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Boom Festival by bike! A psy road-trip...

Reported by Ed Real on September 20, 2004

Words by Derek / Pics by Tom & Evy ::

Leaving London for an adventure is always exciting and I never sleep that well the night before.  This time however I was filled with some trepidation at the thought of riding a motorbike from London, through France and Spain, into Portugal to find a PsyTrance festival.  I decided to go initially after seeing pictures of the venue rather than because of who else was going or because I love PsyTrance.  The ride down was amazing, tiring, joyous, boring, beautiful, exhausting, refreshing, dusty and is one of the best trips I have ever done.  Over the months leading up to BOOM a large group of friends had banded together to come along and now I was the first arrival so landed the job of finding a home base.  The location was dry and arid country which meant prime camp sites were few and far between.  The ground was covered in thistles and patchy grass.  After walking around the whole site I found a little bay that called out to me as the perfect spot with some flat thistleless ground close to the lakes edge. Now it was just time to relax and wait. 

Texts started rolling in shortly after with people being a couple of hours away, then 'close' and finally the announcement they were here!  Of course here meant the gate which was still at times over an hour away from the lake.  There were some nightmare waits to get in but the excitement of arriving diluted the pain of waiting, walking and carrying gear. I should point out the temperature through all this is well above 30.  When I finally did meet people at the car park the grins were massive and a joy to see.  Camp settled in over the period of a couple of days with the expansion from 1 to 2 to 5 to 8 tents.  A shelter from the sun was rigged up and subsequently decorated with mirror balls, shiny materials, toys, plastic flowers and anything kitsch that could be found around.

A swim in the lake was a wonderful way to start the day, spend the day, end the day and evening swims cleaned off some of the dust.  The dust was just incredible with clouds of red at times hanging over the entire site.  the wind just didn't blow for hours at a time and the dancing just stirred the clouds of red energy thicker and thicker all the time.  Finally the wind would puff for a second, then blow a little harder but not enough to clear it all away and then out of nowhere a gale would blow up and cleanse the air.  All the time however I returned to the lake to lie in an inner tube for an hour or so floating around talking with friends about everything and nothing.  The other favourite thing to do was lie under the shade of the shelter dozing, sewing, sleeping, reading or talking about travel and life.  Life passed by at a very slow pace and time was enjoyed.

The festival was smaller than I had expected.  After the chaos of some larger, more hectic festivals I enjoyed the smaller numbers but it did mean the food choices also were limited.  There was a decent selection of vegetarian foods but after a couple of days the selection wasn't quite big enough for me.  Small portions most of the time and at a price.  The flea market was interesting but also a little limited and the comment that it looked like Camden markets was just all too true.  Truly a place to buy clothes that look good under black lights. 

While I was first setting up my tent conversation with the neighbours kicked off immediately with Maya and Martin.  A couple from London who had amazing travel stories including one about trying to buy garlic in South American towns that was quite funny.  The whole weekend would have been spent just meeting new people if we didn't have such a large group of friends which of course became a slightly closed group.  This was pretty much the standard everywhere with groups of 2 or more tents huddling together with communal shades strung between.  Next to us were the Earth women from London, the travelling carnie folk behind us and the gay French campers in front.  Everyone however was very much tuned into the same life as travellers, dancers and earth children that love a party but also just love.

The motorbike is a wonderful way to travel through new places.  Rather than viewing the country through windows you are there to smell, Leaving London for an adventure is always exciting and I never sleep that well the night before.  This time however I was filled with some trepidation at the thought of riding a motorbike from London, through France and Spain, into Portugal to find a PsyTrance festival.  I decided to go initially after seeing pictures of the venue rather than because of who else was going or because I love PsyTrance.  The ride down was amazing, tiring, joyous, boring, beautiful, exhausting, refreshing, dusty and is one of the best trips I have ever done.  Over the months leading up to BOOM a large group of friends had banded together to come along and now I was the first arrival so landed the job of finding a home base.  The location was dry and arid country which meant prime camp sites were few and far between.  The ground was covered in thistles and patchy grass.  After walking around the whole site I found a little bay that called out to me as the perfect spot with some flat thistleless ground close to the lakes edge. Now it was just time to relax and wait. 

I got sick on the second day and although I enjoyed the entire 5 days I spent there I was pretty ill most of the time.  I thought it was just the heat that was making me feel off but looking back I think I was just trying to deny that my body was having trouble with some bad critters in my stomach.  I did enjoy my time but jumping around and dancing just didn't work for me so instead I enjoyed the ability to chill and relax amongst friends.  I left on the Monday to go to Austria to go and find my love who had gone there for a wedding.  I was still ill and eventually turned back for London on Wednesday after a morning of being terribly sick and losing my sense of balance.  It was time to cut my trip short.  I finally made it back to London on the Friday and got to the doctor.  2 days later I headed down to hospital and was diagnosed as being chronically dehydrated.  Hey did I mention I was robbed, wallet stolen from my tent and helmet cut off the motorbike?  Looking back it's those things that make a holiday so memorable, I can say 'I went to Portugal for a festival riding my motorbike overland, I was robbed, I was sick for 10 days much of it whilst travelling alone and I had a brilliant time'.  Things like that make you just realise how strong you are and what a wonderful life we have.

I wouldn't go again next time but that is only because there are other festivals and adventures I need to do.  I would thoroughly recommend anyone who likes PsyTrance or is open minded enough to try it out that you go.  I haven't commented on the music and won't.  I'm not saying I didn't like it or that it was great, honestly I don't know as I just didn't pay much attention to it for no specific reason.  After a couple of days I felt like saying 'peace' to people as that's how I truly felt, a real hippy.  There were people from all over the world at one place in the middle of nowhere having a great time together and that is a wonderful thing.