Friday, June 15, 2012

Royal Doof


Doof n. an electronic- pystrace party in the bush, lasting in duration from 1 to 4 nights. Sometimes small and invite only sometimes large with tickets sold. origin an onomatopoeia from the noise the bass makes 

 Royal Doof is the king of the Doof, taking place in the waning light of autumn it is a Melbourne based Doof that just barely manages to get its shit together for Queen’s Birthday weekend. Sometimes its doesn’t and there’s just a big warehouse party. This year the site was moved three times, the last of those times being on the opening day of the festival. So I wasn’t the only one feeling a bit curfluffled and in need of some relaxation by the time we arrived.

My friend K had flown over form New Zealand and in her best up for anything attitude, accepted my invitation to come to Royal. She had no idea what she was in for and as we drove into the bush I began to wonder if this was really such a great idea. It was cold, for one, and wet for another. I had scrounged a sleeping bag and tent form my roommate and pegs and food from T and R. It was a last minuet decision to go and as we scrambled into T’s truck with the psy-trance already blasting I looked at my ashram going permaculture friend and hoped she wouldn’t hate me by Monday.

There was traffic, there was road rage, there was pulling an old van halfway to the site up dirt hills in the dense bush. But we arrived.

The weekend was a beautiful one, despite the cold and sometimes dreary weather. Most things were covered in mud but there was a fire and a dance floor and friends and music. It was I realized, my last real party in Australia.

It was a full circle moment. We met T and R at Rainbow Serpent back in January. They were out camp neighbors and T loaned us an axe. “ He seems cool,” I told Fiz, “ He has an axe.” We all became friends, faster than I would have imagined. When Rainbow ended I stayed in touch, we ended up visiting a few times over the course of our stay I Tatura and when Fiz went back to the States I lived on T and R’s floor for 16 days or so. It was wonderful.

Where Rainbow was hot, Royal was cold, where Rainbow was big, Royal was small, where Rainbow was a high budget production with sound and lights and 6 dance floors, Royal had about as much money as ten people could throw at making and awesome weekend, there was one stage. Where Rainbow started right on time Royal didn’t even get the main stage up until Saturday night. Yet, there was a closeness and a warmth at Royal that rainbow in it’s massiveness lacked. It was a small gathering of 500 where people wandered freely into each others camps for a smoke and a chat. Where we made new friends every day. K loved it. She danced like a mystic in rapture and brought joy to the campfire.

I danced out all the stress of the last few weeks, let got of all my expectations and just floated on the sound and swam in the rhythm. Sound can cleanse and music can heal and as I stood in the waves of the beats I couldn’t help but feel purified by the pulsating, like all my chakras and all my cells were getting sandblasted, the gunk getting flushed out, the rot falling off.

These are Jaffles, they are a "traditional Australian camping food"
I wrote and took photos and was surrounded by big gums and pines. I smelt their heady mixture, so like home so like Australia. I felt in balance with both. I didn’t realize how long I had been here until I realized I had stopped smelling the gum trees. When I first got here I smelled them all the time and then somehow I stopped noticing.

It was my first time out of the city since I arrived and I came to the woods shattered by the urban energy.  I have come to love the sleek and cold beauty of the city, it is intriguing and inspiring and frustratingly unknowable but it is also a place that is covered I concrete and as the bush approached I couldn't help but feel a sense of ease, a presence of something distinctly other that is utterly lacking in the city.

Trees! Trees! How could I have ever thought I could live without you? How could I have traded the stars and moon for neon signs and lights? The sound of the breeze and the river for the train and tram?

Seductive though you may be Melbourne, you are not for me, at least not all the time. Let us visit from time to time, but let me go, away from this urbanity, this concrete insanity, back to the place where fireflies glow.

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