Last night I stained my sleeping mat with red wine. I was setting up camp to the fading light in a hidden corner of a field, casually enjoying some fermented grape juice. I would take a sip between tasks and merrily go about my way. A local grasshopper took this as an invitation for a free bar, unbeknownst to me, and had grass-hopped into my cup. It was on that particular sip that I felt their twig like features touch my lips, prompting me to launch my cup into the field and spray the contents of said sip all over my camp. The collateral damage was minimal, except for my sleeping mat that resembled a murder scene.

A morning stop at a cafe for a refreshing iced tea put me only 16 kilometres away from the festival gates. I was a little ahead of schedule as the festival was still three days away. So the next few nights would be a good chance to rest and recuperate before the party begins. I found a campsite on the opposite side of the lake where a lot of eager festival goers were also camping. The site had laundry facilities, a bar and two swimming pools. It was a good place to call home for the next two days, especially with the midday sun topping 40°C.

By the end of the second day all my laundry was done, the stallion had received some much needed TLC, I had lost numerous games of pool to a Portuguese kid and I had cycled into town to stock up on groceries before the festival.

I had also spent a lot of time down by the lake. It was so peaceful – I guess it was the calm before the storm.

I was on the bicycle at 6:30 AM the next morning to cycle around the lake to Boom Festival’s pre-campsite. Those of us who cycled here were allowed first access into the festival grounds tomorrow. By 10:00 AM we had received our festival wrist bands and were settling into the pre-camp ground. It was hot, crowded and dusty, but spirits were flying high. Music was coming from all directions, each camp having their own individual party. There was no power here so my solar panel was working overtime trying to charge my devices. And everyone else’s!

Us cyclists had a 4:00 AM wake up call the following day, and 15 minutes later we were all in convoy waiting to make the morning run to the festival gates. There was more than 40 of us from all over europe, including a few people all the way from the USA. It was quite the gathering to be had at 4:30 AM in near darkness at the side of the road.

One guy was carrying a huge stereo system on his bike so when we got moving our convoy had its own soundtrack, It was quite the experience! There was lots of whistling and excited screams as we neared the festival entrance.

They opened the gates at 6:24 AM – the time the sun was set to rise, and we all spilled in.

A couple of hours later I had my camp set up, with plenty of space for when my friends would join later in the day when the main bulk of the festival goers would arrive. The festival program would begin in two days, giving time to fill the grounds with 30,000 people before the madness ensued.

My friends arrived and the madness did ensue – A general lack of coherence over the next eight days made documenting my time at the festival a little difficult. But I wasn’t there for that, I was there to celebrate my journey and enjoy my time. Which I did, thoroughly!

There were spaces to dance, socialise, eat, relax, learn, grow, heal, create and just be truly yourself. I’ve never known a situation where so many people can come together without any form of conflict or judgement. It really was eight days of community and oneness. I would love to go back again for a third time some year.

As all good things must come to an end, so did this festival. I was going to attend the three day after-party at the festivals second location with my friends. It was quite some distance away and would require a bus journey. I made it there, but due to some unforeseen circumstances my time there was interrupted and cut short. I didn’t mind all that much, after 10 days off the pedals I was eager to get back to cycling. 🚲

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