I once was lost at Electric Picnic but now I am found

Your phone, your money, your mind – don’t lose the run of yourself at EP

Thu, Aug 29, 2013, 17:07

Your phone, your inhibitions, your keys, your dignity, your credit card, your patience, your favourite jacket, your mind. You might well lose one or more of these at this weekend’s Electric Picnic, depending on circumstances. You can take all the precautions in the world and get all OCD about your possessions, but different rules apply in the parallel universe of the outdoor music festival.

It’s a constant source of amazement what festival goers bring with them – and later lose. In the lost property tent at Glastonbury one year I saw a piano, a scuba diving wetsuit (best not to ask), a barrister’s wig, an ironing board, a huge, multi-tiered wedding cake and an artificial ear.

It may not get quite as intriguing as that at EP but the golden rule for attending any outdoor music festival remains the same: lay out all the things you absolutely, definitely must have with you – and then half it. Then half it again.

Losing your phone with all your precious photos, all your money/ credit cards, your car/home keys etc at a festival puts a bit of a dampner on your expensive and long-anticipated weekend, but the EP people run a very tight lost property office and calmly deal with all sorts of frazzled enquiries. You’ll find
them in the Jimi Hendrix campsite, and once the festival is over and there’s still no sign of your precious belongings, you can try the ultra-
patient gardaí at Stradbally Station (057-8625222) from next Tuesday morning.

Perhaps more surprising than the people who bring who bring a scuba diving wetsuit, a huge wedding cake or a barrister’s wig to a music festival is the thoughtfulness and generosity of people who come across someone’s valuable possessions stuck deep into the mud and go to extraordinary lengths to get it returned to them.

Yes, theft is rife at music festivals, but for every cruel and cowardly act the anecdotal evidence is there of people having their wallets (with all their cash still in it) safely returned to them. At the really big UK and US music festivals (100,000 plus revellers) the lost-property job is sourced out to specialist companies – the staff of which exist in a permanent state of bewilderment as to what people bring and later lose at festivals.

At Electric Picnic, as at Glastonbury, Coachella and every other festival, there will be somebody arriving at lost property in a state of tearful distress because they’ve lost some precious, irreplaceable item.

Wedding rings, glass eyes, urgent medication which must be taken daily, passports, a few thousand euro in cash – there is nothing the lost property people haven’t seen before. They have to deal – on an hourly basis – with the clueless, the out of it, the terminally stupid, the aggressive drunks, the lunatics and people wondering if anybody has seen their wedding cake.

For whatever reason – no time, perhaps, or no knowledge of where lost property is located – many kind souls take home found possessions and then use social-media outlets to try and find the rightful owners.

You see the best and the worst of people at music festivals. That crappy jacket or cheap and nasty mobile phone you find in a field somewhere may not mean that much to you – but they will do to their owners. Make the effort.
bboyd@irishtimes.com

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