On the eve of Strawberry Fields, as everyone scrambles home from work to frantically slam their “hippie pants” and fedoras into a country road bag, and wrap their bottle of vodka in a jacket sleeve, someone in Tocumwal sits and rehearses expressive and ironic ways of saying “NO” to the plethora of stupid questions that inherently come with running a festival in the middle of nowhere. “I have my ticket on my phone.. can I print it off here?” “No.” “Can I just pay on my card?” “…No” “But I thought fire works would be a fu…” “NO.” To ensure you get the most out of your Strawberry Fields experience and don’t send the staff into a rage spiral, we have compiled an essentials guide for your convenience.
Strawberry Fields is on the boarder of NSW and Victoria in Tocumwal, which is about an 8 hour drive from Sydney, and about 3 and a half hours from Melbourne. Print off the directions, learn them and live by them. One wrong turn could send your convoy on a 4 hour journey through the 7 circles of hell in a steel cage of tension on wheels. We learnt the hard way last year.
Remember gates open at 12pm on Friday, and entry time is restricted to 10am to midnight each day.
General shit to remember:
- Your ticket: Print it out before you leave home, there is no reception at the festival and no convenient urban metropolis that houses a printer in the middle of the bush. Don’t be that guy that makes your entire camp drive through the dead of night to ask the creepy sweat and oil soaked servo attendant with a mouth full of chewing tobacco to use the printer in the “back room”.
- Money: There are no ATM’s in the desert and you are very far away from the luxuries of EFTPOS, bring all the money you will need plus more.
- Rubbish Bags: This is a leave no trace event. Make sure you take everything from empty satties to the deflated blow up doll you used as part of your costume with you when you leave(and all your other rubbish).
- Don’t bring glass: It will get confiscated and you will have no one to blame but yourself for sinking sobriety and a hole in your wallet that could have easily been avoided by pouring your vodka into a water bottle.
- Road Safety: Drive safely and respect the road rules. Common sense should prevent you from driving under the influence, but if that eludes you; the anticipated heavy police presence should be a fierce deterrence. Last year 124 people were randomly chosen for drug swab testing as they exited the festival, with almost 1 in 2 testing positive for a substance. More recently there has also been high police presence as smaller festivals and bush doofs; just last month at Dragon Dreaming police made 74 drug related arrests with the aid of drug detection dogs, with 17 arrests within the first 2 hours of the festival.
- Water: Whatever you think you will need for 3-4 days in the bush- double it. There is minimal access to tap water on site and easy to underestimate how much water you need until you are 3 deep and trying to make out with the bearded babe next to you with sandpaper tongue.
- Food: Healthy snacks for the road, fresh fruit and veg for as long as it lasts in the esky, and as much Easy Mac as I can fit into a duffle bag for the come down.
- Your tickets.
- Clothing for all climates: it gets very hot during the day and very cold at night.
- Sunglasses: Tocumbal is essentially a time machine to the dirty thirties Dust Bowl, and you will surely emerge a shade of earthy brown (unfortunately for you pasty heathens crying with joy at the thought of a tan- it washes off). You WILL get dirt in every orifice if the winds pick up, bring some sort of eye/ face protection, or goggles for that ~*~steampunk badass~*~ effect.
- Torches: You’re in the bush and your phone will die about 10 minutes after entering.
- Disposable cameras.
- More water.
Our recommendations on what artists to add to your itinerary:
Nightmares on Wax
Nightmares on Wax
And most importantly, embrace SBYT as your new life moto for the next three days. Shit Before You Trip. Anyone who has ever encountered a drop toilet on acid can testify.