Welcome Home, Forest Family.
Everything leading up to a music festival, from making lists to grocery shopping up through your arrival at the venue is about enough to make your average person never, ever want to do it again. Even parts of the festival itself fall into the “minus column.”
After you’ve labored over lists, after repeated trips to the store, after packing, repacking and tetrising all your shit into your car one more time, after the drive with a gallon of Red Bull and gas station food, you’re directed into the start of a long series of lines. It’ll be single file at first, but eventually you wind up in a sprawling field about 20 lines of cars across, that faintly resembles a large, grassy conveyor belt.
At the point everybody gets to the conveyor belt to security lines, most people happily step out of their rolling cages, and little parties crop up in the thickening blanket of heat, dust, exhaust, and smoke. This is also where you – well, it’s where I usually ask myself what the hell I’m doing here. There’s a very substitute teacher/lax babysitter kind of feel. Beer, booze, slap the bag, weed, cigarettes, the wretched fruit orgy stink of e-cigs and the musk of dust permeates the air. Sure, it’s a lot to handle at first, but it’s also a sort of rite of passage, and a primer for the weekend ahead. Those smells, that yelling, the cranked-to-eleven music you’d never put on yourself, that’s all going to be around you for the next x days. Just not in such overwhelming qualities, nor all at the same time.
Once everyone gets through the security checkpoint, and is directed to their respective sites, all the raging tempers a little, and evens out. Mostly.
Unless you’re one of the lucky few to arrive early and when the staff at the gate are feeling charitable, you will wind up at your site and setting up around midday, and you’ll have a scant couple hours in shitty, dusty heat before it’s time to venture up to the festival gates for the proper start to your Forest experience.