Every year at Rainbow Serpent, I seem to indulge less and less. This year, due to a sequence of work meetings scheduled for the dreaded Rainbow Recovery Week, I couldn’t even consume my customary 6 pack of beer on Monday, that number having itself shrunk considerably over the years. I had planned to go harder on Sunday but that never happened because I just didn’t feel like a drink first thing Sunday morning or Sunday afternoon for that matter as after a large number of hours on the main stage, I opted for a very large coleslaw and slices of home-baked 100% sourdough rye instead. The overly healthy lunch could be the reason why Dousk‘s fantastic 2 hour set later in the afternoon moved me to tears. Or it could be just that he’s fantastic.
Being straight and pretty much sober all the way through didn’t exactly save me from being physically tired during Rainbow Recovery Week. I’d put in too many hours on the dance-floor, got too little sleep and been out a lot during the couple of hot days. However, it did make it almost impossible for me to tap into the usual madness that forms within the Market Stage during the afternoons on Sunday and Monday. As most of my friends both old and new were very plugged into that, it pretty much meant I couldn’t really connect much with them – assuming of course that the prancing, grinding and hollering that forms much of Market Stage activity can be considered connection.
After I found myself in a conversation where I was attempting to unsuccessfully explain the nature and rewards of unassisted highs, I retreated to the Sunset Stage on Monday (a first for me) and found a much smaller, more relaxed and together crowd sitting in the shade and grooving. The fact that the Sunset Stage had been decorated by Dr Suess this year was just a bonus. I also rediscovered the twirling, juggling, hooping sub-culture – all new faces (barring one) but with the same obsessive perfectionist geeky nature that I’d always enjoyed. I even picked up a staff – the last time I’d done that at a festival being 5 years or so ago when fire-twirling was still permitted.
So I found another way of making Rainbow Serpent fresh for me again this year – but during the Recovery Week, I began to wonder how much longer I’m going to be able to do it for, especially if I intend to keep straight-edging (or close enough anyway).