You went to Confest again? Why would you want to get nude with a thousand randoms and play music in the mud for a week..?
This is a pretty typical reaction to announcing my intention of attending Australia’s premier weirdo convention. Confest number 3 for me. The first one I went to in 2007 was a life changing experience, the second one was even better, and the third was the best yet.
(Top: Nia dancing her butt off at ConFest.)
Everyone should go to Confest. It’s hard to define, but when people ask me about it now, I tell them ‘it’s an idealism festival’. There’s music, but no scheduled gigs. People jam 24/7, and there’s a blackboard stage for more organised bands. There are hundreds of workshops during the week, and the workshop program is completely user driven and democratic. There are huge blackboards set up, and anyone can write up a workshop they want to lead in a vacant slot, and see who turns up. I’ve organised hitchhiker meet ups at the last two Confests, and they were increasingly well attended, and very good fun. Lots of funny stories.
This Confest I also hosted a thumb wrestling championship, which, sadly, was not so well attended.
(Photo below: yes, that is your humble narrator, hosting the first “World Thumb Wrestling Championships” at Confest.)
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The site of the festival is just outside Moulamein, a dusty little town in outback Australia. There is a river running through the site, and the ‘Arts Beach’ is one of the most popular hangouts. Clothing is optional during the entire week, so skinny dipping in the river is just irresistible in the hot inland climate. A few hard-core Confesters strip off at the front gate and stay nude for the entire festival.
This was the first Confest I went to with Nia. It was also Nia’s first hitchhiking trip. I had a lot of reservations and a few anxieties about hitching with Nia, but she took to it with a passion, and declared at the end of the trip that it was her new fave’ way to travel. We made a great team, and co-operated better as a couple than we have in a long time. We both spent a lot of time in the music marquee jamming, and talking to other travelers.
(Below: jamming at Confest. Nia far left, then me with bleached head.)