Ahh ConFest is now a memory as I’m back at work, but this is the first time I have the chance to actually write about it here
ConFest is a lovely alternative camping festival full of workshops and hippie fun, held at Xmas and Easter in a remote location in the middle of the bush near the NSW-Victorian border, about 12 hours from Sydney.
Let’s see what happened…
Chris and I packed up and drove down to Wagga where we slept for a night, then continued on to Deniliquin and then to the actual campsite. Neither of us had any idea just how remote this location was, about 95km from the nearest town with a supermarket. Yes, we actually did make this 200km round-trip once for food, my longest shopping trip for groceries!
On the way there we admired the bush, listened to lots of music and non-violent communication (more about this later!), patted the half-blind local dog at our Wagga hotel, listened to the shrieking sounds of cockatoos and admired the signs on the road that warned us of not taking any tomatoes with us in case we carry fruitflies. Hm.
We got there on the Sunday when the festival was in full swing. Having just scraped in through the gate before the sun went down (damn daylight saving, damn gates closing at dusk!) we quickly went on to find a spot in the already full camping grounds and set up our tent before the mosquitoes could completely devour us.
Took me a little while to give up my urban comforts and accept that I was going to be very dirty indeed. We had mostly lovely weather with just one day of full-on rain, Chris even got to bathe in the Edward river… me, I just took photos
Monday morning, ok, after a coffee and morning rituals it was actually afternoon by the time we found the information tent… we had a look at the dozens of workshops on offer. Anything from chanting and yoga, to sustainable living and tying up your testicles! What a wonderful way of using your freedoms with other like-minded human monkeys!
Sunday night we admired the fire twirlers and drumming circle and found some of our friends just by wondering around. 5000 people is big enough to lose your friends but small enough to find them without having to resort to messages at the info booth. Needless to say mobile phones don’t work here, you are back in the middle ages in terms of both technology and lifestyle… peaceful and stress-free, albeit dirty and inefficient too.
My favourite bits were hanging out in the hippie cafe, watching this big dusty group of alternative people doing their crazy stuff around us, hanging out with friends, and going around the site taking lots of photos.
Eventually we got the hang of camp cooking and duly downgrading my expectations for dinner and comforts. We cooked some wonderful meals with a random bunch of wonderful weirdos and created lots of simple edibles in front of our tent.
I certainly acquired a new found appreciation for basic comforts and also really enjoyed the relaxing, the kind you will never find in the city. The bush was amazing, part wet land, part normal Aussie bush, with goannas, possums making weird mating noises at night, frogs barking in the billabong, millions of bugs, moth, mozzies and critters of all sorts, gorgeous trees, wide open spaces, the cycles of bush life, and just seeing thousands of stars without the city lights at night is so wonderful. You get to appreciate the smallest things to the biggest: from the wonder of a frog to the wide open universe… or maybe that’s just the hippie spirit talking
Some photos for you on the left… more when I get to part 2