Stuck in a rut?

The evening before my last exam sees me not diligently cramming my already fact-bloated grey matter with  facts, but procrastinating on my laptop instead. Did I say procrastinate? I meant… Bring the good readers of otwo quality online journalism, of course. Ahem.

Readers, I have a confession to make. I have been stuck in a musical rut for the last few months. Ever reach that point where you’ve heard all your cds a thousand times? When you know the contents of Windows Media Player back to front? Where you click on the same old five or six songs when you turn on your Ipod, despite the fact that you have several hundred thousand tracks to choose from?

It’s impossible to know where to begin the search for new music. The radio? I don’t think so. Even decent radio stations like Phantom FM are often guilty of playing the same tracks over and over again. The internet is saturated with the myspace pages of “up and coming new acts” which might well be fantastic… if there weren’t so bloody many of them that you don’t even know where to start listening.

So how to extricate yourself from the swampy mire of musical stagnantion? I recently discovered the answer. It’s simple. The problem is, it’s also expensive. And complicated. And possibly life-threatening. But here goes: All you need to do is buy yourself a ticket to a music festival. The more random the better. Avoid ones where you KNOW the bands playing- what’s the point of that? In fact it’s even better if you have to leave the country to get to this festival.

szigetMy festival of choice is Sziget, in Budapest, Hungary. Ok, so I had heard of Placebo, the Prodigy, Pendulum, and Snow Patrol before I decided to go. In fact the thought of drunkenly hurling a bottle at Snow Patrol was one of the incentives for buying the ticket. But since then I have scrolled through the setlist and acquainted myself with more esoteric acts such as Birdy Nam Nam, Calexico, The Crystal Method, Armin Van Buuren, Die Toten Hosen, and Ska-P.

So I regularly lash on a few punk tracks in German, or enjoy the frenzied trumpets-on-speed sound that is Ska-P. I’ve even started to quite like trance. Ok, I had to spent over a hundred quid on flights to Budapest. And I assume that a couple of days before the festival I’ll realise I don’t have a tent or a torch or a sleeping bag or anything even vaguely useful and spend a lot of money fixing that. And I’ll probably end up with sunstroke, or alcohol poisoning, or just plain lost in a city full of people speaking Hungarian. But I am excited, my taste in music has been rejuvenated, and even the old songs that I was bored of sound fresher and newer all of a sudden.

So bring on August 11th! The ticket for this 5-day festival was a mere 150 euro, a steal compared with the ticket prices for Oxegen and Electric Picnic. And there are plenty more happening all over Europe, with fantastic line-ups and locations to tempt you. Boycott MCD’s overpriced wet weekend in Kildare and join me in a quest for sunshine, adventure, and ROCK.

Or trance. It’s all good.