// Australian travel blog
Let's go back to the beginning... Go to Part 1
"Dude, if you ever get the chance to lick a moustache...just do it! It's f*ckin' awesome!" - REL punter
Figuring I didn’t have a choice with the clothes anyway, I picked up said items and headed for the showers. I was a short three minute walk away – yet another advantage of the glamping area. Some poor souls were so far down towards the front gate that they’d put their bikes on the back of the trailer and brought them in so that they could ride into the main stage rather than facing a forty-minute return walk from their tent.
At a premium price of $2/ minute, I spent the minimum amount on a shower and saved the remainder for a coffee pre-shift. I shimmied on the leotard and a long, black, hooded vest, and exited the stall in my outfit, complete with extremely attractive purple rubber slides, purchased for 100 yen (AUD $1.20) in Kyoto. As I left the showers and looked around at the steadily growing crowd, I saw that there was now a mix of regular Joes and kitted up outfit-wearers wandering around. Hooray!
I headed back towards the glamping area, where a gigantic communal tee-pee was set up in the middle of the tents. By now, there was music pumping from inside, and the girls on ‘reception’ were decked out in red leotards and rave pants with kimonos, geisha makeup and chopsticks in their hair. Their Japanese attire was almost as cool as my purple slides.
Inside the tee-pee, several wooden benches and varying sizes of mirrors were set up for people to do their hair, glitter and face painting, so I whipped out the gold glitter and purple lipstick and went to town. Next game the replacement of the purple slides with red gumboots.
* * *
I arrived at the Volunteer tent – Volly HQ – early for my shift, with a very hipster nitrogen-infused coffee in hand.
Soon enough I was assigned my duty for the day: topping up people’s wristbands, which had an implanted chip with which to buy drinks, food, and clothes at the incredible second-hand clothing stalls. This was proceeded by a short stint at the Wabooz Stage raking up leaf litter and removing branches from the bar area which was to become my ‘hood for the day.
After this was done, I was given: a brief training session at Volly HQ, an EFTPOS machine, and a device to complete top-up transactions. Just as I stepped into the work area, the lovely Wilma appeared in front of my eyes (always nice when you’re flying solo at a festival and have no means of contacting anyone) so I topped up her band and exchanged a quick hug before being sent on my merry way back to Wabooz bar. I sat on a stool to one side of the bar, and introduced myself to the bar guys, three of whom were brothers from Victoria and absolute legends. The surroundings were stunning and the stage was crowded in by gigantic gumtrees, a little creek, and an unexpectedly clear sky.
This convenient posting meant that I had a clear view of the Wabooz stage and was easily within earshot of the massive sound system, which meant I basically got to spend 5 hours listening to the sets roll on in as the sun started to set. I also got to people watch – one of my favourite pastimes…
Early on, there was an intriguing group of three: A girl with beautiful dark skin, and contrasting fluoro/ multi-coloured, long braided hair; a young Thai guy wearing super tight underwear and some body paint, and his much-older Californian boyfriend (also underwear-clad). All three were already dancing around wildly, despite it being just after 1PM, had huge grins on their faces. The men had just celebrated their one-year anniversary. The girl was disappointed that the bar didn’t have her drink of choice, but quickly settled on the second option of three vodka lemonades. Many others had wheeled their Eskies (as it was a BYO festival) from their camp-site to the side of stage, or were swinging around their conveniently portable goon bag.
I met a guy whose name escaped me and who was in a wheelchair after recently breaking his leg. He’d previous DJed at Rabbits, and was eagerly watching one of the first sets of the day. As we both listened to a bumbling transition, we made eyes with one-another and cringed.
‘Oh man,’ he said through clenched teeth, ‘he’d be so annoyed with himself right now.’
Meanwhile, I had been looking across at the skate ramp, which had been populated early on by a few eager skaters, but was now draped with a severely wasted young looking guy who was wrapped backwards over the edge of the ramp with his head upside down. I walked on over to check he was ok, and was met with an 18-year-old(ish) with large blue eyes that were glazed over and rolling around in his sockets. I asked what he’d taken.
“120 Robertson Street,” came his reply. Three young girls laughed behind me, and one gave me an explanation:
“He thought you asked his address haha,” she laughed. “He’s had acid. This is a good day for him!” she alluded to his usual wasted antics. I checked that they were going to keep an eye on him, and then headed back for Wabooz bar to continue listening to the set.
The thing was, the next mix was equally as audible and bumbling, and it visibly interrupted the rhythms of the punters on the dusty dance floor. After a third haywire transition, a crew member emerged from the back of the stage to check in with the DJ and see what was going wrong. A few buttons were pressed, and then they disappeared backstage.
But it only continued. Every single mix apart from one failed to be beat-matched. I could barely stand to watch the slow-motion audio train wreck. Thankfully the DJs that followed had ‘fixed the technical problem’ (benefit of the doubt?) and the dance floor began to fill up. No-one needed wristband top-ups, and I was having a blast listening, watching and chatting to the bartenders. Throw in some WiFi problems, a couple of hours running around trying to get a signal for the machine, and soon enough my shift was over.
As I traipsed back to my tent, I heard snippets of conversations drifting on the breeze, which made it an entertaining walk (refer to above).
Back at the camp-site, I was immediately invited to hang with some fellow glampers – a health professional and her fiancé, who had been sniffed out by the sniffer dogs on the inwards journey, and lost a considerable amount of coke and gained an appearance in court.
Soon we were joined by a couple of American girls, an Irish guy who had left the rest of the bucks party over the other side of the tee-pee and come to say hi, and a couple of Kiwis including a newly-minted stripper who was soon relocating to Canberra for a job, after having deemed the Sydney market too oversaturated to make a decent buck, and too shady anyhow.
A few drinks were had, the sun set, the stomach was filled with some vego nachos, and it was time to commence the evening.
TBC @ Part 4: the final instalment