'll arrest people and put them in a handy temporary cell in the back of their police van if they're being really violent or disruptive. So be warned, and play nice.

9. You might be shocked to hear this, but we do actually have eyes.

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Yes, we know there's a massive queue at the portaloos, but squatting or peeing on a fence or in the mud is not the answer. Plus it's gross.

10. And having to break up shagging couples is deeply embarrassing for everyone concerned.

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Please do us a favour and just go back to your tent if you want to get jiggy with it. Again, we have eyes, and so do the other 10,000-plus people at the festival. And no one wants to see two wasted people getting it on by a portaloo.

11. People will try literally anything to sneak booze (and other contraband) into the site.

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You name it; we've seen it. Tying a vodka bottle into your hair? Old news. Bag of wine strapped to your stomach? Yawn. Pouring it into an old sunscreen bottle? Hmmm. We'll stop talking now because we're basically just giving you tips.

12. Which in turn means we spend 75% of our time dealing with some seriously wasted people.

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Not just wasted on drink, either. We try hard to stop drugs getting into music festivals, but despite our bag searches and (sometimes) sniffer dogs, people manage to get them in. Which means we sometimes spend whole afternoons trying to talk wild-eyed, paranoid guys down from trees.

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13. And you need to be honest with us about what you've taken.

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If you have done something unwise, or if you don't feel well, please come to first aid. We're not out to get you in trouble – we'll just try to stabilise you.

14. Also, a lot of people don't realise that the majority of first aiders are actually volunteers.

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So please try extra hard to be nice to us. We're giving up our weekend to fix your broken noses, treat your sunburn, and bandage the cuts and bruises on your legs that you got because you decided to form a human pyramid in front of Avicii.

15. You really, really shouldn't roll in the mud.

Really, trust us. Don't. We've seen how many people pee in it.

16. Our campsite often isn't any better, quieter, or cleaner than yours. In fact, sometimes it's even worse.

Twitter: @paulmcgurran

Theoretically, we should get better conditions as it's our place of work, but more often than not the staff campsite is an afterthought situated somewhere weird, like next to a bunch of chicken coops or right beside a noisy stage.

17. And we tend to do quite a bit of tent-hopping late at night.

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A lot of us are young, cute, and single, and a bit of tent action is a good way to let off steam after a long day pulling drunk teenagers out of mud pits. After all, what happens in Leeds stays in Leeds. Or Reading. Or Donington Park. Or Strathallan.

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18. In the run-up to the festival, we pray for slightly cloudy days.

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A mix of weather is good. Too hot and we have to deal with a lot of heatstroke and sunburn, too wet and you get the people who dressed for summer coming in with hypothermia. Cloudy days are dull, but easy to deal with.

19. It's also deeply disappointing when people don't look after their friends.

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This isn't a hard-and-fast rule, but guys tend to be a bit worse at looking after their drunk mates than girls are. Girls will usually seek out a steward or first aider, while guys will often ignore the problem, not notice that their friend has disappeared, or play pranks on them when they're unconscious, which isn't cool.

20. In fact, working at a big British festival does (slightly) destroy your faith in humanity.

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You find yourself wondering aloud why so many people have to behave so badly towards to one another. Don't tip over portaloos while people are inside. Don't set fire to tents: It's horrible and dangerous. In short: Don't be a dick.

21. But you do meet some nice, and very funny, people too.

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For every troublemaker, there's a nice kid who's genuinely just there to have a good time, and they're loving it. Plus their enthusiasm is infectious. They're the people who make it all worthwhile, and regularly make our day.

22. And we forge friendships that last a lifetime.

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We live together for long weekends in the middle of what often feels like a muddy war zone, which means we forge pretty strong bonds. We have a laugh; there's loads of camaraderie. Despite all the mud, injuries, and wasted teenagers, we have a great time. But seriously though, enough with the cups of piss.

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