The Butlin's Experience - As Told in GIFs
I'll be honest, I feel like I'm tempting fate writing this, considering Covid is sticking its snotty nose in again and disrupting our events calendar.
I've already written a Butlin's Survival Guide, if you want some tips for your first journey, but today we're going to do something fun.
Never been to Butlin's?
Here is what a weekend at Butlin's looks like - as told through the medium of GIFs!
1) First Impressions Aren't Everything
You may be forgiven for thinking that you've driven into some kind of nuclear testing site.
The white picket balconies and endless rolling wooden chalets do look a little bit like the set of a horror movie during the day.
Whether it's the darkness or the booze that makes it so, we may never know - but at about 11pm, when you're wandering around after a couple of jager bombs, you'll be feeling like you're at the happiest place on earth.
Welcome to 'Jubrassic Park'
2) Get Ready to live Like a Uni Student
I will admit, some of the chalets do have a little bit of a university-halls-of-residence-type vibe going on, which is fitting considering you will be spending the next couple of days living like a student.
Snacking on pot noodles, oven pizzas and crisps, so you don't have to fork out for the restaurant food
Creating interesting alcoholic concoctions in the kitchen (usually questionable, yet strangely delicious, cocktails, in my experience)
Staying up all night when you know you need to be up early in the morning
Missed out on the 'university experience'?
Here's your chance!
3) You Will Get Lost
This is a guarantee.
No matter how many times you have already visited, how many landmarks you've memorised, when you've danced the night away and your blood-alcohol concentration level is higher than that of a bottle of hospital-grade hand sanitiser, the layout of Butlin's feels like you're in the Crystal Maze.
It's a labyrinth of various marine-themed courts, with buildings that all seem to look the same in the tipsy twilight.
Either stay close to a responsible adult within your party, who can help guide you back or pray to the navigation gods when you leave the bar.
Those are your only options, I'm afraid!
4) What Happens at Butlin's, Stays at Butlin's
Once you've been to Butlin's you will understand. Those of you who have already been will know what I mean.
5) There is cold, then there is Butlin's
Spending a weekend on the coast in January isn't exactly going to be a warm experience.
It's usually either wet or icy and the wind is so sharp that it requires a tuning slide.
You would think that everyone would be walking around in winter coats and jumpers, right?
Well, maybe during the day, but at night it's a whole different story.
I've seen people wandering about in short-sleeve dresses, polo tops, t-shirts and even shorts without a care in the world after 9pm.
I would say it's madness, but I have been one to rely on a 'beer jacket' during Butlin's weekend, whilst prancing around in a sleeveless top in -1 degree weather.
The cold never bothered me anyway - then I turned 25 and now need a jumper when I'm just walking around the house.
Old age, it's a curse.
6) Not Your Average Contest Eve
The night before a contest, you usually wander home from band, get your uniform ready then get tucked up in bed for a restful night before competing.
Not at Butlin's.
Especially if it's your first time, you'll be chatting away at the bar, before you check the time and realise it's 3am and you need to be up for a rehearsal at 6am!
I will tell you that the following morning will not be pleasant, but it is a rite of passage at Butlin's and I would like to tell you that you will learn your lesson.
However, I've been three times and three times I've only had what can be described as a nap before my alarm has gone off and I've had to drag myself to rehearsal regretting my poor life choices.
7) beat the Beer blues
So, the 6am alarm has gone off and you wake up feeling like you haven't had a decent night's sleep in your life and a headache that will make you question the accuracy of your negative lateral flow tests.
So, what do you do?
Berocca my friends, Berocca.
This was a revelation on my last visit.
One Berocca dissolved in a bottle of water in the morning was my little orange-flavoured fizzy saviour.
Coupled with a Maccies breakfast, I felt like I could take on the world and we did go on to win the First section that day - I would say a successful cure!
Now, I can't promise that a Berocca will make you win, but it will certainly make you feel like you're back in the land of the living.
8) Bring Sanitiser, masks, anti-bac wipes - the lot
This point I am being serious about. Not just because of the obvious risk of Covid - which I hope nobody has the misfortune of picking up, but because of everything else that will be inevitably flying around the venue whilst you're there.
On more than one occasion, I've come back with an absolute stinker of a cold.
One thing that I have developed during the Covid-Era, is being a bit more germ-conscious than I was before.
Enjoy yourself, but keep yourself as safe as possible from Miss Rona and any of her virus friends.
9) The Results
Butlin's, arguably, has the best results ceremony of any contest.
Everybody is already in the party spirit, so if you win, the celebrations are incredible and if you don't win, you party like you won anyway!
10) One of the best events of the year
Again, some people may not agree, but I think Butlin's is one of the best brass band events of the year.
Ok, it may not be as prestigious or straight-laced as our other concerts, but it's a brilliant opportunity to make music, catch up with friends and have a good laugh - which is what banding is all about!
Best of luck to everyone heading down to Skegvegas this weekend (if Covid doesn't put a halt to it!).
Enjoy yourself, be careful, play your best and have a pint for me!
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