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Ok people, here’s the post you’ve been waiting for… Boom Festival 2014

There’s so much to tell you, I tried to make it as short as I could…  Try and check this one out when you’ve got a few minutes to spare and a real computer or iPad – I’ve attached lots of video’s for you from the Boom website, so make sure you check out those links 🙂  Also, most of these pictures were taken from the Boom websites, I only can take credit for a few…

Camping

Siggy and I left the comfort of the RV (????) and ventured out to find a place to pitch the tent amongst thousands of others searching out the same thing – shade!! Because we arrived early to the festival, we were able to find a good spot and people filled in all around us. By the time it was all said and done, tents covered almost every square inch of the camping areas and you could barely see the ground to navigate your way through the tents out into the common areas. This was most troublesome when you had to pee in the middle of the night…  I’m not gonna lie, we broke down and resorted to using a plastic cup… When ya gotta go, you gotta go…  Ewwwww – I know

20140809_153230360 Degrees of tents like this

The first day we left the tent and didn’t come back until after dark – so many tents had popped up from when I left to when I returned, the entire landscape had changed and it took me 2 hours to find our tent in the dark. Grrrr – No, Eryn, adventure… No, no, Grrrrr…  LOL Some people built tree houses, some had portable hammocks they tied up between trees, some just threw their sleeping bags on the ground and slept there… Many never even bothered to set up a sleeping area for themselves and just slept wherever they happened to be when they got tired… LOL

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In our immediate vicinity we had people from France, Switzerland, Germany, Australia and America (not many of us there). It’s said that 152 countries were represented amongst the 42,000+ people at Boom this year…  Dammit man, that’s alot of people! Thousands upon thousands poured through the entry gates on foot, bikes, cars, vans, RV’s and buses on their way to one of the biggest parties on the planet…

148722_800406506678806_8644598038186541469_nPortugal summer = Dust and Dirt!!

P1090724Oh Happy Day 🙂

20140806_192814Becoming one with nature…

Happenings, Workshops and “The Feminine”

We were all given a program of the weeks’ events and a map of the property.  Not really being into drugs or psytrance music, I wasn’t really sure how I would like being fully immersed in this 9-day camping festival extravaganza… Why did I think this was a good idea? I was happy to find there were plenty of cool things going on… The front of the flyer read, “Oneness – Music – Arts – Environment – Culture – Love” Ok, I like all that – yeah, I can roll with this.

There were interesting lectures and workshops going on during the daytime. Dance and intuitive workshops in the evening… Cool movies playing during the midnight to morning hours, and DJ’s playing at 6 different tents 24 hours a day… Whoa, this is for real, a full on, 24/7 festival… Unreal!!

The theme of the whole festival was “The Feminine” – Honoring the female goddess… Hell yeah!!!  It’s about time! Thank you very much 🙂 No, seriously, it was beautiful. There were human art installations where thousands of people got together to form a design, then photographed by a drone from above; sacred tribal group dances that masses participated in… Really inspiring… I am woman, hear me roar!!

There were workshops I attended on sustainable living and the environment: Using Dirt to Build Communities – Adobe Clay Buildings… The Emerging Network of Eco-villages, Permaculture Centers and Festivals, to name a few… Several on love and relationships: Love in the 5th Dimension – Raising Consciousness for the Healing of Love and The Deep Dynamics Behind Falling in Love. Then there were dance, tantra and meditation workshops that were all really beautiful – I attended many of those…

1621900_797249143661209_2384145045971286954_nThis is inside the Liminal Village where many of the lectures and workshops were held

426005_794831793902944_3817523898938670187_nSiggy and I sang and danced in this sacred tribal walking circle

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10626453_799235556795901_1115213813688580353_nHow cool is this!!  I’m there in the outside corner of her left knee 🙂

The Harsh Environment

I don’t believe this actually was a desert we were in, but it may as well have been… The entire event was held over this dry, dusty barren land and we all moved around it like ants scurrying to and from their nest… The first few days I found the dust really annoying – I couldn’t keep my feet clean… Grrrr… You could hardly leave the tent for 5 minutes without a layer caked on your feet and up your ankles… But after a few days it was like, ahhh who cares if you’re dirty, so is everyone else… Embrace the dirt!!!! LOL

Luckily there was a huge lake that everyone gathered around to escape the heat. Men, women and children frolicked about for hours on end, many of them naked, just enjoying the sunshine and the cool waters of the lake. Nudity was prevalent on the beaches around the lake, but it was sort of like, oh never mind… No one was gawking or making a big deal about it. I guess with so many people doing it, it sort of took the novelty away.  It was actually really beautiful – all these people of different shapes, sizes and ages all just being free and in their natural state.  They really want to know if you got naked Eryn… That’s what they want to know… Ok, ok, I went topless a few times, no big deal…

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P1090761Ooohhhh that doggy is so cute!!!

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20140809_124646Doesn’t everyone need sparkly face paint??

20140809_124936What else do you do with your time when there’s nowhere important to go – massages, face painting, sharpie tattoos…

P1090669Free food from the garden for whoever wanted it – kinda cool!P1090730

Psytrance and the Dance Tents

The atmosphere was like a carnival – unlike anything I’d ever seen… Elaborate and massive tents were set up for dancing, eating and shopping. The dance tents were the most extravagant. The artistic elements inside were incredible and you could tell they spent a lot of time and money putting this event together. The dance tents had DJ’s playing varying types of psytrance music all through the day and night. Sleeping was a challenge for sure – loud thumps resonated from far away – it was inescapable… I got used to it after a few nights, but I can’t lie, it was not quality sleep, that’s for sure…

As for the music, turns out I do actually like most psytrance… There are many different types, and I heard them all over the course of the week… Some are really intense and dark, some are more chill and relaxing, and some incorporate live instrumental music as well as DJ’d riffs…  It was actually pretty cool and was great to dance to.  Actually come to think of it, I think psytrance must’ve been created by some nerdy dude with no dance groove… Cause I saw tons of dudes with no rhythm, that just sort of moved side to side and it was totally acceptable. LOL

I was surprised in the dance tents how everyone’s personal space was respected – well most of the time. Psytrance really lends itself more to dancing of a singular nature, as opposed to most other dance styles where you partner up with someone… There was no grinding on the dance floor like the clubs I’m used to back home and everyone was just sort of in their own little universe dancing by themselves… Strange, but kinda cool…

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10552353_797626293623494_4078015018166891758_nThis is the main dance temple at night – how amazing!

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16682_793571550695635_926749473039226459_nHoly craziness!!!!!

Drugs

Ok, soooo, this is also a festival notorious for excessive drug use… Ummm, not really your thing, Eryn. Growing up with a father who spent years as a drug rehab counselor, it had been ingrained in my brain, “drugs are bad, drugs are bad!!” so I didn’t even smoke my first joint until my early 30’s, loser… LOL I figured I was grounded enough to make good decisions about it at that age. But back when I was younger, I remember I was afraid I’d like it too much and it would totally screw up my life. Who knew you could totally screw up your life completely drug free! LOL

Boom had loads of lectures on the drug culture that looked pretty interesting… You’re here at one of the biggest drug festivals in the world, let’s check it out… Hmmm, will I want to partake???  I went to, Prevention and Management of Psychedelic Emergencies, yes, let’s avoid those! The Comeback of Psychedelic Science: Discussing the Therapeutic and Mystical Potential of Science, and The Future History of Psychonautics: Neuroscience and the Limits of Consciousness. Hmmmm, really interesting… And I was really impressed to hear they had a 24-hour drug crisis emergency clinic specifically for “psychedelic emergencies”.

The lectures were hosted by doctors, scientists, neuroscientists and psychologists. And I was surprised to hear there was so much information and new science out there. There’s a whole field of “psychedelic psychology” and apparently there is a lot of evidence that certain drugs can be extremely helpful for PTSD, among other emotional related problems. It’s also said that certain drug-induced experiences can raise a persons level of consciousness and bring great spiritual experiences. Huh, interesting… It was a whole other side of the drug culture that I hadn’t really considered… Hmmm, maybe limited use in the right environment is ok.

In Portugal, drugs have been decriminalized. It’s not 100% legal, but the basic gist is that it’s an extremely lax country when it comes to drug control and it was clear that buying them and using them was totally acceptable and widespread at this festival.  People made cardboard signs “Acid?” or “MDMA?”, etc. to advertise what drugs they were looking for.  Unbelievable!!! I watched on several occasions where someone made a sign right there in the dance tent, hung it off their body on the dance floor, and within minutes someone was there selling them drugs. This is unlike anything I could imagine, coming from the U.S. where drugs are such a no no.  I kept looking around waiting for the DEA to swoop in and make massive arrests and shut the festival down… Never happened.

I was shocked to hear that they even offered drug testing from an onsite lab – with results in 2 hours. Saaayyyy Whhaaatt??? I mean, that’s one of the things that always scared me most about drug use… Not really knowing what it was you were getting and what foreign substances may be present and what their side effects were. Pulp Fiction anyone?? Ooyyy… They had signs posted all over saying that an altered LSD was being sold at the festival that gave a 36 hour high… Whoa 36 hours – that’s freakin’ crazy!! In fact, there were several occasions I talked to someone and they’d say, with this crazy look in their eyes, “Whoa, I’ve been high for 3 days”. Maybe they didn’t test their drugs and got some of the laced stuff… Or maybe they just continually took drugs – who knows…

Ok, wait wait, so it’s basically legal to have drugs here… You can test them for free to make sure they’re not laced with any bizarre substances…  And they have 24-hour onsite emergency drug crisis facilities if the shit hits the fan… What better place for an overly cautious American to try some good drugs… Hmmmm…

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One of the most surprising observations in my whole time there over 9 days was that I didn’t see any violence, not even once… No brawls, no fist fights, no angry arguments… This is in stark contrast to any drunkin night on Duval Street. I thought for sure with that many people, most of them in some altered state, there would surely be fights breaking out all over the place.  It was really an environment of no violence and no judgements…  Hmmm can’t say I’ve run across many places like that.  

So, I guess overall, my impression of drugs and the people that use them has changed (slightly) from before. I mean, if they’re non violent and they’re having a good time, it seems safer and less of a public safety hazard than a drinking night out in Key West.  That being said, I’m thinking of it in a recreational use sort of way…  Obviously if you have a major addiction and it’s affecting your life in negative ways, that’s not good…  Or if you’re using it as an escapism technique to hide from your problems, it’s probably best to address the problems in an unaltered state…  I will say, the drug use there did seem to be excessive.  I’d be interested to know what percentage of the people there went back into their normal home towns and lived healthy lives.  I did, however, befriend countless people there that turned out to be business owners, scientists, some people starting movements to try and shift our world to move in a more positive direction.  There were really a lot of forward thinking people there, I’ll say that…

Ok Eryn, tell them what they really want to know… Did you do any drugs??? Soooo, did I decide to experiment a little with drugs while I was there? Ummm, well, yes, actually, I did. Did you and Siggy have a crazy freakin’ good time? Well, yes, yes we did… Did it kind of freak me out a little too? Ummm, yes…  Do I want to pick up drug use as my new pass time? Noooo…  But was it an overall good experience? Yes….

And Siggy and I finally realized why everyone was laying around sleeping in random locations across the property…. They were all in varying states of awareness, awake-ness and alertness from whatever drug they were on! Ohhhh now I get it… Cause sometimes you just want to lay down…  Right there, wherever you are!

 

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This place was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before – really like I’d been transported to an alternate universe… But I was never so happy as the day we walked miles to catch a ride on a tractor, then 2 buses and a train to make it to Lisbon where we rested and recovered for the next 4 days. We found the most amazing hostel, Home Lisbon Hostel, that was sooooo comfortable, we really hardly left the place. We watched movies and laid on the couch, did our laundry, and enjoyed Mamma’s home cooked meals almost every night.

xsh6kMy favorite people from Portugal – Thanks Home Lisbon Hostel 🙂

We didn’t see much of Lisbon, unfortunately. Siggy and I recovered from Boom just in time to get ourselves to the free love permaculture community… You already read about that little adventure… LOL After that fiasco, we went back to the same hostel in Lisbon for more R & R.

Siggy and I agreed we both probably aged a year in the last month we’ve spent together. We’ve had some crazy experiences… I counted it up, since we’ve been together in Europe, we had 2 nights couch surfing, 1 night on a BMX dirt bike track in the woods in France – yes people, a dirt bike track in the woods…  One night we pitched our tent inside some huge bushes with this nice Israeli dude near the beach in Spain – yes in the bushes. This was when I insisted we move our tent camping to real camp sites!!!  Siggy I draw the line at sleeping in the bushes!!!  We spent 18 nights in a tent, 2 of which were in a polygamous community, 1 night in an RV with 4 strangers, and 6 nights in a hostel… No wonder we needed so much recovery time.

Siggy’s off to Budapest now and I’m in London where I get to spend 3 weeks with my dear friend Vicky. She has a flat there and we’re going to have a girly good time together…. Sorry, still no lingerie pillow fights – you boys don’t get too excited… Yaaayyy, rejoice – you can unpack your bag and stay a while!!! Cook in a kitchen, have regular showers, do laundry when you feel like it… Ahhhhhhh yes!!!! Perfect timing after 5 months of traveling and living out of my backpack…  

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