Reforest Fest

IMG_20130520_185447It’s been an age since I’ve stepped foot into a festival as hippie sounding as Greenpop’s Reforest Fest. I used to frequent the ‘hippie scene’ and although I am now in the fashion industry and a little less in love with dust/mud and unbrushed hair, my heart is still into all those touchy-feely, hug-a-tree type things. It’s never faux pas to help save the planet and make it a little better for those generations that will come after us.

I had also decided that this could be a good bonding experience for my mum and I, seeing as I’ve been so busy lately.

So my mum and I headed out on Friday after work. Thanks to Kalk Bay traffic and a couple of idiots driving 60km/h on the freeway, we arrived in the pitch blackness that is a Cape Town winter’s night. It wasn’t too bad as my beloved father had loaned us a tent which he said was one of those cool fold out thingamabobs, easy peasy right, until it turned out to actually be a full on pole-needing tent with a little patio set up. Luckily I’m quite tent savvy and we had friendly neighbours who also happened to have better torches than we did. Once the tent was sorted we walked around and drank in the awesome set-up that was Reforest Fest 2013.

Below is a beautiful picture I drew of the camp site layout.map of reforest fest

So now you know kind of what it looked like. The first night was spent mostly with our neighbours who we learned work for a place called Reliance (a composting company) and were there on a team building exercise. Most of us ended up around the ‘smoking area’ bonfire playing guitar and singing till the late hours of the night. Not many of us got sleep on Friday as it was absolutely freezing and a few people had devoured more wine than was necessary, keeping them jovial and loud until sunrise.

Saturday started with a yoga and meditation session in the forest under one of the most beautiful trees, said to be over 2000 years old. It was the most beautiful and peaceful space I have had the opportunity to experience in quite some time. After the recharge session and a relaxed breakfast around the main bonfire, we were introduced to the Greenpop team and the owners of the beautiful forest before heading off in our groups to start the planting process. In the demonstration we were shown how to dig an oval shaped hole and fill it with mulch made from all the alien trees which had been cleared from the area, and then how to place 6 little trees around the edges in order to mimic the natural growth formation of the already existing forest. We planted Bladder Nuts, Milkwoods, Wild Olive, Wild Peach and Hard Pear, and by the end of the day we had managed to give homes to around 3000 baby trees! This led into a night of exhausted but happy people gatheringaround the main bonfire for a night of live music and good food.

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Whilst we waited for supper, which was running a bit late, the bands started and people entertained themselves with warm drinks and talk around the bonfire, poi, tree swings, hula hooping and dancing. My mum and I were sitting by the fire chatting to all sorts of cool new people and I even got up and joined in the poi for a while, something I haven’t done in ages! There was such a sense of community and although we were all utterly exhausted it was the kind of happy exhaustion brought on by doing something rewarding. Unfortunately I am still recovering from the flu so not long after supper I decided to head to the tent and catch up on some much needed rest.

On Sunday morning people slowly trickled in to the community area and once again mingled around the bonfire and had a relaxed breakfast before the fun activities started. We had a choice of art, forest walks (which my mum chose), slack lining, an improve group, laughing yoga, a talk on tree essence and, the one that I went with, a discussion group with the title “Eddie Vedder and Conspiracy Theories”. The guy who was running it was a good laugh and I figured the discussion would be humorous as well as interesting…and so it was! We started off learning a bit about Eddie Vedder (the lead singer of Pearl Jam for those of you who are as clueless as I was) and then arbitrarily moved into conspiracy theories. Everything from David Ike and the lizard people to the Rothchild family, control of the masses and advertising, is global warming a hoax, how Eddie Vedder is a lizard person along with the royal family, how we must watch out for Jewish people because of their horns and tails, how fluoride in our water is used for mind control…and other such things. Most of us were in hysterics and I am honestly glad I chose to join in.

IMG_20130520_192604After the activities was lunch, however my mum and I decided it was time to start the 3 hour journey back to reality (and my other half, whom I was missing quite a bit). We had already packed up the beloved tent and all our goodies and as we climbed into the car I felt a bit sad that the weekend had come to an end so quickly! We had formed a little community in that short space of time and looking back at the experience I must say that the festival set up was phenomenal; the venue was stunning, the food was delicious, the activities great fun and the people were friendly and kind. I can honestly say I will never forget the Resforest Fest, and perhaps I will be there again next year…but this time with a hair brush, blow up mattress and no flu!

Article contributed by Lauren // @LaurenChowles

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