The GCSEs, the Levellers and (almost) the ultimate sacrifice

It’s three years since we saw my favourite band, the Levellers, at the Wychwood Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. It was amazing. I’ve seen the Levellers A LOT of times over the years – I think at least once a year every year since I first saw them at Glastonbury in 1992. And I never tire of them.

Levellers, Wychwood Festival

Since then, the Wychwood Festival has become a real tradition for our family. We don’t go for the weekend, we just go for the Saturday and enjoy the atmosphere. It’s a proper family-friendly festival. It’s not just the five of us that go either, we go with my parents, my sister, brother-in-law and little niece and nephew. It’s still brilliant without the Levellers, but the Levellers just make it that bit better.

So I was beyond excited when it was announced late last year that the Levellers would be headlining the Sunday night this year. I can honestly say, I’ve been looking forward to it ever since.

We hadn’t booked it – it doesn’t sell out and if it does it would sell out at the very last minute. We needed to chat to my family about their plans. Would they be happy to go on the Sunday, or would they still prefer to go on the Saturday? If so, we would go both days.

Of course, the downside of Sundays is that they are followed by Mondays, and Mondays mean work and school.

And then I realised there was just one teeny-tiny little detail I needed to check about that particular Monday.

Because my son will be right in the middle of his GCSEs then.

And, damn you GCSE scheduling people, he’s only gone and got an exam at 9am on the Monday.

So that’s then. My dreams of seeing the Levellers at Wychwood are over. I know it’s silly, but I am actually properly upset about it. So upset that I actually can’t think about it for too long. And it’s not just me that’s upset, the kids are upset too.

Yes, of course my son could revise before then. He will have revised before then, he’s been revising since February half-term. But it’s not about revision, it’s about sleep.

The Levellers will finish playing at about 10.30pm and we will all be buzzing. We will have to go home and calm down and get to bed for a good night’s sleep. I know that won’t happen. That doesn’t matter for the other two kids, but for a boy who has to do a history GCSE at 9am, it really matters. He has to be firing on all cylinders.

If the Levellers were playing on Saturday, it would have been fine. If the GCSE was in the afternoon, it would have been fine. But with the GCSE on Monday morning, it’s not fine.

My daughter’s friends have said she can go with them. There are moments when I think maybe I could just go, because I’ve loved the Levellers since I was 17, but I can’t.

I know how upset my son would be. Not just upset, but angry too. It would be a betrayal if any of us were to go without him.

We can’t go and that’s the end of it. I’ve had to make (almost) the ultimate sacrifice.

Wychwood Festival, Cheltenham Racecourse

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Aww! Bless you! Your boy’s GCSE’s have to come first but it’s rubbish that you will be missing seeing The Levellers. It’s just one of those things which can’t be helped….I’m sure you will have plenty more opportunities to see them in the future x

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    • Thanks very much, I’m sure we will, but they’re not playing anywhere else very convenient for us this year, so I might actually miss them this year 🙁 x

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  2. Oh dear that is bad timing. I had a O level on my birthday which wasn’t great. The saving grace was that it was the last one and in the morning. Maybe you could arrange a treat for the family after the exams are out of the way.

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    • My husband had GCSEs on his birthday too 🙁 He has a big treat arranged with his dad after the exams, but it would be nice to do something as a family too.

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  3. Aw what a shame but you have definitely made the right decision. But damn the GCSE scheduling. I have all this to look forward to as I keep talking about holidays for next May. Hubby says no as will be right before the exams start x

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    • Definitely no holidays for you in May next year! I’ve been thinking about how many years this is going to go on for now – and it’s a long time!
      We will have his A Levels in two years, his brother’s GCSEs in three years, then A Levels AND GCSEs in five years and A Levels in seven years… I haven’t started thinking about degrees! x

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  4. Oh no, its just rubbish but sounds like there’s not really any other way. You will definitely have to book something extra special for after the exams for a treat for you all!

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    • Thanks very much! We definitely will have to book something after the exams!

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  5. Have you asked him if he’d mind you going? He seems like a very mature boy, you never know his answer might surprise you, especially if you promise that he’ll be right there with you next time you go. I’m sure it will be worth the sacrifice though, GCSEs mean too much to mess about with.

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    • He definitely won’t let us go! He’s a good boy and very mature, but still fundamentally a teenager! GCSEs are definitely too important to mess with, especially as he wants to get to grammar school. x

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  6. Oh that is such a shame, I know how much you love it but I understand why you are making the sacrifice. Hopefully there will be lots of other times to see them again.

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    • Thanks very much, I’m sure there will be other chances, but there aren’t any particularly feasible ones for us this year. I hope they come back to Wychwood soon (and not when anyone else is doing their GCSEs or A Levels!).

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  7. Oh that is a real shame. I have been lucky with GCSEs this year as there are 2 mocks this month and I happen to have booked his brace appointment in between the two

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    • My son was given a dermatologist appointment when he should have been in an exam. Needless to say I changed it for half-term!

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