Sunshine Girls and Tire Swings

Sunshine Girls and Tire Swings

Although festival season has just wound down in Australia, things are just heating up on the other side of the hemisphere. I’m coming at you with a recap of my favourite festival to get you hyped for the good times coming your way, or keep you pushing through the winter if you’re an Aussie babe like me.

Festable is a really small, independent festival 35 minutes from my house in Tasmania. It spans the last three days of the year, and it’s basically a bunch of local bands and grotty kids that get together with some tents and some glitter to dance in the New Year. While some fork out 300 bucks for their Falls ticket, I quietly hand over 30 for my entry to this private paddock and get ready for the best three days of my year.

It’s December 2015. I’m wearing overalls and boots and nothing underneath. We have four eskys, two cars, three tents, 90 bottles of water and a decent supply of Little Fat Lamb. We are ready. Two wrong turns later and we arrive in Weegena with the knowledge that sometimes, two wrongs do make a right. We hunt for an ant-free patch of land on which to pitch our tents and lounge groggily. Gorging ourselves on hummus, we hear the first sounds of music play. Up at the stage area, fairy lights drape across the sky and we float together, our skin still warm even after the sun has set.

Next morning. A little groggy but we took it easy last night. It’s already 30 degrees, so we take our fruit to the riverbank, where we laze and swim for hours, sunlight glinting off the water like miniature stars. On the other side of the river is a herd of baby cows. On this side, long haired boys and bare chested ladies. I suck on a peach pit and get a heat rash. We make new friends and finish off a roll of film all before midday. We play on tire swings and drink too much cider and fall asleep together in the hot tent, limbs overlapping and interlocking. We only unstick ourselves once it’s dark and reggae music floats down the hill, begging us to dance. We twirl together, new tan lines exposed on our bare backs.

New Years Eve. We’ve behaved ourselves thus far because we know what is to come. We swap clothes with the people camping next to us and use our air mattress as a lilo at the river. Split up what’s left of the mangos for breakfast. Rub lotion into one another’s backs. Climb a tree. Emily and I sit in onion bag hammocks and fall in love with a boy named Thomas. We glow in the sunset, and he calls us his sunshine girls, and presses glitter onto our cheeks. He tells us he knows David Bowie, and rolls us a cigarette. Neither of us smoke but we take it anyway. The night closes in and we all crowd around the makeshift stage, losing ourselves to trance music, dancing barefoot, bumping into strangers, can’t help it because the music is just so good – we’ll inspect the blue bruises in the morning. Midnight comes and we all kiss, kiss, kiss. Our favourite band plays and we know all the words. We spread our arms out, reaching for one another, my skirt brushing my ankles as I spin, Ally’s jacket falling upwards as she attempts a handstand, all of our shoes, lost somewhere in the grass. When the music stops and everyone else goes to bed, we lie together in the dirt and the grass, hugging each other and watching as the sun comes up.

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