Holy crap what a weekend. I’ve got a lot of sleep to catch up but it sure as hell was worth it. Even though the business didn’t make money, at least I personally did and definitely carried some of the team’s weight during clutch time on Saturday night. But we start from the start…
Friday: Day 1
It started on Friday when I had to wake up early to pick up the car at the rental agency at 7:30am, biking my way there with my festival prepared backpack and an extra tent for a colleague. I hadn’t driven a car for many months but I managed alright, although I was messing around with 1st gear acceleration a lot. I probably should’ve pressed the accelerator more when going from stop to start, but we survived the journey so I must’ve done some things right.
I picked up my colleagues from our office HQ and we drove to where we would meet our client and then to the festival with 2 more vans and supplies. We had a short meet and greet, and got on the road to make our way to Belgium. At one of the traffic lights I stalled the car, and we were supposed to be following the lead bus to another destination to pick up some things. The gap between us and the lead car was too big especially when they drove through an orange light and we lost them completely. I decided we’d stop at a gas station somewhere and coordinate our next move. I wrote down all the relevant addresses and numbers in my blue book the night before, so it wasn’t hard to make contact and change plans so that we’d drive straight to the festival.
Once we were there, we were lead to a parking lot and then got our hands working on unloading the van and organizing the space. It was a sunny and bright day; good to work conditions for me. The lead van arrived later and we helped out with some more organization and setting up our own tents before having a short briefing and receiving guests once the terrain opened at 14:00.
Our setup was actually quite nice. There were lots of places for people to lounge, and we had enough dancing space for people in front of the DJ booth. We were basically the 4th music providers on the terrain as there was a Salsa tent, an electronic music tent and the main stage tent with bigger performances. It wasn’t a huge festival, but still scalable if you had a lean business model.
It took some time for the people to stream in, and from the start I already felt that breaking even was going to be a challenge for the business, judging by the calculations made for necessary sales. I did my job nonetheless, and had some nice breaks as well, doing some Kung Fu break dancing and smoking some shisha at our neighbor’s tent who had an Arabian style tent serving fresh mint tee and shisha amongst other things. I thought this was a pretty genius concept because they had a minimal amount of staff, and the effort required to maintain a shisha pipe and serve tea was minimal.
Friday wasn’t hugely busy, but we got to know that the barbecues we had set up for food were going to be out of action because the fire brigade wasn’t happy about the combination of BBQ’s, dry grass and drunk people being so close to each other. At least we still had our gas woks which were able to be used. It was a really long day because there wasn’t much action but we stayed working until 4:00am, mostly serving beers, before returning to the campsite where we mingled with the people until bed time.
Saturday: Day 2
I had a really nice sleep from a bit past 6:00am to 10:00am. We decided to drive to the supermarket before work to get some breakfast and whatnot. The supermarket there looked more like a hardware store, which was interesting as I’d never seen that before. I bought some fruit and a breakfast drink, then we made our way back to the terrain to prepare for work starting at 12:30pm.
A little setup was in order to clean the place, and make it approachable for guests. The terrain filled up more quickly than it did on Friday and this would be our peak performance in terms of sales. At first, I was tasked to make sandwiches and switch to bar when necessary, but when the orders started piling up and production was a mess, I was tasked to take over orders and coordinate what was needed and who would be getting it. I turned a shitty situation into a less shitty situation which I got a lot of compliments from as well. Being the pivot between production and sales, I felt that the team was rallying on me to salvage the situation which felt good being able to create such an impact.
After the surge however, I was kind of destroyed. Some of my colleagues went out partying on the dance floor (where we had quite a party) but I was too depleted to do anything but lean on the van, waiting for orders. My mind was still in work mode and I found it hard to let go until work was really over.
Sunday: Day 3
When it was 4:00am and the party was over, we made our way to the tents to chill once more. We talked for a bit and I had some interesting interactions. I couldn’t sleep though because of the voices in my head and outside. Since I couldn’t sleep, I chilled outside and saw people waking up, getting out of tents to go back to their own, followed by slander from unidentifiable voices. I was in a bit of a psychedelic state being partly amused, partly anxious. I made sure to be prepared for work before I tried to sleep once more, and eventually left to our stand at about 12:15pm.
It was good having work to get me back in shape. Our setup on Sunday was much better, even though in the morning we had to get used to it for a bit. Instead of it taking 15mins preparing a meal with chicken or ribs, it now took less than 5mins. My speed at making sandwiches had also improved, along with the quality and I enjoyed feeding people with those creations.
Sunday was a good party day for me too. I was jamming to our DJ sets in the kitchen and bar, earning my pay whilst feeling the grooves. That was great. Our DJs were really good, with one of the artists having some amazing artwork as well (www.maedist.com). During the last 15 mins of the festival, one of my colleagues told me to check out the tent where they were having one last party at before it was all over which I decided to join since our stand was quiet anyway. That was a sick party. Most of our colleagues were there as well, and we were towards the front dancing hard, feeling the vibes. At one point, the MC was like “guys, look to your left and put a girl on your shoulders” which I thought was kind of funny. I saw this girl who looked like she could use a pick-me-up in both senses, so I nudged her to get on my shoulders. That was kind of funny and awesome, especially when the MC was like ‘now everybody jump!’ which I did for a full 16 beats or something. Good times 😛 We had a bit more crazy dancing before we left to our stand to pack things up and head back to the campsite.
Monday: Day 4
At the campsite, many people went to sleep straight away. Some of my colleagues were openly disappointed about that, but we chilled nonetheless. Eventually we were at this fire pit where people were. The girl who was on my shoulders earlier was there as well along with her sister and friend, and also some older guys who I was showing some Kung Fu and meditation to the day before.
There was a lot of chilling and we kept the fire going for a while before I decided it might be good to at least get some rest before packing up our stand at 10:00am and driving back to Rotterdam. I went to sleep at 7:30 and woke up at 8:30.
Packing up was slow, but we got there in the end. Slowly but surely. Getting in the car and on the road was alright, although I really had to do everything in my power to focus and stay alert. Stopped at a gas station to down a can of red bull and put on some loud music I could sing along to to stay awake. Dropping off all the passengers and returning the car went quite smooth so I made my way back home. I had a bunch of messages waiting for me so I started replying whilst unpacking my bag. I was sitting on my beanbag but then got knocked out without warning. What a weekend.
Overall, I had a pretty good time, and earned some cash whilst doing so. I have some new experiences in the pocket and feel like I’m developing my skills. I have some new ideas about business potential and am curious to see where these times will take me. Staying afloat for now. We’ll see where we go 🙂