Another of my quests was to attend some festivals and concerts. I had never been to one before and Australia had hundreds of them. My love of dance and trance lead me to book tickets to a one day event. I was to be joined by a new Canadian friend, Gary. We set off towards the venue at 11am and the butterflies in my stomach started to flutter as I saw the hordes of other ravers streaming down Oxford Street towards the gates. Once in we explored the different tents and stages. Water fountains were dotted about everywhere, along with bars, merchandise and first aid stands. Piling into an indoor arena the crowd went wild as Zombie Nation played out their famous hits. Spiky white inflatable globes hung from the ceiling and enormous speakers pumped out thumping dance tunes whilst the revellers screamed in excitement. Attached to an invisible wire multi coloured orbs appeared to be floating as they lit up the room and large screens flashed with patterned lights behind the DJ’s decks. I felt the electrified energy of the room run through me as I moved my body, riding the rhythms.
After the set we shielded our eyes as we left the arena and emerged back out into the daylight. One of my favourite groups were performing in the main arena and I was dying to watch them. The sun beat down and security guards in front of the stage alternated between filling people’s water bottles and spraying the crowd with large hoses. Security and promoters were throwing Chubba Chup lollipops out into the mass of bodies, which were all moving in time to the music as the band belted out their well known track. I watched in dismay as everyone except me managed to grab or catch a lolly. Eventually I saw a swarm of the brightly coloured sweets flying through the air, destined to land a few meters in front of me. I shot forward and beamed with happiness as I clutched the shiny wrapper of my new treasure. I sucked on it with all the contentment of a delighted child as Gary bounced around with the energy of one. We must have danced for hours and dusk began to fall. All of a sudden Gary started to point upwards excitedly. Looking up I saw hundreds of bats flying en mass, circling the stage. The crowd was building as we all waited for the headline act Deadmau5 to arrive. By this time we had been dancing all day and I was running out of energy. However I wasn’t about to risk missing a second of the performance just to grab a Redbull, but I knew exactly where to get a sugar hit from. I squeezed my way to the front of the crowd and approached a security guard. I looked him in the eyes and asked,
“Do you have any more Chupa-Chups?”
Him: light-heartedly, “No sorry, we’re all out.”
Me: leaning in closer and lowering my voice, “I know you’ve got some”
Him: looking shifty, “Maybe.”
Me: with pleading eyes, “I only want one!”
Him: attempting to be firm, “If I give you one, they will all want them and I don’t have enough to go round.”
Me: looking serious “I won’t tell anyone, I promise.”
Him: looking even more serious, “Ok, get a close as you can, slide your hand through the fence and grab one out of my pocket. Don’t let anyone see!”
It felt as if I was taking part in a drug deal, but my persistence paid and I returned to Gary with a hand full of lollies. The sea of people stretched as far as I could see, some with arms held up in the air, some sat on each other’s shoulders and most dancing away amongst a forest of bodies. Suddenly the music stopped, the stage went dark and everyone stilled, breath baited as we waited for the set which was to be the high light of the whole event. After a few moments, a beat began to play. It continued for a few minutes building our anticipation. Then the lights blazed up and a huge scream erupted from the crowd. My pulse raced wildly as the tune started to pump and the DJ known as Deadmau5 to step onto the stage, complete with his trademark giant mouse mask hiding his face. The set was amazing, thousands of people drawn together through a passion for music. I danced until my feet were so soar I could hardly stand. Amongst the chaos, Gary and I exchanged a smile, silently acknowledging the day’s brilliance. The event came to a close around 10pm, I wanted it to last forever. My first day festival had been one to remember.