When he appeared clad ’round the head with a fresh bandage I knew it was time for bed. I was trying to enjoy an anti-social break from the festival while smoking a cigarette, listening to The Doors and charging my phone. I personally had seen the line to get back in after going to the bathroom during Art vs Science’s set, but decided to accept its impossibility. Greg, on the other hand, up to his eyeballs in cheap liquor decided to vault the fence from the camp-grounds to the festival site. His haste and inebriation combined to have him plummet head first into one of the fence’s concrete supports. So that was it for me. Which was pretty reasonable, really, even at 11pm on the Friday night of a music festival, because I’d been up for 39 hours. I’ll explain that.
I was slumped at my desk at 4.30pm the previous day, psyching myself up for the six hour drive I was immediately to begin after leaving work. As my editor wandered past I, with a pleading look in my eyes, asked the question: “Ron, can I have an early mark? I’ve got a six hour drive to get started, and would like to get it over with as soon as possible.”
“Sure,” he said. “Just make sure Mikarla (chief of staff) has everything she needs from you.”
She had. And after some banter with colleagues about music festivals cancelled due to poor ticket sales, of which the one I was going to wasn’t, I got out of there faster than a politician dodging questions about a budget blow-out. Then ran into completely stand-still traffic, of course.
At about 100km north of Kempsey I ceased being amazed at the fact my 2000 model red – to go faster – Hyandai Accent could travel five hours on a half tank, and climaxed my frustration at the seemingly never-ending roadwork the Pacific Hwy south of Tweed Heads is. It was 9pm, and a lollipop man, probably earning more in an hour than just under what I make in a day, had us parked. Whatever, I had been told it was a six hour drive and I finally pulled up outside Festival of the Sun at about 10.30pm after leaving at 5pm. Not bad, considering the roadworks, one bathroom break in Coffs Harbour and a second by the side of a creepy truck stop in the middle of Nowheresville, population rapists and murderers.
The bloke out the front asked if I was going to FOTSun. I said yes. He told me to follow the fence and have my ticket and ID ready. I was never asked for either. I quite liked the idea of lax security at a festival as I’d never experienced it before. Received a snide remark disguised as a compliment on the way in. A smart-arse thought my floral-print foam mattress was “pretty”. Screw the bastard and the hottie he rode in on. I eventually found the crew while wandering through what looked like a circus with an unrestricted bar tab. Even for the animals. They turned in pretty quickly, because three of them were fellow surfers and two of them had their girls with them. A more excellent reason for going to bed I can’t think of, though I’m not exactly spoiled in that regard. Luckily I’d drank two Highland scotch and cokes during the drive in and another during the brief moments before bed, so I was optimistic about sleeping. Though I was a little worried at the heightened noise and energy levels surrounding us, which exhibited no signs of abatement.