With Rocking the Daisies little over a week away, I am considering what to pack, and so should you. Or maybe you shouldn’t. I envy those people that decide to go on a whim, pack nothing, float around in layers and have a total party in any case. But I am not one of these people. No, sir. I have had two very different Rocking the Daisies (RTD) experiences, and I thought I would share the small wisdoms that these two years have imbued me with, with you.
First, a brief retrospective on my previous RTD experiences to show you what not to do, fashion or otherwise:
Seduced by the idea of a wild weekend in the wilderness, Olivia and I decided to Do Things Properly. We took two tents (one for luggage, one for us and our food and no I am not kidding). We took sturdy footwear. We took wet weather gear (not of the attractive Kate Moss stylish parka variety; we’re talking the real deal here). We took hats, scarves, thick socks, yoga mats to snooze on, litres of booze and a 3 litre vat of home-roasted veg. I insisted on the veg because I was adamant that we remain healthy even though we planned to binge drink and loll around hungover on hay bales for most of the weekend. A very misguided approach. The veg barely got us through the weekend and all we wanted was pizza to take the brandy-and-coke edge off. Not to mention the fact that we missed the memo about looking tousled and game rather than fortified and READY (for a hike? A church team building excursion?) And all the girls at RTD were flitting around in chiffon florals with cardies and fashion wellies. Lesson learnt.
With a selection of floral pretties, a warm coat, skinnies and a couple of scarves in my bag, I fared well at my second RTD experience. Fashion-wise. Lesson still clearly not learnt on the food front, I took a vat of grated cheese, rolls, snacks and fruit. On the Sunday of the festival, literally on the verge of dying with a hangover, I perched on a cooler box for an hour trying to digest a dry roll crammed with flaccid cheese. Yes, flaccid. Not even the 340ml set could get me on my feet. I looked at the sky and went to a happy place.
Third time lucky. Although I had the best time ever both years, I learnt a couple of thangs along the way:
1. Take your fashion cue from the likes of Alexa Chung, Kate Moss and Emma Watson, all of whom mix chic/sexy with practical. Alexa, in particular, is the queen of the festival outfit. Wellies are indispensible, even at RTD, where it is not necessarily that muddy. Other indispensible items include wet wipes, warm sleepwear, sunglasses, a practical hat, comfortable sleeping quarters, a parasol to keep you cool and cash. Sandals are good for daywear, but wellies by night will enable you to gallop and traipse through wet fields drunk as a skunk, without injury.
2. Pack lightish. Don’t do what I did in 2008 and ONLY take the most practical items, but don’t overdo it either. In 2008 I went to Earth Dance and, because it was my first (and last) trance party ever, I didn’t know what to take. So I took everything. I was wheeling my massive travel bag across clods of earth and grass at twilight, when a nasty hippie shouted to me:
“Oi! Heathrow’s that way!”
I like to think she was a fake hippie who lives in the suburbs and drives a Yaris.
3. Be prepared to rough it on the ablution front. Desperation sends girls out to the vineyards, and rightly so. RTD is pretty good about keeping the loo’s clean, but it is, after all, a three day festival. Otherwise, pay the nice people at Woshbox the going rate. They even have mirrors!
4. Liquid eyeliner. I’m not the type to forego all makeup all weekend. Liquid eyeliner means you don’t need mascara and it’s pretty much indestructible.
5. If you are lucky enough to do so, park your car near to your tent. Keep luggage and food in the car and use it as your personal jukebox and car bar.
6. Make use of all that RTD has to offer, including the amazing comedy tent and all the other good initiatives that are on offer. One year there was an independent film festival and also a Levi’s tent where you could film your own dance-off against artists playing at the festival. This year there is a world music tent, too. Yeah!
7. Don’t make expensive, drunken, irate phonecalls to Paris on your cellphone from your tent in the middle of Darling. Take it from me.
8. Take a camera or a friend that’s snap happy.
9. Party, frolic, groove, sing, fraternize with weird people, eat delicious food from the RTD stalls, have an outdoor wee, get a little dirty, discover a favourite new band, get languid and loll in the sun, just like the good people at RTD intend you to.