Catherine Scott: The rite of passage that is Leeds Fest

Leeds Festival at Bramham Park.'Mark Bickerdike Photography
Leeds Festival at Bramham Park.'Mark Bickerdike Photography
0
Have your say

So we survived the stress of GCSEs, then the dreaded Prom and even the GCSE results. I thought that must be it for the roller coaster of emotions which has been summer 2019.

I was wrong.

A far more stressful parental experience awaited me.

Crowds at Leeds Festival at Bramham Park where a 17-year-old girl died of a suspected drugs overdose

Crowds at Leeds Festival at Bramham Park where a 17-year-old girl died of a suspected drugs overdose

Leeds Fest - two simple words which cause dread in hundreds of parents of children, yes they are still children, for whom four nights under canvas eating nothing but pot noodles and Hobnobs drinking who knows what and raving til 6am, is a rite of passage after receiving their GCSE results.

And so it was for us.

On the plus side what could have been a stressful build up to GCSE results last Thursday was instead taken up with checking our ancient tent didn’t leak, making sure three teenagers and all their clobber could fit in it, sourcing a nifty gadget to reduce the risk of her mobile phone being stolen or lost, and of course planning the various outfits.

Even the night before results when I was feeling a bit nervous for her, the main concern was how on earth were they going to get into the red campsite without the early bird pass (another £20 each on top of the £200 weekend ticket)

Luckily the hard work had paid off and GCSE results were all and more that we had hoped for.

But with hardly a moment to let the euphoria sink we were off up the A64 to Bramham Park and I dropped three overly excited teenagers now faced with the prospect of getting themselves, tents, sleeping bags, mats, food, drink and a rucksack full of food across a field to set up camp.

It did feel like an important milestone, not just the GCSE results which now pave her way to sixth form, but waving her off hoping that just some of our words of advice and upbringing over the years had sunk in and that she would at least do a slight risk assessment before wading in head long.

All I really wanted was for these beautiful young women to stay safe.

There was devastating news for one set of parents not so fortunate that their daughter did make a wrong decision and will not be returning from the experience, My heart goes out to them, and I have to admit hearing that on Saturday brought the reality of the dangers they face into perspective. But what is the alternative. Stop them going? Ban festivals?

Sadly wherever there is a festival there will be drugs. You just have to hope that it isn’t your child that takes the risk, gives in to peer pressure or whatever the reason they have for taking substances they know nothing about.

Luckily we had a dirty, tired but happy 16 year old return home on Monday. The only problem: she is already planning next year.