ConFest – April 2019

It’s hard to know where to even start with this post. Because there is so much I want to share.

I’ve been at a beautiful festival gathering called ConFest for the past 8 days. It’s a festival in which every single person there is part of the volunteer team. There is no amplified music at any time, so there are just workshops all day and a fire space with a drum circle to dance to at night.

I went with my two little glitter queens that I met in Thailand; Olive and Mooncake (McKenna). I picked them up and we drove the 5 hours up north in the New South Whales and it was such a joy to be able to spend so much time with them both and catch up on what our lives have been doing for the last two months.

This led to the festival feeling like it wasn’t in Australia at all, so coming back to Melbourne afterwards felt like coming home from travelling again, only this time I’m able to take all my friends home with me too. To have these smiling faces appear in my home town after the festival is something special.

The space was unorganised, dusty and I felt lost most of the time. With all the workshops in a different spot and with no map, I found myself just wondering around a lot and seeing what I stumbled upon; a salsa class, some yoga and meditation, a workshop on the art of receiving.

It did mean that there were workshops that I really wanted to do but wasn’t able to. Either because I was lost, time forgot to exist for a while and I’d miss it or I just simply was too caught up in another moment. Not a bad reason to be missing out on something, I guess.

It was also a clothing optional festival, which meant that there were a lot of naked people wandering around most of the day. This was fine, but what I found was that it’s still very obvious that there’s a certain amount of taboo about a woman’s body. All the men that were naked, were just naked. Whereas the women that chose to expose their bodies were mostly just top bare and bottom covered. Some men also decided to spot the look of Donald Duck; a shirt with no pants.

The fire circle that was created by the team there was absolutely phenomenal. It was a really large space which allowed about 15 people to be spinning fire at the one time which made for a beautiful space to explore and move around.

I found my fire spinning really changed in those few days. Almost all the other fire spinners there that I was working with have been spinning for a longer than me. Some only a couple of months, but others had years over me. I learnt so much from all of them, but also from myself. I found myself becoming far more confident in my performance. Having done dancing for a long time, my confidence in my art had kind of been beaten out of me to the point I was convinced I was actually just a bad dancer. However, performing to such a beautiful crowd allowed my performance to become a lot more expressive and open. With my little palm torches, I allowed myself to get a lot closer to people and make a lot more eye contact. It seems every night as well I had a little cheer squad of a crowd in one corner who would shout compliments at me.

The highlight of the fire space though was on the final night after the festival had finished. We did what we call a renegade burn; no rules, loud music and whatever we wanted to do. It started off with just playing around to music, then it turned in to doing duets to Disney musical numbers. I did a fantastic duet with the fire goddess Taisha, who organised the whole space, and also a sexy tango number with another goddess called Savannah.

We were all laughing and being so delightfully silly. Then a beautiful lady called Greer got up and did spoken word poetry just lit by fire which turned the tone to a little more serious. When she finished the question was asked “does anyone have anything else?” And I thought; yep, me.

It was set up so that I was just backlit with fire from some bigger props, then a little palm torch down the front. I put on a track called Introduction; Nothingness by Hayden Calnin which has part of an Alan Watts speech in it about the duality between being and not existing (definitely worth a listen). I then did an improvised lyrical routine without fire on me but instead, around me.

This is honestly a moment I will hold on to forever. Not just having the confidence to be able to go up and dance like that again, but also to have it received so well by everyone. I was describing the feeling to a friend the other day, and this is how I could translate it;

“It was like I could feel everyone falling just a little bit in love with me, but I was also falling in love with myself again.”

It was a truly magical experience that I have an infinite amount of gratitude for that moment I was able to share. 

So now that I’ve come back to Melbourne and I’m still living in this lovely warm glow, the question I am asking myself is, what’s next? 

I’ve decided to go back to Indonesia to Nusa Lembongan as I’ve been offered my old job back there teaching yoga. I really loved teaching there and learnt a lot about yoga and teaching. I’m also in contact with a space in Guatemala at the moment to see if I may head that way. I dare say that I’ll be around central America by the end of this year though. 

So that leaves me about two weeks left in Melbourne to get all my good vibes out here, and then pack everything I own again and shoot off into the next adventure. 

I wonder what will be next…

My two doodlebop friends, Olive and Mooncake.
Oh, and I have pink/purple hair now thanks to the beautiful extra mum I have, Sue Cutler.

And just for your viewing pleasure, someone managed to capture the moment of the dance I did. The sound is a bit crackly and it’s not edited or anything, but just so you can gage the kind of feeling of being there. Enjoy. 

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