Rainbow Serpent Festival 2013 was an insane eye-opener! As a Rainbow debutant, I felt this overwhelming sense of excitement that my experience was to become a mind-blowing occurrence. Preceding Rainbow, everytime I asked what it was going to be like, all I got was a “you wait and see” answer which only made me anxiously anticipate the event even more.
Arriving Friday evening, we had the near impossible task of putting up the tent in total darkness ahead of us, but managed to assemble it rather quickly and without incident to our surprize. That night was spent in a celebratory mood, drinking ciders and cherry vodkas, proudly relishing in the fact we did a great job, before deciding to go check out the entertainment. We had set up camp in the overflow area just beyond the entrance, so that meant quite a long walk. In fact, the whole weekend was made up of alot of constant walking. We estimated we must of walked an average of at least 10ks a day!
The walk to the playground was amazing! Surrounded in pitch black darkness with multicoloured oscilloscopic lights you wore as you walked, was freaky! A magical thriving hub of wonderful havoc, the music could be heard thumping from wherever you were, psytrance mixed with dance, electro swing, funk, dub, that place was certainly serving up some tasty beats.
The Market stage was host to a wide array of artists across many genres, and seen some wild eclectic costumed characters dancing to a succession of progressive techno house fused beats. This place was definitely the spot to be dancing your ass off amongst a community of fun seekers. We just wandered in, stayed and went nuts for a while dancing to some fabulous sets. Its here you usually bump into friends, as the Market draws everyone in.
The Chill stage was my personal fave. A place to chill, relax, stretched out on lounges with hay bundles and rugs, and attractive subdued lighting, the mood there was let-loose, listening to downbeats, creating the perfect ambience to groove to. We usually ended up there after grabbing a bite to eat, the night turning chilly, chilling to the lush aural delectation. My faves were Numatica, Animatronix, Auma, Algorithm, to name a few.
Talking about chilly, that was the one thing I wasnt prepared for! When someone tells you the nights are cold, you think OK maybe 1 or 2 nights so 1 jumper is sufficient, but NO! You really need to pack a separate winter wardrobe or else freeze to death, as I had discovered Friday evening. Doesnt matter that its the middle of summer. The temperatures in the open country drop dramatically at night. You feel this as soon as the sun starts setting. My teeth were clattering and I couldnt sleep trying to stay warm. I had worn my zip up jacket, had cocooned myself in a sleeping bag, socks, but it wasnt enough. By contrast, the days warmed soon after the sun came up, so much that you couldnt stand to be in the tent for very long!
In the heat of the day, the best place to be was in the hammock jungle. A colourful sea of hammocks swinging with scores of people chilling under shaded cloth canopies. It was almost a ritual. The hypnotic sounds that drifted in formed the ideal accompaniment. mmmmm You could take a book and read, nap or just rock to the rhythm.
The many workshops and speakers in the lifestyle village were interesting. An inviting, tree filled haven, the lifestyle village was a space for creative self expression, to learn new skills, be inspired and meet new friends. Massage, yoga, art, discussions, soundsphere, solar cinema, workshops, healing were on offer throughout the 4 days. Expand Your Possibilities with music in particular, was fascinating. It explored the journey of creating music from the heart, how everything creative should come forth from the heart with passion, and instead of brainstorming, we should be heartstorming. The sounds emanating from soundsphere featured the worlds best sound healers with music as therapy.
A cozy chai tent we ended up at often was a buzzing little place. It boasted a tiny cabaret stage with quirky performers, serving the best chai and tea. During the day, there were mini tables with rugs and purple cushions to sit on under tiny colourful umbrellas, with soothing sounds, surrounded by other delish exotic stalls. The choices were many, and most times made the decision of what to eat difficult. We mainly stuck to refreshing, light meals with plenty of fluids to keep up hydration. On Friday evening, the chai tent entertained us with a cute cabaret and I even got an up close and personal lesson in sound management from the friendly ‘sound engineer’, her dials she was tweeking resembling tiny spools of cotton. The deck was no bigger than a square dinner plate, which was amazing since all the sound from the mics and instruments were plugged into it. She let me turn the dials and distort the sounds which made the band laugh at the dissonance it created. WHAT FUN!
Soon enough, we had to use the toliets which basically meant a makeshift platform divided into individual cubicles with a toliet seat and no flushing water but only a bucket of sawdust lol Surprizingly, it wasnt really that bad. Smell wise I mean. Although we did try to avoid using them as much as we could. Pissing at night behind the tent was normal it seems everyone did it! Even when out and about, one could easily find a suitable spot to release the waterworks.
On Saturday evening, the main stage was host to the Rainbow Serpent Festival Opening Ceremony which honoured the traditional custodians of the land, the Wathaurong Nation. Male and female tribal descendants performed traditional indigenous dancing around sacred chants and a smoke filled stage. Part of the ceremony also included an emotional address from Adriana Buccianti, who spoke of her son Daniel, who succumbed to an overdose at last years 2012 Rainbow. From that point on, Rainbow came alive even more. The mountain had turned into a spectacular display of weird and wonderful alternate patterns that changed often. I tried photographing this, but I couldnt get a decent picture. No, correction, I couldnt get ANY picture with or without flash, even if I got close. GRRR! bummed, as that was one of the main highlights.
Our encounter with altered states of awareness was, lets just say, quite the 4 dimentional experience. Colours seemed enhanced, the forest came alive, entering into a higher realm. Although just being at Rainbow was one massive 2 Diefortrip0mine
Come Monday, packing up and heading home a little sore, weary and lots filthy, we couldnt wait to jump into a long shower, use a decent toliet and sleep in a comfy bed. Ahhh, civilization!