Mud, mirth and beyond

first_imgEver wondered what goes on in those bits of the festival that are rarely shown on TV? Months ago you were up at three in the morning to buy your one festival ticket. You bought all you needed for a weekend camping (one tent, two wellies, and a lot of baby wipes); you set up tent well away from the portaloo and made your way down to the main stage. So there you are with a crowd of expectant faces when Lucie Silvas appears. Disaster! You throw your hands up in frustration, scream with consternation and turn away in disgust. But wait. What do you see but a whole world of other stalls and stands? You’ve found the festival beyond the music.Of course not everyone must go through this strange but comforting ritual to discover the background delights of festivals. Most see them as they walk in, or read about it in the programme, or wake up with a hangover and only one sock in the middle of a circus. But sooner or later everyone comes to explore the other side.And it’s not just a set of empty diversions for those who got corporate tickets, or lost. The other attractions are what give a festival its colour and complexion. After all, they all have big bands, stages, fences, crowds and even bigger security guards. They all make lots of money, though they do give it to different people (Oxfam, Greenpeace and Richard Branson invariably). It’s what they have going on around all this that makes each festival individual and unique.The hippy granddaddy of the festival is, of course, Glastonbury. Originating, no doubt, in ancient times, Glastonbury has long been a centre of the slightly weird to the downright barmy. And the festival, while centering around the music, has a truly awesome amount of space devoted to every form of performing art imaginable, and a few beyond that.There are traditional and folk music acts, circuses, mimes, jugglers, stilt walkers, burger salesmen, hippy priests, and old women who will sell you homemade cookies at competitive prices. In the vast fields devoted to the great, the random, and the odd, you can discover unique politics, philosophies and religions. You can bask in the ludicrous, the self indulgent and the crazy. You can marvel at the talents, abilities and skills on display. You can wonder at why a man taught himself to juggle twelve balls at a time in a perspex box. Truly it is a celebration of the limits of mind, body and soul.As the first of the many fresh-faced festivals, the V Festival is the trendy, easy going, well off, new liberal, middle-class, mud-hating, blow-up sofa bringing place to be on one weekend in mid-August. Not as extensive as Glastonbury, the other side of the V festival is dominated by the absolute basics – food and beer.That’s not to say there aren’t a couple of smaller stages devoted to the up-and-coming or down-and-leaving bands of the day (where else are you likely to see a woman in a heart-shaped hat playing a xylophone?). Their funfair provides endless fun to the drunk and bored, and very reasonable prices if you happen to have lots of disposable income cluttering up your bank account.The skateboarders add a youthful edge (especially if you grew up in the late 1980s) and the padding and armour they wear just adds to the sense of danger and risk, when they stand about doing nothing all day. So, maybe not enlightenment but certainly a lightening of the wallet is the order of the day at V.And finally, the grown-up anarchist rocker enjoying his weekend before being an IT consultant again is the Leeds/Reading chaos. Here can be found plenty of stages, plenty of alcohol and plenty of weirdly, wonderfully and woefully dressed rock fans. Beer riots and tent fires are not unknown. Sporting takes the form of the bottle throw, the fifty metre crowd surf and the classic mud wrestling. All in good spirits (and bad lagers), Reading and Leeds festival-goers have a focus beyond that of the common man.And so, as we reflect on the past festival season and our brief tour, it seems Lucie Silvas has done us a great favour. Exploring the other side of festivals can be more than a way to pass the time, it can be an exploration of the true essence of a festival – get a load of people in a field and let them act like the music-loving crazy people that they are.ARCHIVE: 0th week MT 2005last_img read more

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Spring?

first_imgBy David StooksburyUniversity of GeorgiaWhen does spring begin? Well, it depends on whom you ask.Most calendar makers list the first day of spring as the day of the vernal equinox, which occurs around March 20. This is referred to as astronomical spring. Most atmospheric scientists, meteorologists and climatologists say it begins March 1. The National Weather Service uses March 1 as the beginning of spring for climate summary purposes. Dates for the beginning of the climatological seasons are March 1 for spring, June 1 for summer, September 1 for fall and December 1 for winter.The dates for the beginning of the astronomical seasons are the vernal equinox (around March 20) for spring, the summer solstice (around June 21) for summer, the autumnal equinox (around September 22) for fall, and the winter solstice (around December 21) for winter. Other ways of defining the seasons have been proposed. The one that is the most logical is to define the summer solstice as the midpoint of summer since the daylight is greatest then. The midpoint of winter is defined as the winter solstice since this is when the daylight is least. By this method, summer would be the six and half weeks before and after the summer solstice. Winter would be the six and half weeks before and after the winter solstice. The midpoint of spring would be the vernal equinox. For fall, it would be the autumnal equinox.Other designations of spring include Good Friday or the start of the baseball season. My personal favorite is the Masters Tournament week in Augusta. Once the Masters is over, spring is usually here to stay in Georgia. Of course in Georgia, we can still have a dogwood or blackberry winter cold snap in late April or early May.Regardless of which definition of the seasons one uses, spring in the Southeast is a season of transition. Early spring is characterized by wide swings in temperature with periods of very cold and very warm weather. Freezes are common throughout Georgia during March. Freezes in late April do happen at times, especially in the northern half of Georgia. Snow and ice storms can happen in March, too, which has included a major blizzard in 1993 and an ice storm in the early 1970s.last_img read more

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Olympics president talks at USC

first_imgIn the midst of the athletic department’s yearlong celebration of USC’s Olympic successes, International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge spoke Wednesday at Town & Gown as part of Annenberg’s Sports and Social Change Speaker Series.Sporting events · Alan Abrahamson, a professor of journalism who covered the 1984 Summer Olympics, asked International Olympic President Jacques Rogge about the economic impact of the Olympics on host cities. – Matthew Wunderlich | Daily TrojanThe discussion, hosted by Alan Abrahamson, a professor of journalism, covered a variety of topics, including the 1984 Summer Olympics, held in Los Angeles, and focused on the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.“The 1984 Olympics left a tremendous legacy for this city,” Rogge said.Because Italian Premier Mario Monti had ended Rome’s bid for the 2020 Summer Games because of financial concerns on Tuesday, the conversation turned quickly to the sustainability of the Olympic ideal and the impact of real-world incidents on the Games.“Sport is not in a vacuum,” Rogge said. “Sport is part of society.”Scott Blackmun, CEO of the United States Olympic Committee, also spoke at the event and highlighted the financial and logistical difficulty of hosting the Olympic Games on U.S. soil, stating the USOC was hesitant to submit a bid for the 2022 Winter Games.“So much of the process depends on the [surrounding] circumstances, including support in Washington, D.C. … and the mood of the nation,” Blackmun said.USC — which has had 393 total athletes associated with the university compete in the Games — and Southern California are intrinsically tied to the Games, Abrahamson said.“There’s something special about Southern California,; it’s the weather — it’s great training conditions,” Abrahamson said. “[And] of course USC is a fantastic world-class university that has some world-class coaches and thinkers. Who wouldn’t want to be here?”USC’s 258 combined Olympic medals — 122 of which are gold — would rank USC No. 18 among countries if the university competed as a country. Many of those medals have come as a result of the USC men’s and women’s swimming and diving team, coached by Dave Salo.“It’s unwritten law that [this team is] not just a collegiate program; we’re responsible for training athletes for the Olympic Games,” Salo said.Salo, who will serve as an assistant coach for the women’s swim team at the 2012 Olympics in London, has seen support from the athletic department and the administration.“USC really supports our presence on the Olympic team,” Salo said. “It’s very important to USC. [Athletic Director] Pat Haden has clearly demonstrated that we want to celebrate our Olympic heritage and that we want our coaches, whatever sport, on Olympic staffs.”Swimmer Rebecca Soni, who medaled three times — one gold, two silver — at the 2008 Olympics while still a student at USC, is now part of Salo’s extended graduate program, which combines with the undergraduate program to give USC “one of the world’s greatest swim programs,” according to Abrahamson.Kevin Rutkowski, a junior majoring in political science and theater, said USC’s persona encourages the success the school’s alumni have seen at the Olympics.“We have the resources available and the drive to compete [at USC],” Rutkowski said. “We do our best to balance sports and academics and we all try to excel in all fields, which attracts better athletes.”last_img read more

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