Confest Easter 2018 - Oh man what a trip.

This was my first ever bush camping festival.

No order to the ramblings.

The mens circle was better than expected, but only until after I left did I
feel more grounded. During I felt disconnected from men more than anything else because their experiences they related were so different to how I think about things but then I only get to hear their two minute tale and it doesn't reflect their reality in their mind, just their ability to express it. I found myself unable to express myself in any meaningful way during the circle, but some stuff was close to the surface bubbling away. The explanation that due to emotional and physical trauma that I maintain a primarily neutral emotional state, avoiding the lows, but preventing the highs, really hit me in the feels.

I met a girl Sarah, who I danced with on thursday night and I felt we made a
great connection I talked to her a lot over the weekend, I hope I have made a new friend. She has my contact details but I don't have hers :|

I found confest to be really dirty, it was dusty and it was prickly with three corner jacks everywhere.

The festival itself was amazeballs, the no amplified music rule really made me excited. I have a problem with amplified music and camping, the last few times I've gone camping people playing music has completely spoiled it, turning a blissful serene experience into a teenage house party, no thanks. Real instruments seem not to have the same effect.

The drumming circles were monotonous and distant enough that I didnt hve a problem sleeping through and I had generators near my tent creating a sort of white noise effect. I also had ear plugs which were unnecessary but helped reduce the noise to almost nothing.

Shaylee, Nathan and Hing were great camp friends, highly independent and self
directing. I never felt like someone was hanging on me, and I never felt like I
was hanging on them. We all did our own thing most of the time and shared our stories when we caught up frequently back at our base.

I had heaps more friends there than expected. So many people: Gaia,
Sundance, Lisa, Sam, Nolly, Some random naked dude from Adelaide uni who I can't remember his name but I remember we had a positive conversation at a party once. i'm sure there are more, I felt like there are way more.

And our neighbours were awesome.
Random people I met were awesome.

My favourite times of the day were in the morning for coffee, sitting down next
to strangers, or having strangers sit down next to you and giving them
attention to discuss the randomness of the world and universe, making new
contacts and friends as desired.

And the evening communal cookup was so good!! instant volunteers and people
wanting to help each other make a meal to eat. on two nights it happened and I
definitely want to make it happen every night next time.

Things I want to remember to change for myself for next time are:
  • Dustpan and broom for all the crap you track into your tent
  • Large metal rake to clean up the campsite
  • Hammer or mallet for tent pegs and stuff
  • Maybe a soil screen so I can separate out the dirt from the prickles and burn the remainder
  • Fresh food enough for multiple days, Gaia brought an absolute feast with her
  • Less trash, pack items with the intention of reducing trash to a minimum
  • Maintain the campsite such that packing is as simple as zipping up a few bags and walking away, there was too much mess
  • Take a bike with trailer, or sack-truck or something to make carrying bags  and things easier.
  • Camp in the forest
  • Less camping and doing for the sake of doing, and more living, which means showering and bathing at regular intervals and being naked because its practical not because I want to fit in.
  • Take my instruments, I almost took bongo's, ukelele, and clarinet but didn't.

I didn't get burnt which was great!

People I met
  • Shaman energy healer - Paul I think, gave me some great tips on ayahuasca but I had to part when he started talking about antivax
  • Chris the songwriting stonemason, who was just great for morning coffee chats
  • Bod, who I discussed something with I can't remember, karma and spirituality I think, he had been living in india, I met him wandering through the acrotown, I remember him being very gracious when the people I was with preferred to talk over him with what they thought rather than listen to his 50ish years of experience in the subject matter
  • Sarah and her friend Vincent, Sarah I've already talked about and I had a nice long chat with Vincent too about psychedelics and perception
  • Sarah's friend who was one of the absolute loveliest women I think I've ever met, her brother's name is Samuel, and we had a good and instant bond.
  • Three girls from the salsa tent who were always up for a dance, and a wave  and hug
  • The gardener girl who I don't remember the name of who so graciously engaged in conversation with me as we walked past each other. She liked soil and bugs and I thought she was really cool, we spent a lot of time talking about life and things. I think it was Clarissa, or Carissa. 
  • The loads of first timers I met who looked as wide eyed and awkward as I felt
  • Peter the sound healer who I met first
  • Many more

I noticed that there is an opportunity every time you make eye contact with
someone to engage with them in a meaningful way and I really want to cultivate
my ability to take action on that. I also noticed that I have been avoiding
most of the interactions with women because I am scared of rejection,
judgement, dismissal, etc.. In dance I am supremely confident due to my
training, however every other aspect of life I am very shy and I feel a bit stupid.

Contact improv was great, I engaged with four-five people and because its dance
I just walked in late, took my shoes off and grabbed the first person who was
standing on the sidelines. It was his first time and was grateful to me, I then
was engaged with a girl who enjoyed floor work and we worked together as a
threesome until she moved on and I moved around the crowd. I danced with Sarah and I felt that we danced beautifully together, connected and comfortable, it was a moment of bliss for me. I danced with another girl and we moved too fast, against our nature, due to the music, and an older gentleman who gave me eye contact, and was the moment I realised that eye contact was a signal of interest or attention that could be a way to make new connections. It was in contrast with the eye contact I received from a woman across the floor and really hit home how insecure I am in regards to women.

None of the nakedness bothered me at all, I was uncomfortable with the
nakedness due to the internal pressure I placed on myself to perhaps get naked.
and it makes sense as I was discovering new opportunities and worlds, I had
been given the open choice to become naked in public where I would not be
judged on the sheer fact of being naked. I eventually figured out that I simply
enjoy wearing clothes, the softness of clothes compared to the surrounding
harsh textures of the world, the warmth they provide, etc. I don't mind being
naked for practical reasons, to shower, or bathe, but to be naked for the sake
of it was not interesting or desirable to me. I don't receive a feeling of
freedom whilst being naked any more than I do wearing clothes. So next year I
will be interested to see whether this changes at all. I basically reverted to
the clothes that I would wear around the home alone, commando with harem pants and a t-shirt or not. I was very comfortable.

I didn't attend many workshops, I preferred to walk through the forest until I
stumbled on a new interaction, or something. I stumbled into the jam village
and played the tambourine for about 10-20 minutes, I stumbled into a campsite
where I was invited to stay and chat for an hour, I stumbled into an acro
workshop which i joined in and helped out some people. I stumbled into friends and spent hours talking to them.

The fire twirlers were amazing, there was one particular girl who came out in a
skirt who had beautiful lines when she danced with the staff, her skirt started
to slip off and she kicked it off and kept dancing. she was so beautiful and
skillful. I found the female fire twirlers far more proficient than the men as
they seemed to add more dancing to their movement creating more interesting
shapes. There was a guy with a boulder of flame he would throw at the audience
and catch it like a yoyo just before it hit them. I watched my friend gaia and
her mate leo spin fire for the crowd.

In the open stage I caught the end of a band who played with such hilarious
gusto it reminded me of my childhood camping trips with the family when we sang "jodies an old lady, when she turns sixteen, which we never saw her, makes you want to scream, etc.." one of my best childhood memories camping up to Uluru. Confest was very much like that camping trip. I think my dad would
have loved it.

Things I would like improved
  • Instead of generators, battery banks on trailers swapped out for charging  when possible. would reduce the noise even more
  • A moratorium on ridiculous LED light installations
  • Better lighting for community kitchens
  • Some sort of driven mulch machine that either filters out the prickles or grinds them to dust.
  • Better signage everywhere
  • Advice on how to wear a headlamp so you don't blind everyone, I just didn't wear mine unless I absolutely had to and used the red light most of the time
  • The salsa workshop used amplified music which was contrary to the spirit of the event I felt. I have some ideas on how to resolve that
  • Clear direction on daylight savings time switch over
I know that these things can be changed if I put some action behind them rather than just a thought.

What I want to do for next time
  • Run the salsa and bachata workshops, but I don't want to step on anyone's toes
  • Get a little more time off work and help out more, it's clear they need more  than the two hour volunteers for some more complex things.
  • Engage more with people, my shy nature prevents me from interacting with more people, so many more interesting conversations and things that could  have happened
  • Participate in more things
  • Wear clothing that invites interactions, like "free hugs" and the like.
  • Get body painted, I just need to be less particular, perhaps I could body  paint others. 

So stuff I couldn't possible write about it all, So much I will miss until next time

I have never been to anything like this before, I really loved it.

I'm so impressed with confest, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.