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Splore ' via Obscure

.. . shiny happy people, toilets, awesome Splore crew, Fire Truck transporter, scenery, art installations, light suit madness, vege wraps at Bountiful Earth, Hungarian fried bread, Butterfly Zoo

20 Feb 2008

Splore…where to begin? I guess the start is a good place! We drove up from Wellington leaving at 6am and after a great drive up, not too many dickheads on the road and a questionable food experience in Taihape (the boiled eggs in ‘Boiled Eggs with Soldiers’ should be runny, yes?), we arrived at around 5pm on the Friday.

Getting into the event was pretty flowing, relatively quick and the lovely lady on the gate who sent us on our merry way up the gravel road of happiness started our Splore experience off on a great foot. Unfortunately that’s where our lovely experience with the security staff ended…apart from the lovely lady who waved us off at the end. I understand that when you are working in security at a big event, it can be stressful, fraught with drunken fools or just general fools but that doesn’t mean that you have to be rude or obnoxious in your work. I’ll leave this here because in general we had an awesome Splore experience and the organisation this year was much improved (layout, more and cleaner toilets, great crew - especially when technical glitches beyond their control threw a curveball at them), there were just smatterings of dealings or observation of dealings with security guards (disappointingly all men) that were less than positive.

As always with events like Splore, it is the punters who make the event. And this year’s Splore punters did not disappoint. We constantly met and had interactions with peaceful, loving, happy people. And really, what do we need more of in the world? Love. It’s a shame the feeling and vibe of Splore and the love generated couldn’t be replicated and distributed throughout our general society. One damn fine idea that came out of the weekend in one of the many discussions between friends and I was that we need to start a ‘Love School’ because people have forgotten how to…watch this space.

There was ‘Stevie’ with his fantastical festival bike, ever-present effervescence and on Saturday night, I believe the only person at Splore with a large frog on his head. There was ‘Jimmy Nipples’ who was innocently walking through our tent site lounge to get to the loos and was accosted for having very handsome nipples. And what festival would be complete without Tim ‘the Fireman’ Turner and his Fire Truck of Love ferrying people back and forth from the campsites to the main party zone.

The music this year seemed to be very DJ orientated (not that that’s a bad thing!) with fewer bands, but that may have been because of what I saw…not being omnipotent I couldn’t be in more than one place at a time and of course everyone’s experience is going to be different. Kora are always a festival highlight for most with their consistently high energy and musically evolving performances. Tiki and the performance by the Te Pou O Mangatawhiri Kapa Haka group from Ngaruawahia was in a word, phenomenal. The hairs raised on the back of my neck and it made me extremely proud of our country’s Maori culture (past and present). And I wasn’t the only one, as I was walking away from the main stage area, I overheard a woman say that the performance had brought her to tears.

Without a shadow of a doubt, my ultimate festival highlight was ‘Butterfly Zoo’. We got to the Living Lounge at 9.30pm to an already growing queue to get in. It was like waiting outside a renowned guest list only new club although with much better scenery and zanier, seraphic, pretension-free people in the queue. The ‘doors’ opened on time at 10pm and we entered the delectable and tantalising world of burlesque. Most people were dressed up and in all manner of ways, there were dapper men in suits, Roman Gods, gorgeous girls in burlesque outfits, corsets everywhere, animals of many descriptions (I myself went for a colourful cat, meow!), and in general a feeling of wanton abandon. We (the crowd) were ready and open to anything and boy were we treated to some new experiences! Another thing we need in the world. Openness. It took me back to ‘Lost Vagueness’ madness and entertainment at Glastonbury.

There were no disappointments at Butterfly Zoo, the MC or Ringmaster, if you will, for the evening was the quick witted, naughty and dashing Dai Henwood. He evoked belly laughs and general frivolity every time he took to the stage. Whoever chose him as the Ringmaster gets top points. In between acts, the delightful and enchanting Miss Tui and her band of merry men tickled our ear drums with French inspired jazzy tunes. Then there were the acts, and I don’t want to miss any of them out as they were all fantastic. Ms Mmmmmmm delighted us with her dulcet tones and the most exquisite butterfly costume I have ever seen. There was the luscious Lili la Scala which of her three performances, I think the balloon dance was my favourite. There was something about the combination of her provocative moves, the gradual revealing of more skin and the popping sound of the balloons. Mmmmm, poptastic!

The Va Va Vooms wowed us with there fabulously choreographed and executed incredibly sexy dance numbers while Xiahui Lu enraptured all with her alluring and accomplished Chinese fan dancing. Here’s Sammy! Yes, Mr Sam Wills, crikey, what a guy! He can pull a string of balloons through his nose and out his mouth, he can put a 4 inch nail up his nose and fit his body through a tennis racket. Look out ladies, this is one talented and entertaining guy. And speaking of talented guys, Pascal Ackerman had the crowd in awe of his strength, rope skills and tight package.

The ‘stah’ of the show was definitely Empress Stah, her lubricious, titillating and risqué acts left everyone panting for more. The one that sticks in my mind most vividly is the ‘Golden Glitter Extravaganza’. Head to toe in gold glitter and not much else, Empress Stah proceeded to tease us with a hula hoop dance, oil all over her body washing the glitter down her body revealing her ‘sexier the more you saw it’ body and the pièce de résistance was removing a gold balloon from her pussy, blowing it up, simulating some sexy time action and then popping the balloon spilling glitter out everywhere somewhat symbolising an explosive orgasm.

As I mentioned earlier everyone is an individual and has an individual relative experience of things. My Splore positives were the love, shiny happy people, toilets, awesome Splore crew, Fire Truck transporter, scenery, art installations, light suit madness, vege wraps at Bountiful Earth, Hungarian fried bread, Butterfly Zoo and my Splore negatives were some of the security staffs’ attitudes and a seemingly more money orientated Splore.

But the positives far outweigh the negatives and I’m sure I’ll be back when Splore O’clock rolls around again…with bells on…or perhaps a tail. Meow!

And so let’s try and keep the Splore vibe alive and give these three words life.

Love. Openness. Experiences.


Words & Pictures:

Dominika Zielinska
Michelle Pearson

More Pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/Domi.Zielinska/Splore08

Big Thanks: http://www.splore.net/