// Australian travel blog
Continued from Part 3
By around 8 or 9 PM, I’d had enough time to make a failed attempt to find Wilma and the squad at the Love Camp, and to redo the face glitter after a sweaty afternoon. People had begun making their way to the main area in droves, and the newly forged glamping crew and I decided it was time to head in and see what was happening.
A few organised people were also rolling in on their motorised skateboards and bikes from the campsites located much further afield, and trios, duos, and groups all merged into one another as coalesced with existing crowds at the various dance areas.
I spotted the topless, body-painted girl who’d come to Volly HQ earlier in the day after having stepped on a stick and injuring her foot (she wasn’t a fan of shoes either). She was walking well, and obvious healed or ‘medicated’ enough to dance by nightfall.
Over to the right of the massive cleared area, on the way into the market place, the Wonky Queenslander doof crew had set up a neon-laden, decked-out tinny with one hell of a sound system, and the makeshift boat/DJ booth was pulling a decent crowd. We stayed for a while on the improvised dance floor and met a few new buddies before moving on.
Soon enough we’d arrived at the Wabooz stage which had wildly-swinging genres bouncing around, from D&B to tech-house, to a bit of hip hop. It was ok, but I think I was done with dancing to hip hop back when I was sixteen. Now I just prefer to listen to it when I’m feeling overly entitled/empowered, or angry.
We decided to have a break from the dancing, and anyhow we’d run out of the G&T that we’d packed in our bags, so we hit the bar. Sure enough I ran into the bar guys who I’d worked with earlier in the day and managed to score some freebies, despite the fact that they’d also finished their shifts and were now out the front of the bar polishing off a few themselves.
Over the next couple of hours, we rested on some logs made from gigantic gum trees, chatted, drank, and recouped some energy. The vibe at the stage was OK, but the music far from optimal. We agreed it was time to check out other options.
We knew we’d struck gold the moment we entered the marquee set up by the Wonky Queenslanders. The vibe was pumping, the crowd was dressed in amazing costumes, the sound system and lights were on point, and the ambient techno goddess, Avaxa, was behind the decks. She delivered what was hands down the best set I’d seen that day. And after having spent around 14 hours at various stages, I’d seen a few! It was good to see that the crowd responded accordingly.
So we danced the rest of the night away here, with my rainbow flag enjoying its second outing after its inauguration at the 2018 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. The flag was so popular that it ended up having various minders over the course of the night, who would take it in turns to serenade the fabric and shimmy the colours above heads on the dance floor.
The flag took the stage for a large portion of the night, and was happily joined by doof hats, circus-outfits and other sporadic guests. In fact, it was pretty entertaining to have left the Wonky Queensland marquee for a good twenty minutes to go and re-stock our drinks supply, only to return and see it fluttering away on stage, attached to the waving hand of yet another caretaker.
By 3am, after a solid night out, I decided that it was time for bed so I could squeeze in enough sleep before the tent became a sauna, and before I had to prepare for the next shift.
Saturday morning evaded the weather forecast, and commenced with sunshine and a very long line-up to the showers. Given my lack of patience, I decided to skip the morning shower and instead settled on baby wipes and a splash of water on my face. I then sat down under some shade in my $5 camp chair and sucked down an Up&Go while I watched the other glampers slowly emerge.
I could see the stripper over to the right having breakfast, clad only in the slightest of coverings for her bottom half, and flanked by two mates. My accomplices from the evening before were yet to be seen, and I had no idea what time they’d eventually retired. I heard a few of the Irish bucks having a chuckle, and noticed that the glamping tee-pee nearby had already cranked the music and had body-paintings and glitterings underway inside.
After donning some orange leopard-print bike pants and a black crochet-style top (- part of my “edgy and black” Berghain attire), I made my way down for another quick coffee before joining an acro-yoga class. I never would have envisioned just how drained and sweaty I would be after class, but I guess it was to be somewhat expected given that it was midday and I was balancing a 75kg guy on my feet for half the workshop…
As the class finished, I rushed down to Volly HQ to sign on for shift two. According to the roster, I was supposed to be on wrist band top-ups again, but instead my manager from the day prior came to break some bad news.
“Now look, I just need to talk to you about something,” she started, with a concerned look.
“Ok?” I said, uncertainly.
“I’ve been told by the bar manager that you weren’t around for a lot of your shift yesterday, he said you were barely there.”
“Sorry?!” I said, incredulously. “I was there the entire time apart from when I was following your guy around trying to help with WiFi, and you already know I was with him.”
I had heard earlier that two Brazilian volunteers had been caught signing on for their shift, only to disappear to party for the entire time. I was pretty disappointed to be put in this no-show box with a couple of lazy backpackers.
“Well, look, I don’t know one way or the other, this is just what I’ve been told,” she said, matter-of-factly.
“Are you serious?” I asked. “I made friends with all three brothers who were working down there at the bar yesterday, so why don’t you go and ask them where I was – they’ll vouch that I was there all afternoon!”
It was a fruitless endeavour. I basically got fired from my job, and then I was sent down to the (pleasantly quiet) front gate for the afternoon.
The job was tolerable, and involved scanning tickets, applying wrist bands, selling car permits for $40 a pop, then waving the cars through to the security checkpoint where the hired security conducted a search for contraband. There was a shaded tent to rest under, a couple of really nice film students from Brisbane accompanying me for my shift, and minimal work because the vast majority of people – a good 2,500 – had entered the previous day following an enduring 7km and 4-hour-long traffic jam to get in.
Despite the ease of work, I was bored and just wanted to finish by the end.
Satisfyingly, as I returned to the HQ after my shift to sign off, one of the bar brothers, Oliver, strolled in with a big grin and greeted me with, “Hey, Lauren!” after which I proceeded to make a point in front of the shift coordinator of how he knew me, i.e. that I was at the bar yesterday, the whole damn day.
Nevertheless, I signed off, received an ugly tie-dye Rabbits promo shirt, and went on my merry way back to camp, where I promptly decided I’d ‘been there, done that’ with experiencing a doof, packed up my gear in record time, and smoke bombed.
Thanks for the entertainment, Rabbits!