WHERE are you even going to begin writing this story?” Divine Lady D asked me at some point over the weekend. “Don’t worry about that,” I replied, “it will be easy.”
It was our first Littlegig 24-hour festival, two veterans who never in our wildest dreams expected to attend another outdoor event in our lives; trust me – we’ve done our time and then some at trance parties and such, and were perfectly content to put those days behind us. Littlegig, however, is something else entirely.
First of all, almost everything is included in the ticket price – the gourmet food, the premium drinks, the entertainment, the activities, the corner café…the only time you need to reach for your wallet is if you feel a tad underdressed and need something suitably fashionable from the Concept Store. It took a little while to overcome the instinct to fumble for money for coffee or a glass of wine, but we managed to get over it; by Sunday morning, we were “shopping” with ease at the Free Store with its fabulously thoughtful shelves of items you might need in an emergency – disposable one-use phone chargers! Hair ties! Mouthwash and hand sanitiser! Jars and jars of snacks from biltong to nut brittle! Sunblock! The condoms were the first thing they ran out of, and later, the cigarettes. Luckily we had no need for the former.
After we’d settled into our glamping tent, with its proper beds, pillows, duvets, even towels, facecloths and shower gel, and an electric light, we headed off to the Forest Day Stage area, which was also where all the food stands were. You see our priorities here? There too was the booze bar, a coffee bar, wine bar, and craft beer bar. The area was set up with proper comfy lounge furniture, and hammocks strung between the trees. Not once did we have to sit on the ground.
Our explorations took us across the lake to the island with its striped deck chairs, faux palm trees, rum bar, and chilled tunes; and then to the hair and makeup salon where we sat on deep couches with Krone bubbly (for me) and mirror balls in the trees while Lady D waited her turn to have her hair done and decorated with glitter and sequins. Yes, still all for free.
The shiny things were essential accessories to almost every outfit at the festival – the sparklier the better. Extravagant headdresses were the order of the day, and there were more than a few voluminous tulle tutus floating around (on men and women), and nighttime outfits adorned with lights. The fabulous fashion and daring design just on their own were a visual feast, to which the photographs will attest.
As dusk fell, we returned to our tent for an evening costume change – feather boas and glitter and bigger shinier false eyelashes. By the time it was dark, the fairy lights were twinkling in competition with the Milky Way above, the different dance floors were pumping out the tunes, and the Just Like Papa box had literally folded out into a pop-up bar where people were gathered around fires at the edge of the lake. Spying a crowd outside the weatherworn clapboard house/info booth, we went to find out what has happening…it was a table holding a pavlova, several metres long, laden with cream and fresh berries. Everyone was tucking in as if it was their last meal on earth.
Which it wasn’t, of course, because the breakfast buffet on Sunday morning was yet another delight of warm pain au chocolat, heavenly egg, cheese and bacon cups, pastéis de nata, fresh fruit, luxury yoghurts, and chocolate milk (in case you’d missed the coffee truck in the glamping area or were too busy with the yoga class or didn’t know where Caspar got those Bloody Marys).
Late on Saturday night, Lady D tried out the Deep Sleep Experience in which she was folded into a cocoon and given headphones which played meditational words and music. While she did that, I found the not-so-secret after party in a ravine behind the gin and single malt bar. Because saying that is just so normal when describing what happened at Littlegig.
The thing about all this “free” stuff – which it’s not really because you pay a significant ticket price – is that it seems to make everyone appreciative, mindful, and not greedy. Sure, I have probably never been less upset about spilling my wine, but I also didn’t want to “take” anything I didn’t actually need or want. Maybe it was this, or maybe it’s the type of festival-goer Littlegig attracts, or the sheer beautiful effort and generosity of spirit on the part of the organisers as well as the attendees, but for these 24 hours I certainly felt peaceful, calm, and enrobed in good vibrations – and not in a hippy way either. I even talked to strangers while sober.
There’s only one thing I’d ask for next year and that’s please may we have a dance floor with music suited to us older lot? Songs with lyrics and no fancy DJ tricks…
PHOTO CREDIT: LITTLEGIG FACEBOOK PAGE