|So many of my Meredith memories are preeetty much like this.|
"Meredith? I've never heard of it. Is it a festival?" They asked.
I gasped, and flapped my hands around a little bit, and took a deep breath and began to talk very excitedly about the weekend and how much of an amazing scene it was and the myriad ways in which I loved it. So I figured, if I've still got that much energy and excitement when I talk about Meredith 2012, then I might as well jot some of it down on the internet for ... posterity, perhaps? At the very least, I feel like it'd be a shame to write a long-winded post about the Friday night, then to omit all talk of the Truly Amazing Things That Occurred on the Saturday.
Of course, Saturday didn't really start in earnest until afternoon rolled around and the sun began to go down along with the temperature. That can be in part attributed to the insane heat and the sun bearing down on us all like some smartass jerk ("JUST YOU TRY AND AVOID ME!"), and partly because I woke up feeling like pure, undiluted rubbish. This - for those of you playing at home - comes with a word of warning for all kidlets and and for those of you who plan on drinking a beer any time in the future, ever.
Do not, under any circumstances, buy Rivet. It's Aldi beer, with a price tag that equates to $1 per can. With a name that refers to metallic construction tools rather than tasty beverages, I guess one has to expect the worst. Cheap yes, convenient yes, yes it suited my budget. But oh lord, did ever taste like shit. Or rather, it didn't taste like shit. It was devoid of taste. And it then left me with a hangover I in no way deserved. Saturday night was FAR bigger and FAR rowdier and FAR more filled with activities conducive to feeling like rubbish in the morn, but I woke up feeling right as rain (and in a monster suit). Post-Friday night, I felt like some sort of dark goblin of nausea had made a home in my stomach and was hosting some sort of circle pit of doom in there.
As a result, I spent most of Saturday attempting to find shade, attempting to nap, and attempting not to mostly look glum. I paused that bizzo briefly to rock out to Royal Headache with Dane, but that was about the most noteworthy thing that happened before a nap back at the campsite. For the record Royal Headache were flippin' great, even if Ferg did later declare them to be "FUCKING SHIT". Personally, they were exactly the kind of don't-give-a-shit rocking midday wake-up set that I needed.
In any case, the moral of the story is thus: DON'T DRINK ALDI BEER.
I fuck up so you don't have to.
So like I said, we pick up the story in the early hours of Saturday evening, post-nap and post-baby wipe of face and arms to get rid of a few layers of dirt and post-get-into-monster-suit efforts (believe me, it was an effort to get out of that beach chair after that nap).
Neil whipped out a little tube thing of zinc and we set about putting lines on our faces, preparing for for the battle (see: party) ahead. The animal suits again were on and buttoned up with hoods and travelers at the ready. Meanwhile, Ferg had disappeared into his Taj Mahal of a tent. Saturday evening heralded the arrival of "Aunty Ferg", whom I'd heard so much about in giggled snippets, yet remained a tight-lipped secret. In fact, when I tried to peek into the tent to sneak a look-see, Dane suddenly leapt into flight and jumped in front of me. "NO. NOT YET. WAIT."
It was worth the wait, I'll say that much. Aunty Ferg emerged, towering and hairy, all blonde wig and rainbow socks and the most hideous purple dress you could possibly imagine. Rounding out that most excellent (sexcellent) image was Ferg's wasted, chuckling grin complete with missing a front tooth. I'm pretty sure my approval was voiced via an insane shriek of delight.
With everyone in onesie, dresses, sequins and animal-print, we trouped back over to the amphitheatre. Where Friday night had been a party vibe, the electricity in the air on Saturday made it look like a mid-week catch up for a cup of tea in comparison. With beers in bags, we made our way towards the crowd and the music. Trundling monster-style past the campsites and the groups of costumed, hatted, onesie'd and wasted pals, and hearing the music of Saskwatch growing ever closer, I looked up at the sky and had the first of many moments that night in which I suddenly thought to myself, "HOLY SHIT. THIS IS SO AWESOME. I AM HAVING SUCH A FUCKING GOOD TIME." A grin plastered on my face, I took a swig of beer and felt rather goddamn pleased. Of course, that may have just been my distance from sobriety talking.
Ferg was garnering some superb reactions as he danced his way around, with a flower behind his ear and red lipstick peeking from within his beard. Generally the reaction of the average punter was one that read "THE FUCK" followed by stunned followed by "OH, COOL!". The three-fold progression was something you'd have to have seen in order to grasp how truly hilarious it was. But believe me, it was amazing.
Speaking of amazing (SEGUE! SEGUE!), the sea of people had to be at least 50% clothed in costume/outrageous outfit/onesie. Combined with the loving, inclusive, incredibly friendly vibe of the amphitheater in general, it felt like any moment not spent dancing was spent being asked "what're you?" and then asking, "DUDE, what are you?". Animals, a convoy of bananas, sequins and colours abounded. Almost everyone was huggable. Further down the hill Dane and I spied a girl in a skin-tight purple jumpsuit. She'd stuck plastic bugs and birds and flowers all over her body. It was the kind of afternoon that, upon seeing in someone in a costume worthy of congratulations, you'd sprint over and congratulate them. So we did. Frog and monster boogied on over, but were stopped before we had a chance to speak by the girl in purple and her two very normal looking male friends doing a sort of crab dance around their esky and bags.
"WOOPWOOPWOOPWOOPWOOPWOOPWOOP" they wooped, as they scuttled around with their hands as pincers. We did the same. "WOOPWOOPWOOPWOOPWOOPWOOPWOOPWOOP". A few other people joined in, to the delight of the girl.
"YOUR COSTUME IS AMAZING."
"THANK YOU, SO ARE YOURS!"
"I LIKE YOUR BUGS!"
We returned to the posse to be greeted by Neil grinning underneath the bobbing tufts of fur on his guinea pig hood's face. "Double-dropped!" Ferg roared at me, demanding to know where I'd been during Big Jay McNeely. "I don't know, around? Sorry!" "I LOOKED FOR YOU WHY WEREN'T YOU AT BIG JAY MCNEELY." His super-rad lady was brandishing a thing (What're they called anyway? Tubes? Implements? Sticks?) of red lipstick, seizing every face in sight and making a sea of bright red mouths.
Out of nowhere appeared a bearded guy dressed in a biblical looking get-up, holding a long stick in one hand and a can of something in the other. "MY CHILDREN!" He bellowed. "COME ABOARD MY ARK! I CAN PROTECT YOU, CHILDREN!"
Behind him danced about thirty people in animal onesies. It was a veritable summertime musical ark, being led by some sort of wasted Noah, holding a hand on a stick which was in turn holding a few glowsticks. We danced over. There were owls, a wolf, a whale, a bat, penguins, bears and giraffes and even a raccoon wearing a tie. Business raccoon. Making astute business decisions in between rummaging through bins with his opposable thumbs. My GOD.
"WELCOME ABOARD THE ARK!"
It's at this stage that things become a little blurry, that memories appear to become fragmented and severely out of chronological order. They also literally get blurry, with the vague recollection that at some point I thought the lights of the stage were on a deckchair, and with the Sunday-morning information that I was constantly trying to play-fight Ferg's pal Shamus. Regurgitator were on next, and I believe they were rad. Neil, Dane and I spent a long while scampering after Ferg as he marched/boogied through the crowd, equal parts dancing and yelling indecipherable things at people. To be in the wake of his destruction was equal parts something I'll not soon forget, and also barely remember. A guy in a frog hat was floored by being completely out-frogged by Dane. Neil's cloud of a guinea pig tail was garnering many a squeal. Three guys dressed as bananas. I began scampering off again. Primal Scream were on. It was time to dance again. "Do you think Bobbie Gillespie's wasted?" "I think he's in a perpetual state of wasted."
Like I said, memories disjointed and blurry at this point. We went to the bar. I scampered off, distracted by an attractive male wearing a beanie covered in bears. Back to the bar, suddenly struck by the terrible affliction where one can see lips moving and hear sounds coming out but cannot understand a godforsaken word. "I CAN SEE YOUR MOUTH MOVING BUT I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE SAYING." "Whosprivileged?" "Huh?" "Whosprivileged?" "What?" "Who's privileged?" Oh god. Was this a riddle?
Ferg leaned forward conspiratorially. "All of us."
I woke up with the vague sense that I must have been pretty annoying at some point to someone, but that's just because I'm used to that being the case at some point, sometimes. Was it actually the case? We'll never know. I do know that slowly our animal posse dwindled, and Ferg lumbered off into the night in a disgusting ruffled shirt, and before too long Dane, Neil and I were sitting on the grass attempting not to fall asleep. Conversation stumbled along, meandering in no real direction. We'd missed the "Onesie Party" that was due to occur at the "Big Tree" at "about like, 11:30ish". As the sun had gone down and the crowd hurtled ever further from anything resembling sober, the party time zone vibe so too had morphed, as had the musical stylings on-stage. We dozed on the grass, and I let forth with the occasional nugget of non-sensical word-vomit that resulted in instant embarrassment when it left my mouth.
I wandered off again, I lost my beanie, the guys went to bed, I wandered around a bit more, then I collapsed into my tent, with the dull disappointment in myself for tapping out so early (3am?) being overshadowed by the relief that comes with lying down and going beginning the process of passing out.
Sunday morning - without any Rivet within me - was cold and windy and felt pretty victorious. Victorious, and hungry, and in need of sleep. The campsite again looked like it was feeling the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse action comedy shoot-out. People all around wandered around toward the toilet-block, some coupling the tracksuit-pant look with the last-night's-costume look, to superb effect. Upon pausing to reflect on the superb sights one sees in the morning - Mystery men crawling out of tents! Knowing smirks! Some dude passed out under a car! Friends buying their weight in sausages and coffee while wearing a sleeping bag! - it's at this point that we can hit the fast-forward button. Fast forward through the clean-up, slowing down to enjoy the communal morning debrief of the previous night's antics. Ferris wheel make-out sessions! Cougar exploits! Getting too wasted to remember to hit on anyone! Dancing so vigorously you end up with cuts on your arms! Mixed-up confusion and wasn't the music so damn good!
Then we can hit fast-forward again, through the pack-up and the dismantling of feats of tarp engineering and K-Mart bought tents, and slow down briefly to observe the Meredith Gift. So dusty! So naked! SO many jiggling and jangling bits! Then of course, we can fast-forward to the car ride home, and the long journey back to the real world.
I compared notes with a pal who'd also been in attendance at the Supernatural Amphitheater on how we felt upon returning. Dazed? Lost? Confused? Really, really dirty and pretty sunburnt? All of the above? And that's why at Christmas when my uncle asked me how "that music festival was" my answer was riddled with wild gesticulations and a non-indoor voice. I can honestly say I haven't had a weekend like that in a long, long time. I haven't laughed like that, with such rad pals, to the point of not being able to breathe in ages.
On Sunday evening Mike had some friends from NZ over, and we all went out for dinner and a drink. I pottered around in a daze, a shell of my former self, barely able to communicate.
"Sorry guys, you've caught me when I'm not at my peak." I tried to explain. "I won't soon forget this weekend. But if I don't get some sleep soon, I think I'm going to die."