Monday, February 20, 2012

Festival Carnage - Splore

Splore, Tapapakanga National Park, NZ

NZ summer is chokka (chalk full) of festivals.  I am a knob & only realized the ones I was supposed to be at too late.  The few weeks of holidays surrounding christmas were a wash for weather, & New Years was practically cancelled for rain.  Auckland shot 10,000$ worth of fireworks off the Skytower, into the clouds, where no one could see them, because they're brilliant.  There were about a dozen NYE festivals - ALL mud fests & flooded.  The famous 'World's First Sunrise' in Gizzy (Gisbourne) on the east was overcast, & there is nothing more depressing than an overcast sunrise.  Mudslides & washed out roads everywhere.  Outran it all & parked myself between a barby, music venue & the surf, sipping on Headless Mexicans & may have even had stars & fireworks.  Choice.

*As an unrelated point of interest, did you know Kiwis actually get stoned & watch this video, which is what 90% of the internet thinks all the time?  (also they love Flight of the Conchords.)*
I digress.

What the f was I talking about?

Ah yeah so the one festival I honed in on was Splore.  Don't know why.  Something to do with the melody of horns on their homepage.  My ears perked up.  I have a way with these things.  Nobody was un-costumed all weekend.  Except me, the square.  Also, I didn't know the "no alcohol" policy means they pretend to search us & we just hide it more cleverly.  So I was also the only sober one all weekend.  Woohoo.  Let the party begin.

Hitched to the show with no worries & met some cool folk.  Popped my tent & dashed in the see The Yoots, said blissful 8-piece horn roots ensemble.  A warm sunny singalong welcome to this beautiful festie!  Dancing in a straw bed, lazing on the hillside, or in the ocean by some sleepy curious yachts.

Erykah Badu was the only act I had even heard of & it seems this was the overwhelming case.  I am alone however, with the overwhelming feeling can I describe it?  Dissatisfaction?  Inadequacy?  Disappointment?  (Can you feel that way about someone you've never heard before?)  A general bad taste in my mouth.  R&B Diva.  Jesus f-king christ.  She thought she was top shit.  She was ordering the lighting crew around in the middle of songs & making this stupid superhero pose after every song.  The backstage crew told me she was really cold, with an air of superiority, & uber-late throwing everything off kilter.  I thought it was quite obvious she was a stuck-up bitch.  It showed in her performance, which is never good.  But I suppose everyone else was fooled so...

Plus it rained, full-on, right at the end of her set.  Suddenly my body hates me.  'Hate. Being. Wet.' it says.  Every inch of shelter occupied by bodies, called for retreat to the tent.  Strategy meeting.  Huddled in the corner of the "wet side" of the inside of the tent never works.  Fun night!

Everything Saturday was great!  Artists, food, atmosphere, weather, music: Latin Aotearoa were hot & spicy with latino flavour.  Grit teeth into a sugar skull smile.  Pinche madre!  Dios mio!  Cuban Brothers were full-on & hilarious!  The Barons of Tang delivered their so-called "gypsy folk with a twist of deathcore" brilliantly.  In fact I'd throw jazzy into that description as well.  Touché.  An ethreal circus with mannequin parts, poetry, a stripshow & people eating off other people.  Sat there thinking "I wish I had good enough friends I could eat off of...."

Got in as a volunteer with the exception I enjoy the festival & stick around to work cleanup Monday.  Instead I lucratively got in with the main stage backstage crew.  Even though we felt so lame dressing in simple black (if you could imagine the costumes!) a few slack hours tearing down drumkits here & watching the bands from sidestage there beats the hard labour of sorting recycling from rubbish we avoided.  :-)

**Note: Watching a band from side stage - crossed off the Bucket List!**

My Splore was great!  Monday however...

Monday was understatement messy, following the volunteer afterparty.  All the confiscated liquor that went through my system demanded an intense detox.  Met too many people & as always a little too trusting.  Lost my shoulder bag with my cellphone & rainjacket inside & found my shoes in a bush.  Woke up thinking I had been kidnapped only to realize I was with my friends the whole time.  Really bad.  Found a flashlight, re-oriented myself & somewhere safe to crash, alone outside the festival grounds & three sheets to the wind.  When it comes down to it, I remember how not panicked I was.  My survival skills are pretty sharp.  Still, not a good way to end a festival.  Once again, I am glad I have friends.

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