Pitching a Tent for Festival Of The Sun
For any east-coast Australian teenager, the summer festival scene is a rite of passage. Who can forget the thrill of cold drink at 10am on a Saturday morning followed by a day of dancing in the sun in sync with thousands of other young and hook-up-able people? However, by the third summer, festivals lose a bit of their magic, and ultimately, you end up losing your shoes and wallet when your brother runs off with them to have sex in the shrubbery, then freeloading on a train home at 6pm and passing out, only to wake up with a homeless man warming his hands between your thighs (a la hobo Gemma Clarke).
Enter Festival Of The Sun. Lovingly known as FOTSUN, this festival without the festy runs for three splendid days in early December in Port Macquarie. Hate paying $12 for a can of Smirnoff Ice you haven’t been able to stomach anyway since Schoolies? Hate stressing out over overlapping headliners located on stages 5km apart? Hate being moshed against the sweating bacne of the raging shirtless bro in front of you, only to accidentally hook up with him 10 minutes later and have your tongue bitten out of MDMA-induced bruxism?
Then FOTSUN is probably for you.
Running from Friday to Sunday, FOTSUN costs around $120 for a ticket that includes parking and camping. Port Macquarie is about a seven-hour road-trip from Brisbane or a four-hour trip up from Sydney. After a very modest attempt at searching your car for glass bottles and contraband, the festival employees let you drive on in to the campground and set up wherever you can find space. For the humble swag, this isn’t too hard; however, with an entourage of about 15 people and your dad’s prized BCF eight-man, two-room tent, you might want to get in early on the Friday to get a spacious patch of land. Cabins are also available for an extra cost for the luxurious pussies amongst us.
Days are spent heading to the beach 100 metres across the road to rid yourself of the vestiges of the hangover from the night before, walking to town for a bacon and egg roll, then drinking, smoking and talking shit around your campsite. It’s heavenly. As seasoned FOTSUN veterans, my friends have a few traditions, including communally drinking goon out of a plastic kettle and covering ourselves in the tackiest fake tattoos. At about 1-2pm the music starts on FOTSUN’s one and only stage. You can either sit back in your camp chairs to watch from your tent or head into the festival grounds 20 metres away.
The line-up, lets be honest, isn’t FOTSUN’s biggest selling point. It’s definitely no Coachella. Back in 2009, Spiderbait was the headlining act, but nevertheless, I danced manically to Black Betty in the rain along with the other festivalgoers, despite previously comparing its sound to a mix between the Crazy Frog ringtone and a drill through the eyeball.
You can budget about $300 for the whole trip depending on your existing level of camping equipment and length of travel distance. You can probably save a few more dollars if you’re willing to live off Coles white bread, mi goring packets and whatever 2-for-1 goonsack special Dan Murphy’s has got going on at the time. All in all, you can’t go wrong.