Life & Low-Tech

Oppurtunity Sings: A week at Permanent Beta Festival

For those that don’t know about Permanent Beta Festival, I invite you to read my first post here.

Sitting in an improvised chair made out of two wooden pallets, staring at a big blue sky, surrounded by tall pine trees, enjoying the warmth of a campfire, and the company of my fellows. It’s a typical evening at Permanent Beta Festival. And it’s beautiful.

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Permanent Beta Festival Main terrain 2018 at night

But there’s more to it, and it’s hard to explain in just words when your experience is the sum of a whole spectrum of sensory input, ranging from the taste of the wonderful food, the smell of nature that we all live so close to during the week, the exceptionally inspiring people we meet, the things we do, the things that people bring with them, and many other things that have gone unnoticed by my busy mind.

Like the post from 2 years ago, let’s try! Spin up the song “Radical Face – Always Gold” and let it sink in. Now sit back, and let the words flow and speak for themselves.

Imagine driving up the festival terrain, beautiful lights are greeting you, it’s like a giant invitation for those hungry and curious. You haven’t spoken to a single person yet, but you can feel the energy, the inspiration. As you set up your tent or caravan, the very sight of other people doing the same or the sounds that come from the center of the festival terrain already make your day. You’ll then know, something magical is about to happen.

You’re joining the other people at the festival terrain. Long tables and big tents are where it happens, you might be wondering what exactly, but you’ll find out when you read the workshops for the day. First, it’s time to settle, take a drink and talk to people.

As you walk around the festival you’ll see people setting up interesting (social) experiments. One that I really liked was an offline messaging service: it was a series of wooden logs with holes in them, one for each participant. You can write personal messages to anyone you like.

You’ve chosen a workshop, congratulations! Hmm, what is it? Breathing exercise? Sounds awesome! As you walk to the assigned tent for the workshop, you’ll see a group of people walking towards the same tent. You now have a group of like-minded people!

Oh! There’s the host of the workshop, let’s begin: Breathe in and out, should be easy, right? It’s not! At least in my experience, it was a very deep and thorough process that was accompanied by the rhythm from some kind of Celtic music.

Ok, now you’re fresh and rested from your first workshop. Let’s see what’s more: A lab-session! This is a special kind of workshop where an organization pays the festival to host this workshop so that they can get answers to difficult questions and problems, which in turn (partially) funds the festival.

Before you know it, it’s around ‘noon and you’re sitting by the campfire, that by the way, never stops burning! No, it’s not because of magical wood, or fire-replicating crystals, it’s because of a swarm of magical people that always make sure there’s enough wood in the fire. What’s better: Included with those people is you! That’s a lesson for today: 2 people make love, many people make magic.

Dinner time! Let’s go to the line and get our food. Oh my god, that smells good, but, it also smells unique, not your festival type of food. What could it be? Flash-forward to the table with food & drinks. You get your first taste of the food, you close your eyes to really take it all in and as your vision blacks out and the festival falls from view, you get the whole impression of today back in a boom of taste and texture as if the food and the festival were destined for each other. This, my dear reader, is the work of a kitchen that will have my deepest and eternal respect. The food is forged by the hands of gods.

As the evening falls you’ll notice more people gather by the fire. Let’s join them, get a few beers or other beverages, and talk, laugh, or, as I did on my last day, simply lay back and hear and feel. It’s 00:14 and maybe it’s time to go to bed. As you walk to grab your stuff and get a shower you’ll notice your need to sleep drives away and you decide to join the fire again. Ok, got loose by a few beers, let’s go dancing at the silent disco (a disco with music through synchronized headphones, because of a no-noise policy).

02:35, shit! Let’s go to the hot tubs in the wellness area! People you’ve seen before at the festival join in and soon you find yourself talking about anything you may have encountered, or maybe you’re just listening.

Waking up again in your tent, under a pile of stuff that you’ve perceived as a blanket, you’re trying to wake up and start the day again. Everyone at the festival is a crew member, so that includes you! Let’s find a task to do, I got lucky and had bar-service, but it’s quite popular, so be quick! As you signed up for your task and get started, your hangover starts to fade and you’re ready for a new day.

This will repeat itself for 5 days, but every time with new experiences and views. Day in, day out, never bored, always energy, always passion, empathy, always something to do and someone to care for.

Until the day that it’s time to pack and leave. You try to do some final help breaking down the festival and larger tents.

You get in the car, you drive away, only for you to realize that a piece of the people you’ve met left with you! And then, once you finally get the time to pick up your phone, you’ve realized something beautiful: A piece of you left with them too! It isn’t explicitly written by anyone who you’ve spoken to, but you can tell from the messages they’ve sent you.

And then you’re at your house, you get out of the car, grab your stuff, the front door closes. And you scream out of happiness. What a fucking amazing week!

Want to know more about Permanent Beta Festival? Check out their website here.

The contents of this post are my own opinions based on actual experience. I was not paid nor sponsored otherwise to make this post.

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