Confest is outrageous. I’ve been to three now, and I go every chance I get.
What is it?
It’s a festival. It’s a party. It’s a love-in. It’s a new age spiritual pilgrimage.
Between 6,000 and 8,000 people gather on a river flat in the Australian outback. Some days it’s ferociously hot and dusty. Some days the rain falls in curtains, and the site becomes muddy and green.
Mud is always a big part of Confest. There’s a lovingly created mud pit, right next to the river, and ‘Mud Tribe’ is a much loved Confest tradition. Hundreds of happy people get naked, roll in mud together, and then improvise a five hour street theatre spectacle that sweeps through the whole festival, creating laughter everywhere. (Much thanks for the pic, Marie.)
The jam sessions go 24/7 at Confest’s ‘Vibe Village’. Sometimes there are more than a hundred people, crushed into the marquee, playing music, dancing and getting high. Everyone is muddy, laughing, singing and snuggling up to each other in an ash scattered, inebriated, raucous cuddle-puddle. Some nights I’ve been in the Vibes tent playing music until sunrise, and then fallen asleep with my head under a cushion, surrounded by snoring friends.
Jonah and me have had awesome times there. I remember bits of one particular night when Jonah somehow obtained a bottle of Absinthe and we ended up telling each other an epic viking saga set to rockabilly music. (I also managed to steal his top hat for this pic, which I’m very happy about. Love that hat.)
When it’s really hot, and you’re nursing a Confest hangover, the Chai Tent is the place to be. Strong, spicy tea, with honey. A crowd of happy, friendly people, and an atmosphere of acceptance and sidestream THC. Like most comfortable spots at Confest, the Chai Tent is a constant spontaneous jam session and yoga dojo as well.
There’s a whole market place clustered around the Chai Tent, with clothing stands, street food, and coffee trailers. If that’s a bit too mainstream for you, don’t worry though. There are more than half a dozen community kitchens around the site, where you can wash dishes, cook, or donate food, and eat free communal meals.
How to summarise the Confest awesomeness?
It’s so complex and multifaceted. Every day there are yoga workshops, seminars, speed dating, concerts, stand-up comedy, circus performances, meditation groups, a huge steam lodge, a spa bath, body painting… the list goes on. All the amazing stuff at Confest is created by the people who go to the festival. There are huge blackboards in the ‘info tent’, and if you want to facilitate a workshop, or stage a performance, you just write your idea on the blackboard, and people come and do it with you.
And that’s the real magic of Confest. The humans. So many creative, loving, passionate, eccentric, caring humans, all getting together for a week in the forest to celebrate their humanity.
(Below: me and Jo working on our tans beside the river.)
That last photo is me, all dressed up to host the ‘Confest International Thumb Wrestling Championships’. I can’t explain it. It wasn’t as well attended as some other workshops I’ve hosted, but at least I got to wear a tophat again, so… yeah, I have a bit of an obsession with tophats.
Hi! Manny here, the guy who makes this blog.
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