Resolved to Party: New Years @ Peats Ridge Festival
New Years Eve 2011 was forgettable. I spent the week leading up to December 31st going back and forth with 3 friends trying to decide what to do. A promising party cancelled due to a bedbug infestation. Not interested in paying $75 for a champagne flute and overdressed 905ers. The improbability of hitting one party on Roncy and another in Leslieville. The fear of starting the new year on a downtown street corner, shimmying to stay warm on numb feet without a cab in sight.
Once the nasty little critters infested Plan A, a million Plan B’s were tossed around. My gmail archives show a chain of 22 emails, including one that reads simply:
Yes, this is quite a quandary.
I knew which party I wanted to go to, but nobody else would decisively commit to it. I finally opted to stick with my indecisive little crew and ended up having a very mediocre night of texting, waiting, and wandering around Little Italy & Kensington trying to figure out where to go next. At the end of the night, feeling vaguely resentful and unfulfilled, I made a new years resolution. I resolved that I would stop waiting around for other people to do the things I want to do. 2011 was going to be the year of going places alone instead of not going at all.
I thought of this resolution last night, as I sat on the grass drinking a jug of Pimm’s watching the last rays of summer sunshine kiss the tops of the gum trees on the hills surrounding the Glenworth Valley. I looked around at the painted faces of my new Peats Ridge mates, and realized that for once in my life, I’ve truly fulfilled my New Years resolution. Whether it was deciding to check out a TIFF movie, drive up to the cottage for a day, or move half way across the globe for “no good reason,” my inner voice has not been drowned out by a cacophony of social pressures. All year, I have tried to ignore the drive to seek external validation of my desires.
And look where it got me!
New Years 2012 is one that I will not forget (except for the parts that I can’t remember). I rang in this apocalyptic year surrounded by strangers but feeling at home in the world. Instead of waiting around for someone to suggest a Sydney New Years plan, I was proactive and signed up to volunteer at Peats Ridge Sustainable Arts & Music Festival. I found a rideshare through a Facebook group, and headed up before sunrise on December 27th, two days before the festival began. I joined a dedicated team of vollies (they shorten everything here…getting used to it) decorating a tent with sparkly hearts and disco balls, mustering cars through dust choked paddocks, building bamboo structures, and swapping stories over meals in the crew tent.
I was dismally prepared, with a broken tent pole, a dead flashlight, and no BYO, but everyone I met was happy to lend a hand or share a bottle. By the time the festival began, I was walking around with my feet caked in mud, feeling like I owned the joint. Everywhere I went, one rag tag crew or another beckoned me to join their mob.
We spent our days soaking up heavy doses of sunshine and new music, swimming in the mucky river, doing laughter yoga and dance workshops. At night we danced our faces off, absorbed the psychedelic carnivalesque atmosphere on the festival grounds, and sat around in the wee hours sharing a hookah with crew of body painters. I went to Peat’s Ridge alone, but as soon as I unzipped my tent each morning, I was surrounded by friends.
Last night, Gotye counted down to midnight on the Bellbird stage and the crowd went nuts. I hugged my new Aussie friends in their feather boas and glittering facepaint, feeling sure of myself and proud of my decisions.
Here’s wishing you a happy, healthy and fulfilling new year. I’m still in the market for a shiny new 2012 resolution…hit me with some ideas!