This year’s Strawberry Fields was the event’s ten year anniversary, making my first camping festival experience in Australia an even bigger outdoor celebration.
Yet in all the excitement of getting ready for the festival, I forgot to buy alcohol, so my Friday morning was spent outside Aldi waiting for it to open, and then racing to catch my bus. For those of you who are festival bus virgins (like I was), this is an easy and very green way to travel to a festival.
Now you might be asking yourself what the difference between a UK festival and an Australian festival is. Well, Australia has better weather, obviously, the festivals sell ice, food prices aren’t extortionate, and Australians sure know how to party and have a good time in the bush. They are also a lot cleaner than UK festivals – I’m looking at you Reading festival-goers – but less immersive.
My favourite type of festival features loads of theatrical entertainers, craft workshops, comedy etc, but the days at Strawberry Fields consisted of chilling on the beach with cocktails (not that I’m complaining). There was an gallery in the middle of the festival with some beautiful art work and I later found out there was yoga and pilates at The Tea Lounge every day, which I missed out on because I was picking up litter for free drinks and dancing on the beach. Or perhaps I should say that I gained by doing this. If you were an eco warrior and picked up 15 pieces of rubbish, you got an ice cold mocktail – good for the environment and great on the tongue.
Strawberry Fields is just outside the NSW town of Tocumwal on the banks of the beautiful Murray River and what a setting for a weekend of hedonism, dancing and a good old fashioned hammock nap.
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Highlights of the weekend were hitting up The Grove stage and dancing with my newfound friends amongst the trees with fairy lights to 30/70 Collective. CC:Disco played a great two hour set on the Sunday in the baking heat. Yet it was the one and only Honey Dijon who stole the show, playing one of the best sets I’ve ever heard on the Sunday afternoon. It was one of the hottest days of the year so far and house remixes of Stevie Wonder and other classics reverberated from the tropical themed stage. It was pure heaven.
On the last night I checked out some incredible art performances and dances at The Village stage, which was designed to help you grow and connect. A lot of the acts I saw here were questioning gender, from a very powerful feminine dance where the women were dressed as their spirit animals, to two men dressed as old ladies exploring the norms of a tea party whilst drum and bass played behind them telling them what to do.
I was a little bit anxious about going to a festival where I only knew a couple of people in a country I haven’t lived for that long, but it was a magical weekend and I think that’s mainly down to those people who took me under their wing. Festivals can look the part and have a great line-up but it’s all about who you spend it with.
Strawberry Fields was one of the friendliest events I’ve been to; I saw no aggression, only love, and that’s why this has been rated one of the top ten festivals in the world.