Well Summer is fading fast now, a whole week into September already! The best way to prolong our season is obviously to head to Croatia in the South for our last festival of the season. Unknown provides the perfect opportunity for this, and the last day of the festival is on Kevin's birthday, done and done! The festival runs from Monday to Friday, but the camping is extended 2 days previous and post festival days. Our BlaBlaCar from Vienna to Rovinj lured in two more festival attendees: Casey from Toronto and Devna from Melbourne who along with 3 more Aussies: Matt, Chris and Megan + another 2 ladies from Brighton: Vicky and Rachel make up our solid festival crew for the week. The other 90% of the population was straight from the UK as this is where the festival was heavily advertised, logically as Britain is so expensive that Croatian Kuna are pocket change next to the Pound making it easy to spend spend spend! We head into the beautiful city of Rovinj for supplies (beer, wine alcohol and some tortellini), and to pick up SIM cards with Croatia phone numbers and data plans for 50 kuna (less than 7 euro) we have 3GB of data and 1000 minutes for Croatian numbers. This is the best price we have gotten on a prepaid data package so far at around 2€/GB. Arriving to the festival grounds we realized how unorganized the whole ordeal was going to be. The bracelet you get for the festival also gets you into camping, and to ensure that you don't camp rogue without paying they give you a wooden number that you attach to the outside of your tent. So let me get this straight, anyone who is going to the festival can go to camping, even if they haven't purchased it, and in order to get back your deposit you need to return this ridiculous number that could fall off or be taken off, and obviously there will be no repercussions if you don't have your tent number visible because half the people had theirs inside their tents, all in all a pretty dumb system to ensure you have paid for camping. What are they going to do take your tent away?! Needless to say many people didn't pay for camping, us included, oops!
Besides our gourmet camp-stove pasta meals the festival deals with money by using electronic swipe cards that you load cash onto. Another dumb system they used, you an get a refund, but only if you have a particular receipt of the three slips of paper they give you when you first load it, if you lose the paper after a week of partying no refund. If you lose your card you can transfer the money to a new card, or get a refund...if you have that same little paper (but chances are if you have lost the card, maybe keeping track of things is not your forte and maybe you do not have the receipt either) really a dumb system that many people lost money on because of a stupid receipt. The food offered was awesome though, calamari and pizza and pasta for pretty affordable prices, only 70 kuna for calamari fries and a small salad which is about 9€. Water was 3+€ and beers were 37 kuna or 4.5€ so that was kind of ridiculous, but hey it is a festival of course they are going to have water be the most inflated price when you could buy the same size water in a store for .33€!
The first two days of the festival was what dreams are made of, all 9 of us went to the beach stage around 12:00 noon and lazed among the infinity pools surrounding the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea, sipping on cheap local beer, Ožujsko until slumber fell upon us an unplanned team nap, not bringing anyone to even a stir for another two hours when each of us groggily realized that everyone napped! After heading back to camp for more drinking the sky turned to night and we made our way into the forest for some dancing under the stars. The third day the mainstage opened up and we got to see CHVRCHES for the first time. With an eclectic mix of electric sounds including two keyboards, guitars and a dramatic synthesized voice among them, a truly amazing set to hear live. It wasn't until very late maybe 3:00 that the thunderstorms began, we all expected it (they were forecasted) so it was no surprise, but seeing so many painted partiers flood out of the forest as the sky unleashed absolute buckets of rain was pretty great. Kevin and I didn't stick around long either, we made a beeline for Poly our Polo and hid for a couple hours where we could nap in relative dryness. We watched in amazement as the water never slowed for hours thoroughly cleaning our windshield. We finally crawled through the muddy mess to our tent at around 4:00 a.m. And finally got some sound sleep. The rain didn't stop for three days, but hey neither did the partying. By Friday spirits were beginning to break, lots of pimple went home, but the rest of us just kept dancing in the mud. As a special treat to those of us who stuck it out, on Saturday the clouds broke and the sunshine prevailed, back to the beach grooving to the funky sounds of the pool stage where we attempted to finish off what started. We couldn't have asked for a better celebration of Summer and Kevin's birthday, the mud should eventually come out in the wash, at least that's what I keep telling myself!