Rainbow Serpent: Learning About Myself While Raving in the Outback

How Partying With Aussies Taught Me to Let Go of My Ego

Photos by:  Francesco Vicenzi

Like many in the California festival scene I have a well developed festival persona. My persona is an authentic representation of my real self, but playfully exaggerated and broadcast in technicolor. My fabulous sparkly outfits are designed to garner attention and entice nice strangers to connect with me through compliments. I’m not stingy with sharing accolades and I send compliments right back, building relationships based on mutual admiration. In fact my festival M.O. is pretty much the exchange of validation between myself and other attention seekers.

When I went to Rainbow Serpent in Australia this year, the vibe was quite different. Everyone was friendly and kind, but there wasn’t the same gratuitous exchange of compliments. As I pranced about in my purple fur crop top jacket and matching lycra tights no one said a word about what I was wearing. When I hinted that I had recently been to a festival in a far-flung corner of the world for work, no one asked me what my job was. None of the tactics I used to receive validation at other festivals worked; they simply fell flat. This was the first time in my travels I had experienced such a laid back vibe in the context of a festival. Even the famously humble Shambhalovies of Canada’s Shambhala humored me in my fishing for compliments. And while the Canadians didn’t seem to require validation they way I did, they didn’t withhold the accolades I craved. Not so at Rainbow. The Aussies genuinely wanted to be my friend — they just weren’t buying my persona.