Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mud will tear us apart

As regular readers of this blog might have noticed: I've been to Dour festival several times. Each year, I used to pitch my tent on one of their assorted mudfields (someone said 'camping site' ?). All of this is very nice, if you discount fierce searchlights, drunk people stumbling over (or even in) your tent, the omnipresent smell of piss and shit (even without any refuse-tanks exploding - read on if you want to catch up on that one) and a LOT of havoc in general. But when it starts to rain, things do get a bit uncomfortable. And when it pours for four consecutive days, it becomes living hell.

This is what Dour looked like on the second day (and the festival is only half-way!)

The last year I went, things started off nicely enough. The first day, it didn't rain at all, even though I did manage to blow up my gas stove. It went downhill ever since. After three days, I made myself a little status report. It went a little like this:

- clothes: utterly and totally soaked, in particular my underwear for some strange reason

- food: most of it still at home. as for the remainder: see 'clothes'.

- tent: not even remotely resembling one.

- shoes: begging to be shot

- one night stands: an orgy of mud

- good concerts: possibly, but there was no way I could go and see them because I forgot to bring a kayak / snowshoes

- money: still a little bit of it left. Which means I'm more lucky then the guy who dropped his wallet in the mud, never to see it again (true story)

- wellness factor: huddling against the bottom of the Kelvin scale

- tobacco and soft drugs: see 'clothes'

As you can imagine, my enthousiasm was about to hit rock bottom as the dawn of the fourth and final day of the festival joyously announced itself with yet another torrent. But I still had a sense of duty lurking somewhere in the back of my mind, screaming: "RifRaf Musiczine managed to get you in for free, so it's time you do something back for them". My ears were filled with mud at the time so I didn't quite get the message, but I went to the RifRaf cabin anyway, who were also hosting the 'Lost And Found' department of Dour festival, because I had a job to do.

Of course, in the beginning, the rain & mud thing is still funny -and even somewhat erotic for some....

After sitting there for about an hour, watching people frantically browsing through a box of wallets and key rings, I noticed a guy coming up to me. He was entirely naked, save a rope sack that hid his most, erm, important parts and he was almost entirely covered with a cake of mud. He explained his quandary to me. On the first night, his tent had been stolen. On the second night, he had lost all of his clothes (he didn't tell me exactly how this had come about so let your imagination roam freely) and finally, on the third night, he had lost his wallet. I wanted to ask him why he just didn't come to us after his tent -or at least his clothes (I mean, the idea of spending two days on a festival naked, even if you have a wallet -where are you going to put it?- strikes me as a bit odd)- had been stolen. But I soon decided against it. Instead, I went to one of my RifRaf fellows, quickly explained the situation and ran off as fast as I could to my designated mudfield, packed all my stuff that was still worth packing and took the first train home. I haven't been back since... I will go back though, as soon as Dour organises its next festival somewhere in, say, the Kalahari.

God, how I hate mud!


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