Beyond Festival 2015
This is a throwback to a drawing I did last year when I was living in Amsterdam and attended the Beyond Festival in May 2015. :) The reason I'm posting this now, 8 months later, is because I was reflecting on my original goals for this website when I first created it. I envisioned it to be a really nice blend between showing my thoughts, art, how-to's, interesting things I discover, etc. So that it wasn't just a blog about me, but really just a place where all different types of people could come to read about interesting things.
But I realised today that it's become more and more skewed towards just 'my thoughts' and 'personal' happenings, which is not at all what I want. I really don't want it to just be a blog, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered creating all these pages and this structure and all.
At the same time, I also realised I've been less excited about my website of recent. I don't feel the same bubbling excitement I used to feel. And I think that's perhaps one of the reasons - that my mind was skewing me towards just recounting days and thoughts, rather than remembering to keep fresh all these other aspects I was so excited about.
So Beyond was actually a new festival in the Netherlands that wanted to take a different approach. Whilst I do love my Dutch festivals, I admit that I think some are a bit on the commercial-side and lack a little soul. But Beyond was trying to take it... well, beyond. I think the badges below can give a better reflection of what it stands for.
[x_feature_headline type="left" level="h3" looks_like="h3" icon="75px"]How be the festival[/x_feature_headline]
I really really liked it, I had a really special day there. It wasn't really a festival about taking photos and posting them all over, so I actually took zero photos on the day. Definitely not because there was nothing to take photos of, I actually instead had to consciously re-wire myself so that my automatic reaction wasn't to take a photo when I saw something cool.
At first I told myself to just enjoy it and take it all in and remember it. But so many little things happened during the festival, so many small details in the event, small things that you noticed other people doing - that I ended up deciding that I had to have some other way of remembering it all. My memory is definitely not enough.
So I ended up drawing this picture after the event. :)
One thing I really liked about this festival was that it wasn't just coming to a festival to 'consume' or 'spectate'. We weren’t going to simply look on, consume other people’s music, take in the scenery from a distance. We were there to create the festival, contribute something of ourselves to it.
So I'll try take you on a little tour of my drawing, because I know it looks like a big mess of scribbles but every part in it I drew because they were each special little moments or things that happened during the day.
For example, when we first got into the festival, there were all these empty canvases mounted in a little area, and a sign saying "Graffiti Workshop".
Anyone was invited to participate in the graffiti workshop and spray paint the canvases, so that at the end of the workshop all these previously blank canvases were full of colour and life.
On top of that, throughout the day people would continuously graffiti new things on top of each canvas so that each time you walked by, there was usually something different to see.
Another thing was all the different ways people dressed. Mr. Human and me went in with just normal casual clothes but I actually felt sad about that. I admit it, I totally wanted to dress up a little and schuzz things up haha.
Later on in the festival, we found some wooden boxes scattered around the event with random articles of clothing people could create outfits with. We're not talking glam items here but more things you'd find in a second hand shop. I dug something up and so did a lot of other people.
The end result was that you just saw really random outfits created around the festival haha.
I think it really, really added to the festival. It was really a lot of fun and joyful for me to just walk around and enjoy other people's odd outfits and them, in turn, admiring your's. That's why I felt sad wearing normal clothes in the beginning because I was enjoying looking at everyone else's outfits and creativity. But I didn't feel like I was giving anything back - I wasn't contributing anything - which was a sucky feeling for me.
I just found this image below that I think sums up what I mean.
Another really special part - after night had fallen, Mr. Human and me were wandering along one of the hills when we looked down across the festival and started to see small pricks of fire lighting up in the darkness. We honestly had no clue whether this was part of the festival or a huge fire danger. Well, it actually turned out to be a little bit of both haha, but it was honestly really nice.
What it ended up being was that they had started to pass out these tribal torches to people that you could light up your torch from someone else's fire. So what started out as a few people with torches lit spread out as the fire was passed on from torch to torch.
Mr. Human and I were lucky enough to receive a pair of torches. I think the cool thing is that we had no clue where it started from, where the organisers of this were. But they'd passed on torches to people who'd passed it onto other people and eventually they had their way to us. After everyone's was lit, there was this beautiful lit up bicycle/ship fusion thing slowly making it's way around that everyone with a torch ended up streaming behind. It was this beautiful sea of flames and it was really cool to walk with this stream of people, everyone's faces lit up red and gold with the light of the torches.
Another thing was the random yoga spots around the festival. Early on, Mr. Human and me would look on as we saw different people doing funky, funny yoga poses. Later on we ended up playing around and doing some of our own yoga moves where he'd lift me up or I'd lift him up. That's us in the red circle below haha. Don't hate on my incredibly odd-looking yoga couple, it's really hard to draw stick figures doing yoga poses, ok haha.
In the midst of our session when I was (unsuccessfully) trying to lift Mr. Human up, this BIG guy comes up to us. He goes "Do you want to stand on my shoulders?" with his hand offered to Mr. Human. He decides to give it a go and this big guy, who seems to be some shoulder-standing guru, teaches Mr. Human how to do it. After a few tries and slips, Mr. Human is perched perfectly on this guy's shoulders.
It made me really proud to see that. Because Mr. Human is completely the type to simply enjoy taking things in around him, he doesn't really have the same burning desire to participate that I have. I actually got upset at him for that, at the festival. Because I wanted to be participating and joining in with the buzz around me. But instead, I was just spectating from the side with him.
But when I saw Mr. Human standing there, all 187cm of him, I felt really happy. You can see us in the drawing - I'm the little stick figure on the left with the love heart next to her, Mr. Human is the one with the little love heart next to him haha.
We actually had a fight during the festival. Like I mentioned before, I was burning to join in and contribute to the atmosphere but Mr. Human was happy simply looking on and enjoying everything. I got quite upset about it. We sat down for a long time, in silence, in heated arguing, in upsetness. But eventually we talked it out. And after we talked it out, I had this weird realisation that I really had never had before.
That Mr. Human, somewhere along the way of hanging out and dating and becoming boyfriend and girlfriend and arguing and living together, had become my best friend.
When I told Mr. Human my realisation, he said "Oh. Well, yeah."
Apparently it was already obvious to him a long time ago and I was just late to the train haha.
My last favourite part of the day was near the end of the festival. All the mini stages and camps were filled with music, everyone dancing in full swing. Then, the music stopped. All across the entire festival, everything went quiet. Everyone stopped in their tracks and looked at their neighbours in confusion, wondering. Had the electricity system suddenly gone down? Had the festival organisers shockingly overlooked something? Had things gone terribly wrong?
Then, the sound of a single bongo starts beating through the silence of the festival. People are drawn to this singular beat. Our feet instinctively leads us closer to the sound, to o a huddle of bongos. A figure encourages people with soft hand gestures to sit down so that others behind them can see what's happening. Slowly, each bongo joins into the rhythm and their sound is the only sound travelling through the entire festival. A single dancer sways between the flow while a figure with soft white wings floats between the drums.
The crowd sits and stares entranced. Everyone's breath is held, hundreds of people sitting, breathing as one. I'd never been a part of something like that before.
After the event, people poured onto the Facebook event page with their comments and reflections and photos. I kind of really liked that - that it wasn't just an event to attend and then forget about. People were interested in sharing their experiences, offering suggestions that could be improved for the next year and contributing their own little stories.
And so that wraps it up, my own little story of Beyond 2015. :)