Tent – check. Sleeping bag – check. Wellies – check. Fancy dress outfit – check. Yes, it can only mean one thing. Like thousands of people her age, my daughter’s off to a music festival and is busy packing a rucksack the size of a house. At this time of year you can spot young festival-goers at railway stations up and down the country, waiting for trains to muddy fields in the middle of nowhere.
My daughter’s going to Shambala and I'll spend the next five days worrying about her. At one festival she went to, scores of tents were set on fire and the riot police were called in, while at another her tent was flooded. Mind you, she has seen some amazing acts over the years – like Prodigy, Crystal Castles, Patrick Wolf and Florence and the Machine singing upside down on a trapeze.
It’s ironic that just as they all set off, a new survey has been published claiming that more than a third of teenagers don’t actually like camping. Why? Because they can’t recharge their phones and iPods.
Actually, I’ve never been enamoured of camping either. Not because I worry about my phone running out of battery, but because living in a tent for a week is cold, wet, miserable and uncomfortable. Oscar Wilde was right when he said: “If nature had been comfortable, mankind would never have invented architecture.”
I love the idea of cooking on a campfire and going to sleep under the stars but my one and only camping holiday wasn’t like that at all. Along with about 30 other Girl Guides, I was dropped off by coach at the side of a road in deepest Sussex. We then trudged a mile across the fields to find – well, nothing. Before we could even think about campfires and singing jolly songs like Quartermaster’s Store, we had to work out how to pitch our tents and worse still, dig trenches for the “latrines.” It took hours and hours, and yes, it was enough to put me off camping for life. Glamping maybe, but camping – never again.