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.
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.