Over in the artist area there was already a queue for the washrooms. Having no shower gel with me, I made the most of the waiting time by decanting some of the toilet hand soap into an empty water bottle. But the waiting went on for a long while due to a faulty water supply. Every few minutes there were the cries of people stuck with shampoo in their eyes while the plumber pulled and pushed pipes round the back. Then I noticed the empty shower block just the other side of some temporary fencing.
A couple of us found a gap in the barrier. Out of nowhere came a very large man. "Reserved for the Kings of Leon" he said, "and so is this half of the artist toilets". It's hard to believe that someone actually phoned their agent and said "listen I know that Paul Weller, Kasabian, Florence, Stereophonics, Groove Armada + co are all sharing the artist village and facilities, but we require that you put a fence down the middle of the toilets and showers and put a large man there to keep them just for us." But somebody did.
Eventually I got scolded all over for a couple of minutes, though I was pleased with the success of the decanted hand soap. ... Backstage again, we were outside the catering tent, about to cross the path back to the dressing rooms when loads of massive blokes in suits and shades came out of nowhere shouting "don't move, don't move, DO NOT move" whilst pushing people back to the sides of the track. Was it Obama?
Tom explained that he was just crossing over to the dressing room to start getting ready.
"No you're not" said a big man.
"Yes I am" said tom.
Out came the enormous hand.
The conversation between tom and the big man got more heated. Then 4 blacked out range rovers came round the corner. One for each King of Leon. As it became clear what all this presidential fuss was about, tom gave the worldwide one fingered sign of dislike as the cars went past. The last one stopped. The drummer got out making "come on then" type gestures. "Come on then" tom gestured back. Instead, the drummer went back behind his bodyguards, and, pointing towards Tom, Paul Weller, and the various other musicians who were pinned by the side of the road, said "I want them removed."
"You will be removed" said the big man.
"No we won't"
The promoter came over, smoothed it over and apologised. Bearing in mind this was all happening backstage in the area shared by all the bands, it's hard to see what the Kings thought they were protecting themselves from. Was Paul Weller going to hound them for autographs? Was Florence going to wrestle them to the ground? Or maybe Stereophonics were going to ask them to write "your sex is on fire" on an album sleeve?
Nevertheless, the Kings had 4 minutes before going onstage to enjoy all those showers and toilets they'd kept to themselves.
We had a great crowd for our gig. Hat off to Staffordshire. It was the gig of the weekend.
We came off stage into the van that would take us back round to the dressing room. As we weaved through thick woodland, a message came over the radio to the driver to pull off the road, repeat, "Pull Off The Road." Guess who.
The Kings were on their way out.
So we waited, reluctantly, whilst getting pretty annoyed with our driver for stopping. A few of us got out, to give the Kings a fond farewell.
Eventually, a couple of buses for crew and entourage came round the corner, followed by the 4 individual range rovers. What a lonely existence.
Back in the artist area, there was a good vibe around the bar. 3 cases of champagne were sent over to GA HQ as a thanks for telling it straight to the Kings.