Fever Tent

We arrived at The Sunrise Festival in Westbury, Somerset and energetically bounded towards the volunteer registration zone: one chair and three people nervously clutching clipboards. As part of ‘The Festival Micronation’ it was described as ‘Another World’. How exciting. Walking uphill we stared in wonderment at 18 categorised recycling containers. Here, even nappies wouldn’t go to waste, all thanks to the Green Bottoms team. I looked forward to becoming an eco-warrior.

Tipis at the Sunrise Festival, from their website.

Thrilled with the spacious delights of crew camping, we hastily erected the tent. Rain began bulleting down almost immediately after we tumbled into our hobbit hole, but we sat contentedly wobbling on an air mattress and nibbling on slices of malt loaf. It wasn’t long before night approached and we soon found ourselves wrapped up in our individual cocoons, drifting off into the calm…

The temperature dropped.

My wispy cocoon stiffened into a slithery pellicule of ice. I almost suffocated in its burrows attempting to stay warm and risked pneumonia every time, God forbid, I tried to breathe. Headaches and burning foreheads commenced. Lucky for me, we had already started to relish in the festival spirit: the energising vegan chai tea at the 24-hour café and nomadic enchantment of Pachamama’s tipi. At 3 am, we had sat with strangers and listened to soft melodies from an acoustic guitar tremble around a warming campfire. We had also befriended a few eccentrics at the face of the campsite stewarding tent, and I had danced to the colours of bohemia and erratic sounds of reverberating dub.

Stage at sunset, from their webiste

But alas, soaring body temperatures nudged the psychedelic atmosphere a notch too far. On the last day we got up at 6 am for our final shift and I was sent, trudging through sticky mud, to the medical tent.

Viz Jacket 1: Oh no, you don’t look too good, do you?

Viz Jacket 2: Not good at all.

Viz Jacket 1: Have you been sick yet?

Viz Jacket 2: We’ve had a lot of people being sick this year.

Viz Jacket 1: There’s been a bug going around…did you know?

Yes, of course I know.

The paramedics relayed obvious statements like this in an irritatingly optimistic West Country accent until finally taking my temperature and spiking my bottle of water with rehydration powder. Warning that its taste might initiate a vomiting session, they sent me on my way.

As if it wasn’t enough spending the last day of the festival sipping revolting fluids whilst lying nauseated on a sofa in the staff marquee, I was also nominated babysitter to an 11-year-old boy. Apparently, this kid’s total stranger of a parent thought my semi-conscious state made me a suitable candidate. I was forced to answer 101 questions from the cheeky little tyke, 99 that were extremely personal and suggested new parents altogether might be a good idea. Mulishly, I followed my travel plans a day early to a friend’s 21st in Bath, leaving the festival early in fear of further interrogation. Stepping deliriously off the train and into the shower room, I greeted the flat with all my vomiting glory. Thank you very much, Viz Jackets 1 & 2.

Next time, I’ll just bring a better sleeping bag.


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