Sunday, 8 November 2015

Newtown Festival: about being hipster and connecting

For those who didn't know: Newtown is where all your hidden hipster roots come alive. The streets are incomparable to any other street in Sydney; it is littered with art shops, street musicians, vintage and alternative shops, and foods from varying regions. With its graffiti it almost feels like a Little Melbourne. The first thing I fell in love with were the chocolate bars and bookshops. I feel like Sydney/Melbourne have a greater appreciation for the arts (and chocolate) than any other city in the Netherlands. I have been to more arts and writing related events in the past few months than I have all of my life. Being alternative doesn't seem to be a big thing here, it is far more acceptable to have brightly coloured hair or a slightly different fashion taste. Today in Newtown I was exposed, yet again, to some hipster fashion I wish I had the fashion taste for, and also some amusingly body-painted guys calling themselves 'Miss Newtopia' for god knows what reason. Check out the Humans of Newtown website or Facebook page to find some pictures, including of those who attended Newtown Festival this year.

But before I rant on about the festival, let's give you a short vibe of Newtown:

Of course it's mostly graffiti.

I actually don't have many pictures of the festival because there is really not much to show if you're too shy to take pictures of people or to take close-ups of stalls when the owner watches you, knowing you're yet another picture-obsessed tourist who will probably not buy anything. Like any other festival, there was grass and some stages to enjoy music you have never been exposed to. The stalls, for once, did really tempt me as they were full of creative jewellery, clothes and leather. What to expect when you're in Newtown, right? As for the food, it was as diverse as what you'd find outside this well-fenced park. It ranged from vegetarian Indian food to Bratwurst to Turkish food.

But besides all of this exoticness, it was really being surrounded by people that urged me to write about this event. The first two or three hours I just walked around aimlessly, looking at things, listening to music, to the extent that I started to think I might have glamourized aloneness in the past. I have always dreamed of doing some roadtrip with nothing but a sketchbook, a camera and some essentials. Today I realised how boring that might become after a while. Lying alone in the grass, enjoying some music, just isn't the same as lying in the grass next to someone, even though you barely talk and both have your eyes closed. It reminded me of going to the Appelpop Festival last year, doing just that, with one friend. It was much more enjoyable even though Newtown Festival was much more exotic.

Kidszone, music in the grass, stalls... you name it.

It was not until I saw a handful of youngsters dancing in front of a DJ while a whole crowd was surrounding them by just sitting in the grass, that I felt the pull to truly go and connect with people. There they were, four people with some average wacky moves, but looking like they had so much fun. In a few minutes, many more people started to join, and I was one of them. Some hiphop duo had just entered what was called the 'Essential Stage'. Apparently the duo was called B Wise, and they were all about the 'vibes and the bounce'. It was obvious why because their songs made you want to move (even me, with my two left legs). But what made this performance special, was when the rapper suddenly told us to say 'what's up' to the person standing next to us, because it could be awkward going loose with dance moves with people you barely knew.

Before I knew, I was high-fiving and hugging some random girl, then she spun me around as I was still hugging her so tightly (in hopes of not falling), and in the corner of my eye I saw someone with a fancy Canon flashing a picture of us. That, was happiness to me. It made me feel much more comfortable doing those ever-same rustic moves I always do during dance parties, but I couldn't help but keep smiling. No one was a jaw-dropping dancer on the grass, but everyone was smiling and not having a care in the world. What's more: I felt proud of myself because I dared to ask the photographer to e-mail the picture (we'll see if she forgot or not). That is actually a big thing to me because I have been meaning to ask her for 3 songs long.

In between the musical acts were surprise poetry performances to promote the Caravan Poetry Slam which would be held this Tuesday. Just yesterday I was complaining to people how I did not keep my promise by pushing away each possibility to perform, and that most poetry slams or open mics have probably already stopped. Then I heard about this and even though I do not like it (unprepared, and going on stage is just a scary thought), I e-mailed to apply. We'll see if there's still place.

So despite not having made a whole bunch of pretty pictures during the festival, I still feel content about the day. I danced for at least an hour without a care in the world. I hugged a stranger and approached another one. I did not give in to my jewellery obsessions at the stalls. Okay, I did, I bought one ring, but I haven't had a ring for months and it's been feeling empty around my finger. I was tired and sometimes bored but I was alive. That's not something I could've accomplished by watching another episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, even though it does give you some normal-girl-gone-superhero vibes.

Let's just end this post with a whoop.


P.S.: For those who are wondering, I lost all of my Adobe software since my laptop got a burnout so I made these collages this website. I must admit, it is much easier and convenient than Photoshop.


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