While at Positivus I met up with a couple of my students, which was lovely. We only had time for a 15 minute chat, but it was enough time to discuss the changes that the festival has seen in its eight years. It’s now a more commercial proposition, with its sponsors and crowds and stages and so on. It won’t have been the only festival to have experienced similar changes over the same period, and it takes a strength of will to oppose the forces of big business and progress. (‘Meredith’ in Victoria, Australia comes to mind in this regard.) My argument that this helped keep the ticket price down didn’t seem to win the argument!
The beach was recognised as something special though, on which we all agreed. My decision not to swim in the sea was supported though, for apparently the activities of some other festival goers render it relatively polluted. You’ve been warned.
Mention must be made of the campsite: a sprawling, flat, fallow field of a place without tree coverage. It did have the advantage of being a nice consistency for tent peg insertion, which is always a relief. The campsite was across the road from the festival, a road which serves as the main coastal route north from Riga. It’s only single carriageway though and the police oversaw the crossing point for hour after hour, so it could have been worse.
There’s always going to be some costs and some benefits when pitching one’s tent. Further from the entrance means a longer walk to the festival and to the toilets, but closer in means more human traffic past your front porch and you’re closer to the toilets. This particular campsite had the bonus feature of a DJ stage next to the food stalls, a stage which had an audience of thousands well into the early hours, after the festival had shut up shop. I took myself away, towards the far end of the site and crossed my fingers that that anonymous, replica tents I found myself among would be quiet, civilised and (if required) friendly. Well, they didn’t score too highly on any of those fronts, but we got along ok. Sadly the all too common feature of leaving tents to die and simply clearing out when you’re done with them seems to be an international problem.
And so it came to pass that the final morning of my Positivus arrived. With a beating sun drying the dew off the tent I took my time to put my stuff together and caught the festival bus back to Riga: we left early this time. So long Positivus: you will long remain in my unreliable memory, and I shall look out for next year’s line up.