Rob da Bank, festivals and geodesic domes

Do you like festivals ?

Lots of people love them. And not just twentysomethings.

Rob da Bank is a DJ and a record executive who lives for festivals and so does his wife, so he’s written a jolly guidebook to the world’s festivals, which Josie has illustrated : Rob da Bank’s A-Z of Festivals – My Life Of Mud, Music and Mayhem In 26 Letters.

There are 190 pages with a page or two about each festival and many coloured drawings. This couple have two children called Arlo and Merlin.

His prose style is irrepressibly upbeat and free-wheeling but also succinct and informative. The book is a tonic because his enthusiasm is so infectious. He has a good time and wants you to have a good time.

At the Big Chill, at Eastnor Cattle Deer Park, Herefordshire, “the early evenings can resemble a pram parade as parents go for a pre-rave stroll with their kids.”

Lollapalooza is a travelling grunge festival dreamed up by Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell in 1991, which featured Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails, among many others.

“In case you are wondering, ‘Lollapalooza’ is early twentieth century American slang for ‘wonderful person or thing’. It also refers to a ‘large lollipop’, a more accurate description of the event.”

There are, of course, festivals for music fans of every persuasion: indie , folk, dance, you name it. Festivals for headbangers like the Ozzfest, and Pinkpop in Belgium, the Montreux Jazz Festival which started in 1967, the Notting Hill Carnival, Rockness on the shores of Loch Ness in Scotland, Reading, Glastonbury, which began in  1971, two years before Rob was born. Exit, in a castle in Serbia, was attended by some friends of my daughter Caroline.

Rob says Burning Man is a radical experiment in survivalism and free expression, an event in the Nevada Desert where nothing is for sale.

You have to take everything with you, or trade and barter with other freaks and weekend hippies. “It’s a scene oft-compared to the Mad Max films, all mutant clothing, post -apocalyptic art and thousand yard stares.”

One day at the gym my tattooed Gooner pal Paul, the drummer in Pendulum, told me about his mind-bending love-experiences at Burning Man.

Then last summer my former flatmate Allan visited us from California and described how he and ten mates go to Burning Man every year. On their first visit they found out that high winds can destroy your tent. So they now spend the week in a geodesic dome which they designed and built themselves and take there in a truck. Being experienced engineers and architects, they were able to send very exact measurements to a specialist company in Oregon which makes canvas covers for geodesic domes.

Allan said I should go with them one year. When I mentioned this to Caroline, she said, “Can I come?”

On Thursday, May 10, Rob da Bank is at Book Slam