Those of you that know me well know that I’m never one to pass up an opportunity for a dance and a carry on. When these opportunities present themselves, you’ve just got to take advantage of them right!? Well, having spent a few days in Puerto Montt, I decided I’d check out the Events section of Facebook and see if there was anything interesting happening nearby. One event jumped straight out at me…
The event was about 30 miles away in an environmental / native peoples’ type community facility. I took a chance and decided to give it a look on Bumble thinking that I could check it out for an hour or two then come home if I didn’t like it or drink some beers and commit to the all-nighter. Musically, it’s not exactly my current taste but it was once upon a time (early nineties) so I knew my muscle memory would remember. The DJ lineup indicated marginal variations of techno and trance but it all sounded like the Goa/Tribal type stuff to me.
I put the co-ordinates in my sat nav but passed the site two or three times before realising the locked gate was the way in. I almost bottled it at that point fearing that it might be full of teenagers (after all, my own daughter likes this stuff now). Anyway, I persevered, gained access and whilst locking up Bumble a friendly guy came over and asked how I was doing.
He turned out to be the promoter who proceeded to give me a guided tour of the site and introduce me to key people. Thankfully, the crowd was mixed ages, mostly 20-30s, all very cool and welcoming. It didn’t take me long to decide that I’d have a few beers and stick it. It certainly did no harm that the bar price was 2 x big beer cans for £3. Later I favoured a switch to wine, advertised as £3 on the chalk blackboard. I jokingly asked if that price was for the whole bottle..yep!! And not your Sainsbury’s £7 a bottle Chilean either… a far better drop than that. Most people were smoking weed, some were drinking. Unusually for this kind of event, I didn’t see anyone on anything stronger.
It was a small set up, perhaps only 100 people but it punched well above its weight. The 2 stages had proper sound systems, set just right for the environment, plenty of bass and depth and not too much ear piercing top end (soul venues take note!). After nightfall, the area around the stage had computer visuals as good as any I’ve seen lately (Public Service Broadcasting, Olafur Arnalds) breathtaking stuff. It was staffed by volunteers/collective members and there was no security, and no need for any. I guess it was the kind of set up everyone thought would come of the summer of love in 1988/9 but but that quickly got overtaken by people wanting to make money/prohibitive law making/drugs/violence/commercialisation etc. etc.
The people were super friendly and all from Chile or Argentina, one young lad I spoke to had hitchiked from Argentina just for the event. As the early hours came along I feared the music stopping and me dossing down under one of the gazebos freezing my nads off but I needn’t have worried, the music didn’t stop. Ever. And I found some hardy souls to hang out with around the open fire as temperatures dipped to about 5 degrees then quickly warmed as the mid-morning sun broke through.
I could have let my nerves overcome me at the gate, but yet again, if any more evidence was needed, I was reminded that we should all make the most of opportunities that present themselves. It’s the way that we meet good people and that good things happen. More power to this lot, they’re doing something really special that we no longer have in the UK, if we ever did.