Nation of Gondwana – A whole load of tits and what the fuck

By Kai Teo
Photos: Isabell N. Wedin and Manolo Ty

Festival: Nation of Gondwana 2014
Venue: Grünefeld, Berlin, Germany
Date: 19–20 July ‘14
Artistes: See full list here

What we know about German festivals is that they are fucking hardcore. Everything is blown out of proportion, everyone is insane, and everyday has a new “what the fuck” in store. Nation of Gondwana 2014 was exactly this, and a little more.

For Buddha Mag, the festival began at Copenhagen Airport. One delayed flight, 3 pints of Carlsberg, and 2 bottles of Fireball (cinnamon whisky). We passed the bottles around the boarding area and that, of course, made us quite a few friends, and earned us a few jealous stares from the airport staff.

The flight was a blur and we missed more trains and connections, finished the bottles, ate something that a kind Samaritan passed to us, and miraculously made it alive to our friend’s apartment. Oh yea, that’s right, we were supposed to be there for their birthday.

And we passed out.

The next day began with more Fireballs, more beers, and fuck loads of wine. Boom. And another blur later, we were at Nation of Gondwana, with a crew of about 8 semi-conscious badly-behaved half-adults, pitching our tents haphazardly without much concern for personal safety and structural stability. But fuck it, we were here to party, not to sleep.

The absinthe started, but the music didn’t.

The party would officially start on Saturday and we were one day early, along with about 5,000 other eager party animals who chose to come stand around an empty field instead of partying in the city. And when you put so many drunk and high young people in one place, something good will happen anyway.

The DJ was the ultimate tease. He did this whole epic build-up, and then let it fade to nothing. And this happened the entire night. The bass was never strong enough, the music never loud enough, and the vibe, never quite full enough.

It was as if the DJ was saying, “Hippies, go to sleep, come back tomorrow for the real party.” 

Oh no we didn’t. Absinthe, mysterious pieces of cardboard and creatively packaged sugar-like natural minerals had awakened the animal within us and we were so wide-awake we couldn’t even blink, let alone sleep. The night had come and the moon (not sure if the moon was actually in the sky or in my head) was casting its soft glow on the festival grounds. Its face was reflected in the lake, causing us to see double of its beauty (again, not sure if this part was true).

The tiny beach beside the lake was illuminated by a blanket of white light rings that consumed everything in its path. Everything was polka-dotted and I could not make out a person from a pile of sand. And yes, that was a little discombobulating. If not for the reflection of the mirror-surfaced water, the ground would have looked like it was flowing in uncontrolled currents, dancing about in ecstasy to the what-the-fuck cock-teaser music.

Lights were too, cast onto the trees and that created an illusion that they were alive and breathing. We pranced about in the magical forest, frolicked in the lake and watched as our friends, who were under the furious assault of the absinthe monster, collapsed one by one and stumbled off to their tents under the lure of their green fairy dreams.

But sleep is for the weak. My eyes were wide open, and my mind was too.

And we sat, people came to sit with us, some others came to dance naked in front of us, and invited us to swim in the tits-infected waters. But we sat, and sat, and sat. And that’s when we met the Tiger of Gondwana.

This Tiger didn’t have stripes, it wasn’t a cat, and it probably didn’t have a tail. It was French, male, high, and would probably eat you if you weren’t nice.

He sprinted round and round the trees in his tiny swimming shorts, occasionally letting out piercing screams and predatory hisses. He was frightening to be near, but hilarious to watch. His eyes looked straight into yours but he didn’t see anything. All he saw was that he was a wild man, an unearthly beast, or what we would like to call, the Tiger of Gondwana.

We decided to arm him with a walkie talkie. And sent him off on a mission to nowhere and nothing. All we could hear was hissing coming from his end. And with that, we watched the sun rise behind the canopy of the trees, not knowing whether he was alive, or whether he had devoured any innocent festival-goer.

At 8 in the morning, when the festival hadn’t even officially started, everyone you see still awake is probably a very happy person.

Breakfast fireball happened. Then someone came up with a bad-tasting round thing that tasted bad and had a female name for a euphemism. We hadn’t slept, and we’d definitely not sleep now.

Then the real music began. It wasn’t psytrance. But it was heavy as fuck. And we transformed into animals of Gondwana under the sweltering heat of the summer sun. We sweated like pigs, leaped like monkeys and paddled wildly in the lake like wild dogs.

Here’s what happened for the next 2 days. Boom boom boom, dance dance, alcohol alcohol, what-the-fuck-did-you-just-put-in-my-mouth, get naked, swim swim swim, dance dance dance dance, a friend’s foot got cut, another passed out without the pulse and was found face down in the forest (he’s still alive today), dance dance dance.

And that was it. Nation of Gondwana. Music was fast and furious. People were insane and friendly. We made a lot of new friends, some found new lovers, some found themselves, and some are found passed out on the ground.

And if there was something that prevented us from dying of dehydration and heat exhaustion, it was the lake (I didn’t make this up, there really was a lake).

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