MTN Bushfire 2023, day two

MTN Bushfire 2023 day two

MTN Bushfire, Saturday

Saturday morning arrives way too soon. It is day two of Bushfire and I am exhausted from too little sleep and also a bit hungover. Every friend I met yesterday wanted to buy me a beer or do a shot together. I am blaming the festive energy for getting carried away, I completely forgot I am not 21 years old anymore. The rest of the festival people staying at the Legends Backpackers Lodge, felt the same. Nobody was rushing, thank goodness. We took a super chilled morning, stopping at the shopping center The Gables to eat some brunch. Mugg & Beans food delivers a level of marvelous heaviness; it sinks my whole energy. After six months of beans and rice, the fast food completely floors me (and not in a good way). It was truly delicious though! The Bushfire festival area is already buzzing with happy, dancing festival participants when we get there. Feeling quite drowsy from the brunch still, we decided to start the day at the Amphitheatre stage. It is the only stage that has a roof and places to sit, perfect for my current energy level! The band that is about to perform has invited Namakau Star to front their performance. The energy in the audience is erratic and unfocused when she goes on stage but as soon as she starts singing, a silence lowers itself over the Amphitheatre. By the end of her performance, pretty much everyone there is dancing. The power of art and the influence of artists hits me full force. I think… I think I could also do that. I think I should… I’m supposed to write music and perform. Maybe that is what is next for me.

MTN Bushfire day two entrance
Thobile Makhoyane Bushfire 2023
Thobile Makhoyane performing at Bushfire. Picture taken by Jonathon Rees, link in photo.

The highlight of Bushfire: Thobile Makhoyane

As I have said before, I did not come to Bushfire for the line-up. Honestly, I felt relieved that this was my attitude before coming here. Otherwise, the composition of Saturday’s line-up would have been disappointing. Being on a continent so vast and rich in music of every kind, a ´great  international music festival´, doesn’t necessarily mean listening to European bands… I don’t know if it was the structure of the line-ups itself, or the selection, that made it hard for me to stay put. Instead I spend the day mingling between one group to the next. Right before the festival started, almost all of the people I was supposed to go with, canceled. I was afraid this was going to make the festival a lonely experience but today, floating around between different clicks, I just felt blessed. This way of existing suits my Aqua-babe personality perfectly! After losing my friends for the 11th time I decide to head back to the Amphitheatre stage. There is somebody about to perform that I simply can’t miss!


I arrive just in time as Thobile Makhoyane takes the stage. She is an artist from Eswatini with her base in Maputo, Mozambique. Her presence glows even stronger than her vibrant, red gown. I’m filled with excitement! With this artist, you never know what flavor she has in store. On the few occasions that I have had the pleasure of witnessing her live performances, they have never been the same. If the title ‘creative genius’ is applicable on anyone, it is Thobile Makhoyane. What has been consistent in her live acts is how her performances always leave you moved. No matter what energy you came into the room with, you will be moved by her. By her voice, her energy and mere presence. Tonight is no different. After a whole day of wandering between stages, never really feeling settled anywhere; Thobiles voice grounds me. Something in her vibration makes me want to try to be as present as she is, not to miss a single thing. Just like her voice made me run to the Main Stage yesterday as she opened Bushfire 2023, her voice calls to me tonight. In a matter of seconds, I have descended the stone laid stairs and find myself in the middle of the now dancing crowd. I emerge myself completely and thank my lucky stars that this is my life now.

Bushfire camping

I ended my Saturday night in the festival camp area. As I didn’t have a festival bracelet, I had to be smuggled in. Or not really, it wasn’t so hard. I just played the female accessory to a mans’ desire and (poof!) I was in! Earlier that evening, as I discovered the delicious Global Village Food, I had run into one of the best people I know: Bolo-do-amor. It means Cake of Love and I could not think of a better nickname for this energetic entity! Even though he is working all through-out Bushfire, we manage to get a few dances in together. Let me tell you, he is the best dance partner-in-crime that anyone could ever ask for. An energy that never ceases and with a light that increases the frequencies of everyone around him. Eventually, Bolodoamor has to go back to work and that’s how I end up getting smuggled into the festival campsite by a friend of a friend. Let’s call him Mike. Mike is friendly and eager to show me around. As the guards let us through the gates, a whole new world opens up before me. Fresh water access and well lit and clean bathrooms to name a few! Everywhere I look, people are huddled together by campfires and boom boxes outside green and gray tents. The smoke from the many fires linger like an intense incense in a closed room, far away I hear drums. I suddenly feel the energy that everyone has emitted when they have spoken about Bushfire. The mystery. The community. The creativity. It’s all there, in the all encompassing smoke. Next year, I am definitely camping!

 

MTN Bushfire 2023 day two
Theglobalentity at Bushfire 2023

In the middle of the camp site, there are several seating arrangements around different fires. There is a bar and a food place and some of the groups gathered are playing music on different loudspeakers. Instead of a roof, there are carnival lights hung up like a  tivoli tent, making it a beacon of light and direction at the pretty dim campsite. I look around, I could probably find my way here on my own tomorrow night. I have heard that the campsite afterparties Sunday night, when the last performance has ended, are crazy and I don’t plan to miss out! “So, that boyfriend of yours… is it serious?” Mikes’ question pulls me away from the schemes of tomorrow. I sigh. We have already talked about this. Twice. Do I have a boyfriend? Yes. No. The real answer is irrelevant. I have found that the easiest answer to this question, when out partying, is yes. That evidently doesn’t stop it from being a topic of interest though. This time, I answer by proclaiming my deepest love and gratitude to having female friends. I ask him, why is friendship not enough? It’s not like he knows me anyways, we met a few hours ago. Why is friendship not the ultimate goal?

The situation annoys me, why should I keep investing my energy into a conversation with somebody who apparently only sees the value in that if he gets to be physical with me. It touches on another subject close to my heart: security and female independence. I am here because the company of this man made it possible for me to safely explore a new area at night. The safety of my ‘protector’ is guaranteed through my friendship to another man. Ever since I started becoming independent, I am time and time again reminded that my safety and well-being exists at the mercy of the men I surround myself with. How limiting. And yet, when Mike puts me in a cab at four AM I am eternally grateful for his mercy, despite it probably being dependent on how fuckable he deems me to be. Excuse my French.

 

If you want the experience in video format you should check out my tiktok!

3 thoughts on “MTN Bushfire 2023, day two”

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