Tag Archives: music festival

Melbourne | The magic of Rainbow Serpent Festival

IMG_1219I waited a whole year to experience the magic of Rainbow Serpent Festival. I arrived in Melbourne this time last year, just three days after this incredible festival took place, I was devastated to have missed it but having been deep in the outback completing my farm work there was simply no way I could make it in time. It was a worthy sacrifice – those last three days of farm work meant I got the opportunity to stay in Australia for another year. Those last three days meant not only could I come back to Melbourne, one of my favourite cities in the world, but that I could get a second chance to experience life over the rainbow.IMG_2566IMG_2547For those who don’t know about Rainbow Serpent, it’s the ultimate in hippy trippy dreamland fun. Deep in the Victorian countryside that can only be described as desert in the 35 degree heat, a few small fields are filled with around 10,000 colourful, bright, passionate and excited souls for just a few days. Reminiscent of festivals like Secret Garden Party and Boomtown Fair in the UK, the festival is the kind of celebration that brings together a huge range of people, some pretty interesting characters and some seriously beautiful souls for a few days of creativity and magic.IMG_2564IMG_2551This year celebrating it’s 20th anniversary, the festival is a veteran amongst others and you can tell on arrival, many of those pulling up in camper vans to the most incredible campsites filled with marquees, sofas, outlandish decorations and the rest, are people who have been going for years. The kind who exclaim with sheer happiness when you disclose that this is your first Rainbow Serpent, their faces light up at getting to witness you experiencing the magic for the very first time. It’s easy before you go to feel like everyone just gets caught up in the hype or that it couldn’t possibly be as good as they say. IMG_2548IMG_2562Well, as a well seasoned festival veteran, I can safely say that the hype doesn’t even do the festival justice. Rainbow Serpent blew my mind – not just the music and the stages, the theatre and the arts, the yoga and the creativity. It was the people, the incredible collection of people passionate about one cause – making it the best celebration of Rainbow Serpent yet. Time and time again we were blown away by the amazing characters we met, experienced and then parted ways never to see each other again – but the most important thing was that we shared that one moment together.IMG_2565IMG_2550I was an incredibly lucky girl during this festival – the kindness of strangers has never been more apparent. Two of my friends were determined for me to attend the festival despite my already having given up on finding a ticket. They pushed one friend into tracking me down a ticket and when that one fell through he went to the ends of the earth to find me a replacement – whats the big deal you ask? This guy had never even met me but went to an incredible level of effort to not only ensure I experienced Rainbow Serpent but that I had the most amazing time possible. I travelled up with a friend from work and we spent the next few days camping with an amazing group of people – I couldn’t have put together a better bush doof crew if I tried.IMG_2567IMG_2560The bare basics – we hired a car from Hertz who I would never hire from again, overly expensive and extremely rude staff who constantly tried to overcharge us for things they hadn’t pre-disclosed. We borrowed a tent from a friend, filled up eskis with ice, beers and boxes of pasta – going prepared saved us a lot of money on food. The festival was totally BYO so we went prepared with bottles of vodka and rum decanted into plastic bottles (no glass at the festival) and lots of ciders and beers. Costumes and a hell of a lot of glitter filled ur bags, but everything else we needed was already at the festival or in our amazing campsite. We were in North camping, just a short walk from the Market Stage which was filled with the most amazing music almost 24/7, the food stalls which had a great selection, and the chill-out areas.IMG_2563IMG_2561Although the music is the main event and I had an fantastic time watching the acts, there was a lot more to the festival with plenty of amazing fun for kids, healing and massage areas, talks on everything from depression to psychedelics and society, creative workshops on survival skills, yoga and meditation, and art. There was so much going on and so much to do, you didn’t want to sleep or waste a single second. It was an absolutely amazing event and I well and truly give it the Absolutely Lucy stamp of approval – if you’re backpacking Australia and happen to be in Melbourne around January next year, I really recommend picking up a ticket. Trust me this festival is a life-changing experience and you won’t regret splashing the money. IMG_1218

Photos provided by myself and Hannah Gunstone, even they don’t do the festival justice but they certainly give you a taste of the fun!

Have you been to Rainbow Serpent – tell me about your festival highlights? What other festivals have you been to while travelling?

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Watching the world through a screen

cameraMy first festival of 2014 gave me a good opportunity to ease myself in to a summer of raving in the sunshine. A non-camping festival, We Are FSTVL gave a perfect chance to have a couple of days in the sun (and a bit of rain) dancing with good friends to amazing music. While I was there I was lucky enough to see the likes of Annie Mac, Knife Party and Fatboy Slim giving massive sets on the main stages. It was incredible to finally see three of the top acts I have been dying to see live on a main stage in just one festival and with a huge line-up We Are FSTVL was a surprisingly intimate affair. Despite this, I noticed a continuing theme across the stages and tents, which made me slightly sad. Forget those who are hepped up on pills and the rest, forget those who are too drunk to stand up, forget those who decide to light up flares in the middle of a crowd. At least these guys are living in the moment and are really making the most of the experience. These ones aren’t the ones who bother me.

The ones who really upset me are the ones who are living it through a screen. I might be overreacting slightly, but it actually really offends me to see a crowd full of people who are watching a once-in-a-lifetime set as a DJ they have been wanting to see all their lives closes the main stage, but that they would prefer to watch it through their camera lens. After seeing Fatboy Slim play XOYO in London on the opening night of his Eat Sleep Rave Repeat tour, my mind was blown. I had never expected I would actually get a chance to see him live in my lifetime, let alone playing brand new material. But from then on, the dream grew and I was just desperate to see his set transform from the basement of a tiny, dark club to the main stage at a festival and how lucky I was to find he would be headlining the first festival of my summer! I, and all my friends, were beyond excited to see him play live and we made sure we got up on one of the platforms facing the main stage nice and early so we could get a good spot for Annie Mac as well. We had a perfect view of the whole crowd, the main stage and the sky above it which was filled with fireworks, flames and confetti throughout.10371481_10152067841697617_8181578491216340227_nSo imagine my dismay at seeing the people around us pulling out their camera phones and holding them up for the entire set. Not just up on the platform, but even down in the crowd, there was a sea of phones raised to the sky. What is the point? Can anyone tell me? In the days of Woodstock and early Glasto – when some would argue festivals were at their finest – no-one had camera phones or insisted on Instagramming every moment. Instead they lived every second, they dances to the music, felt it in their bones and spent the time meeting people, making friends and singing along. THIS is what festivals are all about. I know the convenience of camera phones means people want to capture every moment, and I have no problem with that as I too love to take photos of my friends smiling and happy, to keep those memories for long after the hangover had faded.

My problem is that people are choosing to do this rather than live the festival and the music. They would rather watch the whole explosive and incredible set through the phone screen and be sure that it is perfectly framed and looks like you are having an amazing time rather than actually experiencing it themselves. These are the people who don’t end up dancing at the festival, the ones who arrive home looking as perfect as when they set out and care more about the way the festival looks than feels. To me, the most important thing has always been they way I felt in that moment. When you see an incredible headliner take over the main stage after waiting months to see them live, when the stage explodes with confetti and flames, when you are singing along so hard you lose your voice, when you’re dancing so hard you nearly knock out the person next to you, and when you and a complete stranger throw your arms round each other and bellow out the words because you’re both just so excited. THAT is what festivals are about, losing yourself in the moment. They are about getting home and trying to tell people about it, but knowing that words just cannot do that moment justice. That no matter how you try to describe it, that those who weren’t there just won’t understand.1601495_10152067841647617_2257286975690457222_nMy concern is that our technology is so convenient that so many are missing out on this experience. They don’t know the beauty of having a single picture that transports you back to that moment and how you felt, rather than an hour-long video of the set with terrible sound and a jiggly camera focus. Who really wants to sit there watching it back later on? Do you really think your friends will be jealous when they see you spent that hours-long set videoing it rather than enjoying it? I certainly wouldn’t be jealous of that, I would just consider it a wasted ticket. I have lots more festivals in the pipeline for this summer and I just hope I will be seeing a lot less of this and a lot more people living in the moment. Ironically, one of my favourite festivals from last summer was BoomTown fair which was all about the experience and I barely have any pictures from it because I was so caught up in the moment and thoroughly enjoyed myself. (See my preview for BoomTown here.)

What kind of festival-goer are you – guilty of living behind a lens or totally in the moment and forgetting you have a camera?

Reliving my HUGE festival summer as the official videos are released

Hideout Festival 2013 on the Island of Pag, Croatia, was the biggest week of my year. I partied around-the-clock for seven days straight with my boyfriend and amazing friends from home and university. I even made some new friends while out there that have since become my raving buddies. It was a huge week and so much fun. I watched the sun rise and set every single day, I danced on stages, sand, in pools and the sea, on buses and boats and anywhere else I could find. I made incredible memories and can be sure I’ll never forget them. It’s amazing to see the final video, but to be honest this is a very tame version of the Hideout I experienced. However, I can’t deny that when I hear that beat and bass kick in, it’s like being back on Zcre Beach! If only I was, instead of in chilly old England!

Boomtown Fair 2013, in Winchester, was officially the craziest weekend of my life. I saw so much while I was there than my brain felt like it was melting and my eyes couldn’t take in any more. The festival was vast, the stages huge and the music was incredible. I loved every second, again went with fantastic old friends and made some new ones there. It was such a peaceful place and yet so intense and mind-boggling. The theatre acts and side-shows were my favourite because they were always what you least expected and transported you into crazy new worlds. I still don’t believe, and can’t explain half the things I saw there. It was like falling down the rabbit hole.

Memories of Boomtown Fair 2013

While having a bit of a wardrobe clear out on Sunday morning, I came across a backpack we used to carry stuff round the festival at Boomtown Fair, in Winchester, back in August. Inside the backpack was still a few bits and pieces, including the card of a photographer who snapped myself and Mark while dancing in the Lion’s Den stage over the weekend. The photograph was snapped by a photographer who was working for Wuwo Magazine and brings back a lot of memories on what was a particularly fun day! On this day, I was wearing a Topshop dress and glasses.

Part 3: A busy summer touring round as many festivals as possible – V Festival

Finally, a very busy summer ended abruptly with V Festival – a birthday present from my sister – day tickets to go and see Beyonce! Now V Festival was easily the chavviest festival I have ever been to – definitely not one I would go back to because of the type of people who go, but amazing opportunity to see an incredible singer perform live!

Laura and I headed on the train down to Chelmsford where we made it on to the festival site quickly and worked out where we wanted to go…

We started the day with a bit of a lunchtime rave, at my request, to see Netsky DJ for the second time this summer.. a bit of moshing and heavy beats

Unfortunately, this tent was also where I witnessed a girl getting punched square in the face and carrying on slamming herself into people despite blood pouring out of her head.. Then another guy whipping out his manhood and start peeing all over the feet of the people in front of him (and laughing about it) – Gross.

We checked out the smaller tents and found hip-hop karaoke in the Carling one – we hung around to laugh at the attempts and we amazed when Wretch 32 leaped on stage to perform Blackout! Amazing performance!

 A bit rainy later on, but we managed to see Katy B, Labrinth, Fun, Of Monsters and Men and a lot of others!

 These guys were the best set of the day other than Beyonce! Amazing and will definitely be downloading their album.

Beyonce was incredible, but a shame some members of the crowd were more interested in starting fights than enjoying the music.

It was a great day, but I was glad to go home and not have to stay and camp.

A few weeks later, we had been due to go along to the new Pearl Festival with a group of friends – more press tickets I had blagged. But sadly the festival folded and was cancelled just days before! A huge disappointment for those of us looking for one last furore of the summer!

Part 1: A busy summer touring round as many festivals as possible – Wyndstock and Hideout Festival

Now that the summer is clearly drawing to a close, I’ve spent the last week huddled under an umbrella with soggy feet in my sad-looking ballet pumps, shivering despite wearing several layers and the token pashmina has come out of storage. I find myself reminiscing and feeling pretty happy with the way I spent my summer, after a short holiday in Croatia for a music festival, forgoing my usual two-week break abroad, I spent the rest of the summer touring around music festivals across the UK and for once getting to make the most of the beautiful, if late, summer we have had in the UK.

After discovering music festivals last year when I went to Manchester’s Parklife Weekender with my university friends, they ignited something in me that although already aware of, had never really unleashed before now. My love of music, dancing and meeting all types of new people from across the country was perfectly suited to the lifestyle and I had no choice but to further indulge when I went along to Glade Festival and Zoo Project Festival – all attracting very different crowds, from the chavvier types to the laid back hippies, I had a fantastic time at all and quickly decided that 2013 would be my festival summer.

Thankfully, my friends, family and jobs all helped to make this happen and despite going to five festivals this summer, I actually only paid for one set of tickets – top blagger, I know.

It all started at Wyndstock, a new addition to the scene which is marketed as the anti-festival. Set up by Victor Wynd as a party for his friends and like-minded individuals to enjoy a Midsummer Ball in the beautiful setting of Houghton Hall, in my home town, the event is for the more upmarket festival-goer. There was dancing, feasting, fireworks, literature talks, petting of prize bulls, a “fox hunt”, falconry, puppet theatre, lawn games, tours of the stately home, jazz, storytelling and stargazing amongst many more amazing activities. My favourite was the swing-dancing lessons and competition, which my boyfriend won and was very proud about. I love anything vintage-inspired and Gatsby-esque and this was an amazing opportunity to get very glammed up and go to a banquet of lobster and venison before partying the night away with some amazing people.

Before the hunt, meeting the horses and hounds..

Glammed up for the banquet and a night of dancing..

Meeting the host for the evening, Victor Wynd himself…

Our swing-dancing teachers shared dinner with us..

Mark winning the swing-dancing competition..

All in all, a very fun festival with amazing benefits such as being a small and intimate affair, and very posh toilets and showers!

Then we boarded a plane to the Island of Pag in Croatia for Hideout Festival which was very much a festival for the beautiful people – everyone had amazing bodies and the perfect tan. But I wasn’t bothered about all of that, we had a team of friends with us and more meeting us out there for one thing only – to dance until the sun came up every day.

There were a lot of amazing DJs coming along to play the festival and I was very excited to see a whole range of them including Julio Bashmore, Chase and Status, Skream and Benga, David Rodigan, Rudimental, Seth Troxler, Andy C, Pendulum, Redlight, B-Traits and many, many more… Here are some of my snaps:

Sunset on the first day in Croatia.. such a beautiful country!

Packed out stages…

The King’s Lynn crew ready to rave until dawn..

David Rodigan – one of my favourite sets of the whole week!

Raving is even more fun when you do it with some of your best friends…

Chase and Status were pretty intense…

Boat party with Midland, MK and Julio Bashmore playing… so nice to get away from the festival for a short time..

And sadly, ending with Rudimental, who only gave a rubbish DJ set rather than a full show – such a disappointment!

I wrote about my experiences at Hideout Festival in a preview and review for This Festival Feeling in exchange for press tickets.

Check out my next posts for the rest of my experiences…