We've all felt that time in our lives when we want to be in a band, become famous, play at Glastonbury etc. We don't, however, think about what our rockstar lives would be like. Stress, Pressure and having the nerve to step on stage and perform to a crowd of 10,000 people.
Saturday morning. It's still dark outside. The light in my room turns on and my manager walks in. I don't want to get up, I'm too tired, but I have to.
"Come on Jacob, up you get." he says.
Reluctantly, I rise from my bed and walk over to the small bathroom in the corner of the room. I fill the basin with cold, clear water. I take a handful and splash it over my face. The sudden chill fails to wake me up fully.
"10 minutes Jake. We've got to be at Victoria Park by 6." my manager's voice calls to me. I stare vacantly at the mirror above the basin, staring into my own tired eyes. I look awful. I just want to go back to sleep.
5 o'clock. Light begins to illuminate the sky. There are no other cars on the road. Just our little motorcade. I lean back and try to sleep some more. The drummer is reading a book, the bassist is listening to his MP3 and the driver is listening to the radio. It's loud. I can't sleep.
"Nearly there boys." the driver says. I look out of the window to see where we are. A sign to the side of the road reads, "HACKNEY, NEXT LEFT".
The motorcade arrives at the Performers Entrance. We pass through the security gate and park the vans. The sun is getting brighter. The rest of the band and I go to one of the vans to collect our instruments and personal belongings. A woman with a T-Shirt and earphones tells us to go to the changing rooms to scrub up. We're playing at 11:30 on the main stage.
Another mirror. This time the boy staring back looks more presentable and refreshed. Some of the tiredness has gone. Nerve replaces it. 10,000 people are coming today. Most of them probably don't even know who my band are. First impressions are always important. One mistake, one bum note or wrong lyric and that's it. Breathing. I try it to calm me down. I'm on an hour.
11:29 am. Most of the crowd has arrived. I can see them from behind the numerous amps, soundsystems and other technical equipment. My hands are clamped firmly on the neck of my guitar. I am very nervous now, almost shaking. The bassist looks at me and pats my back.
"It'll be fine. We're only playing a half hour set." he says reasuringly. Before I can say anything back we're being pushed forward into the crowds vision. This is it.
The first song in our set. Some of the crowd is dancing along cheering. That helps. I feel calmer than before. My hand flows effortlessly around the guitar and my voice sounds good over the loudspeakers. Now is not the time to get complacent though. The final chords are coming up. 1, 2 and done. Applause.
Third song. It's difficult to play. The crowd have started throwing objects at the stage. I know they're only doing it for a laugh but playing the guitar whilst trying to dodge the bottles is hard. A plastic bottle comes straight for me. I notice it late and quickly step to the side. The sound from the amp is nasty. I panick. I move onto the next chord trying to forget that moment. I turn to look at my fellow band members. The drummer nods, prompting me to keep playing. A bead of sweat drips down my face.
Last song. It's an emotional one. I'm still recovering from my slip up during the third song. My voice sounds shaky and quiet to me. The crowd is still throwing objects but I now dodge them easily and without too much suspicion. The final chord is played. A quick thank you to the crowd and we leave the stage. Relief washes over me as I walk quickly behind the stage. It's over.