Thursday, July 24, 2014

Notorious Vancouver Interview & "Burlesq" by Michael Fraser (Neighbour Remix)

Heyyyyyy!!! SO I'm in the midst of cray cray costume show preppin' (tonight at Keefer is gonna be a hawwwwwt one!) and I really wanted to share this interview my bestie Tristan Risk did with me for her Notorious Vancouver blog back in April, before the release of "Queen of Sass". She is killin' it, filming the feature Save Yourself in Toronto at the moment and I miss her lots. :)  

 Debuting a brand new hip hop track AND I'mma do the OG gypsy version tonight of "Burlesq" as released by Michael Fraser earlier this year on his Gypsitech EP, for which I guest-vocal'd. 

Here is the Neighbour remix of the track to listen while readinnnnng: 


Huge kisses!! And I have a special surprise early blog for ya next week... vid-styles. :D

xoxoxo


Notorious Vancouver: Crystal Precious

It’s been awhile since I posted a Notorious Vancouver interview here. Not because I’m protecting the underground from getting splashed by the mainstream, but more because of a backlog of awesome things occurring and distracting me from bringing the readers of this blog the grease on some of the cool, forward thinking iconoclasts in my beloved home city. So this interview features a dear friend of mine, my gateway drug into the electronic west coast music scene, who literally talked me out of the car and lured me to a outdoor rainforest rave with a bottle of whiskey (true story) and is one talented lady. She is Crystal Precious, strip-hop artists, burlesque icon, 3rd wave feministisa, and sass injector. She is a founding member of our burlesque troupe, Sweet Soul Burlesque, and the weekly femme-cee at the Keefer bar’s Sweet Sip Thursday. With the world waiting for her full length album release since her music for her single ‘Apple Pie’ hit last year, I wanted to give the world some insight into this chimera of a woman…
Queen Of Sass, Read for Bass Coast 2014
Queen Of Sass, Read for Bass Coast 2014
1. You’re originally from Winnipeg. What do you think influenced you as an artist growing up there?
 Well, that’s actually only half-true. Winnipeg I consider my home town, because that’s where my family moved when I was ten. Kinda right as I fell into consciousness, you know? Right before puberty. So that’s where I consider my main upbringing. But ORIGINALLY I’m a BC girl. My two sisters and I were both born in Smithers. My mom was a morning radio personality and drama schoolteacher, and my dad was an environmentalist. That place and time of my life all seems extremely dream-like now, but I think being a little kid heavily immersed in nature – fishing in the Bulkley, hiking Hudson bay, had just as much influence on me as the extremely non-outdoor-sy culture of Winnipeg. My number one influence is everything magic, and nature is magic in its purest form right? Straight-up. So that was my start.
 I think I get my warmth from Winnipeg, cuz you learn to get warm there in all kinds of ways. Winnipeggers are such gracious hosts, and kind, open people I think. Made for the best house parties I’ve ever witnessed or experienced since; those old radiator-heated mahogany moulding houses and tiny wooden hallways held lots of good-times vibes I think. Looking in either direction down the tunnels of giant elm trees in a back lane kind of reminded me of that scene in the Labyrinth, you know, at the beginning where she sees the same thing infinitely left and right, and the little worm tells her to look more closely. Then she finds she’s actually standing right in front of an opening. Winnipeg was really like that. You had to hunt, look closely and really learn to look at things differently to find all the juicy scenes there. Keep your ear glued to the ground, your eyes open for clues. Also I think I was just really trained to be more open to the beauty in a city manages to keep a thriving art scene in a challenging economical climate, and, um, just a challenging climate, and not much really, to work with. I really grew up respecting and appreciate the less “refined” places where art still lives, and where it really needs to live, I think. The warehouses. The roller-rinks. The pool halls. The community centres (like for Festival de Voyageur, or the West End, for example). Even the mall, for eff’s sake — that’s where Prairie Theatre Exchange was, in Portage Place, where I was in the Young Company for several years. All of that had a profound effect on me, I think, as far as community building and promoting. And it had a lot to do my path as a low-brow artist with high-brow ideas. :)
 2. You’ve worked very hard along with a number of other souls to help promote the Bass Coast Music Festival. What are some of your observations on the growth of the West Coast underground/electronica/burlesque scene and the elements that tie them together?
 Well to me Bass Coast is a crucial because to me it represents a platform and a space for the more subversive corners of West Coast electronic / conscious arts communities to keep growing. If you go back a bit, I think we’ve all been in tandem for awhile (in terms of the burlesque revival and the electronic music community) in the sense that we were kind of a newer generation of our respective movements. We were discovering and coming up with all these modern takes on them. Like when I first met Max [Ulis] and some of the other Lighta! crew peepz in 2006, they were kinda doing what we had been doing — shows in basements and community centres or warehouses, basically anywhere that would let us do our thing, cuz you know, at the time, dubstep (or what used to be called dubstep) was VERY fresh and kinda weird. A lot of time, both our kinds of events were still generally scrutinized by the folks over at C of V. “Rave” was still a really bad word after all the city crack downs, and “burlesque” was still heavily stigmatized and misunderstood. Nightclubs were certainly still way out of the question at that point, as far as getting in to have decent nights or spots, and honestly the crowds the nightclubs attracted at the time weren’t really a good fit anyway. What we really needed were more spaces where we could do our thing and at the same time foster good, safe vibes around the shows.
 When we [Sweet Soul] built Dollhouse, basically out of a retail storage warehouse, we largely based the business model off of Open Studios, where New Forms was starting to throw all the crazy dubforms parties and introducing all these new kinds of bass music. So we were still kind of mirroring each other as far as creating spaces where we could attract like-minded people and do our new weirdo thing; with us that meant doing neo-burlesque cabarets and over-the-top costume parties. Sweet Soul always had DJS at our late night events and crossed over a bit that way, so it wasn’t long before deeper pockets of the electronic scene started appearing at our door and asking to do events. We were super open to, so long as long as it jived with our wild burlesque grrl vibes and we were into the music, which we were. So suddenly all these crews start coming up and connecting with each other through the spaces, like SHAHdjs and Perception, and Moo Crew and the Joyscouts and the GhettoFunk guys, and Integrated Grime Unit, and LWSD, and the HomeBreakin’ dudes when some of them starting moving here from Calgary.


Me sittin' pon Michael Red's old system at Dollhouse, circa 2009. Mural painted by Phresha

At some point all our shit had started to catch on, and we grew into ourselves... like, fast forward a bit and the Lighta guys were hosting headliners like Skream at Richards on Richards, the Burlesque Fest was about to move to the Vogue, and meanwhile, huge electronic festivals like Shambhala were starting to sell out for the first time ever. By the time Dollhouse finally got shut down in 2010 the community had grown so much and the cross-over was so fluid that everyone needed a new direction, I think. That was the year that I first approached Andrea and Liz (and Andrea H at the time) about promoting for BassCoast. We had done a few events together at that point, and Sweet Soul had also performed at their first installment. I was pretty confident in my observation that what they were doing was essentially giving our community (along with other branches of the coast) a new space to evolve, strengthen and reach out. Didn’t hurt either that they are badass chicks with really similar politics and ethics around lots of shit I’m pretty particular about. I strongly intuited that their platform was the best place to direct any promotional pull I might still have had that came out of the Dollhouse community at that time. So that’s what I did. :) And I’m still doing it.
 Bass Coast just aligns with everything Sweet Soul is about: the neo-shit, the future-vibes, edgier, more subversive corners while still paying homage to the root of our respective art forms. And the burlesque vibe of smart, sassy, artistic, powerful, sexually-liberated women is everywhere. There’s a reason they call it Babecoast. I mean, their logo is a hot babe riding a unicorn with a chainsaw!!! PUHLAYYYSE. And the biggest thing is that it FEELS SAFE for us to be who we are; to just enjoy ourselves in all our crazy glory and to be accepted, not judged or harassed or shamed or antagonized. The opposite, even. Last year, for example, seeing the dance-hall booty-liberation workshop to Tank Grrl & Mandai Djing was one of my favourite moments ever. Like, OF LIFE, though. :)
 3. Performing as a burlesque and strip hop artist, you’ve experienced criticism from other women about being ‘degraded’ and ‘exploited’ in your choices of art forms. How do you deal with these attacks, and what is your advice to other female artists who experience this?
 I think the first thing I do is remember to admit that the skepticism is totally understandable and that usually its just misplaced. Pop-culture is rife with totally annoying exploitative and degrading sexual imagery, especially in the music industry, so it’s not really the biggest surprise ever that I get some eye-rolls when I jump onstage and start taking my clothes off. Like, haven’t we had enough naked women in hiphop? I get it. And then we have the industry insulting us even more by throwing around buzzwords like “empowerment” by featuring female hip-hop singers being “sexy” in a way that either seems super contrived, or consistent with irritating, transparently capitalist agendas. And lot of times they are still clearly deliberately conforming to supernatural beauty ideals and behaviour that is obviously contingent to male-validation. Yeah. You know what? I get it. That shit pisses me off too. I actually feel like the work I’m doing is coming at it from the completely opposite direction, so that kind of misplaced anger doesn’t bother me. Once people actually see me or my troupe do our thing, they usually get it.
 Also, I try to remember that not everyone is as sexually-charged as I am. Stripping and sex for me is not a put-on. It’s just me. My intensely sexual nature is an immense source of creative power for me, and its not something I even try to hide, or cover up. I just can’t even. I mean, the first time I took my top off, I was literally, like, YUP!! It makes sense why women who are perhaps less into sex would be wary of my choice to do burlesque striptease as part of my work, especially when so many women in the entertainment industry are unnecessarily painted in sex and then glorified to sell products. I think a LOT of women probably feel "pushed" to be more sexual than they actually are because of that.  So I get that too. They just have to remember that everyone is different. Some of us are super sexual, some of us are less so. Both are totally equally fine, and just because they wouldn’t do what I’m doing doesn’t mean it’s not genuine or self-directed. As such, it’s not at all degrading for me. It’s really liberating because its a big part of who I am, and a big part of what my gut tells me I'm here for [spiritually speaking].
 Another thing I try to explain, in that same vein, is that the sexual aspect of my work isn’t about TRYING to appeal to men, or to anyone, really. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy feeling attractive to men in certain contexts, especially those I’m also attracted to, obviously. I do. I’m at least 67 percent hetero I’d say, give or take depending on the moment. :) But putting on an act to TRY to appeal to “men” in general — which, c’maan, how can we generalize like that? Let’s give men some more credit please — or to anyone really, is not my main motivation in life or in my work.
 Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, I’m not trying to sell you, or anyone, on what I’m doing or saying. When I’m promoting a piece of work, I see it as trying to get it out there to as many people as possible so that it can reach the ones it can be of assistance to. Same as when I promote an event, or a show. I’m not trying to sell people on what I’m doing or tell them they should like me or agree with me. If it resonates with you on some level, awesome. Here’s my record! Have it. (And my choice is to offer it for whatever you can pay, or for free even). If not? No problem — I respect you; to each their own, move along. But I’m coming from a genuine place. I’m not “using” my sexuality to sell you something. I don’t NEED to sell you anything. There are no giant corporations using me to make money. I’m not angling for supreme super stardom, or millions of dollars. I mean, I’m still gonna be open to pretty much anything that comes my way, because I trust that there’s a reason behind it. But by the same token, I’m currently happy as fuck. I love doing my shows, traveling, having a great time with my friends, singing on the beach or in the forest and just creating awesome shit. That’s more than enough for me. So take it — or leave it, if you like. All love. :)
 4. What is your favourite places to make out in Vancouver?
 Hmmm.. I’d have to say the sea wall at twilight, or late night, facing the city. Like Granville island side, near False Creek. The little boardwalks and shadowy trees have all kinds of secret pockets. When the city is all lit up golden glass and you can hear the waves cuz you’re kissing… hot. Sometimes there are pianos there, like randomly people roll out grand-high pianos and play right at shoreside. I’m about as into romance as I am into sex, and that’s a lot. SO yeah. :)
  5. How did you meet your producer, Self Evident, and start collaborating with him to birth awesome song-babies?

Through Dollhouse of course! I actually met his older siblings first, Chloe back when I was a year-fresh burlesque grrl and then Max when he started throwing parties at the space. I’d known Ben for awhile before we started collaborating and always loved what he was doing, sound-wise. Had such a sensibility and a style, pushing ever so slightly into the more challenging stuff while still keeping everyone in. We just got each other, I think, on a personal level, as well. Around 2010 I think, he had sent my roommate at the time, Shamik, a bunch of instrumentals. At that point I was really just dabbling in rapping and singing again.. I hadn’t done much of it since leaving Winnipeg [where I had a band]. But I was starting to be open more and more to the idea of incorporating it into my burlesque acts, largely due to encouragement from the grrlz. Shamik had heard a few of the things I had been foolin’ around with and was also super encouraging, which I’m eternally grateful for. Considering that he had some pretty serious music chops, I was like, oh hey. Maybe this could work. He was like, “here, check out some of these tracks” and what would later turn into Apple Pie was one of them. When I rapped it to Ben for the first time, he was like, “Uhhhh.. wha??!!” Then he uncovered all these pop tunes he’d been secretly writing and storing up. The rest just flowed pretty seamlessly. Can’t express how grateful I am for him.. this record was his first time mixing and mastering with vocal tracks as well. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, considering it’s my first record ever and his first pop-music production project.

 6. What are some things to watch out for from Crystal Precious in the coming year?
 Welllllll we’re going to launch our KickStarter in the fall to fundraise for our next video with Apple Pie director Stuart MacKay Smith, which is AWESOME & super exciting. I love working with Stuart, he’s like my other creative soulmate. Doing the Apple Pie vid was literally one of the best days of my life, and there’s just a thick magic around my relationship with him. I’ll never forget the day we discovered that he actually got to meet of my greatest burlesque inspirations, Tura Santana. He just gets us, and what I’m all about. Plus he’s just the raddest, coolest, most talented dude EVERRR. I adore him. The next video is going to be shot outside, with more of the different Vancouver troupes and a grittier aesthetic. We’re taking a lot of inspiration from the 1979 film “The Warriors”. It’s gonna be hilariously bad-ass.
 I’ve also a single with three remixes slotted for release along with that video; am also deep into a bunch of new tracks with Ben that I’ll be performing at The Keefer Bar on Thursdays all summer with Sweet Soul. The grrlz & I are putting a ton of love into our Bass Coast show and our touring show, which I’m really pumped about getting on the road for some longer stints, most likely starting January of next year. Would also love to plant seeds for video collabs with some other folks I admire as well (*cough *cough Soska Twins) and I’m hoping that now we have a more solid frame of work to build from we can find someone to help us get into the grant game. So you know. One or two things. Aside from that? I need beach days, and family, and lovers, and swimming, and dancing, and playing dress-up just for the hell of it. Maybe with a raccoon. Know any? :)


***
(our nickname for Tris is based on her spirit animal - the raccoon!)
huge love everybody!! see you in the next week's vid! xoxo CP

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Crystal Precious Vlog 01 - Self-Sass Injections

YUPPPPP... After almost 10 years of posts in the written word on my blog, I'm breakin' out into the DIY vid blog world!!! The editing is kinda brutes at the mo, but I know I'll get better at it. Gotta go through that time before you get good at something, right? Yah. Important thing is to get started. :) These are my actual practices, particularly the psychological ones... still keep these all in effect on a daily.

 

Benzonite Clay - Ummmmm, its actually Bentonite. Rrrrrright. Whupps. :) Anyway here are the deets.
Chia Seeds are MADE OF UNICORN MEAT Learn it.
Kimmy Karolyn is my awesome in-home hairstylist, PM her if ya live in Vancouver and enjoy quality

COME SEE ME TONIGHT and every Thursday if you're around, I'm performing and hosting at The Keefer Bar, as always!!!

All show detes & times are here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sweet-Sip-Thursdays-Sweet-Soul-Burlesque-at-The-Keefer/103755619694195


Here's the info for the BASSCOAST, the AMAZING festival l I keep talking about: https://www.basscoast.ca 




I literally cannot wait. We've been working our ASSES off at Sweet Soul for our giant show on Saturday night at 10pm... wooooooooooot!!! 

huge love errrrbody. kisses n' kix, 
xoxo
CP

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Throwin' That Shade - Sex, Honesty & Vulnerability

Photo: Tiffany Ireland Photography / MUA: Teresa Bussey of Dead Heaven

Yeow peoples!! Offering up a free download of "Throwin' That Shade" on Soundcloud today to encourage high-sass levels. This song will be sung live and performed to by Lola Frost and a bevy of hot ass dancers at this year's Bass Coast project on Saturday night at 10 PM on Mainstage. 


Some symbiotic Russell Brand / Brené Brown influences poppin up all over my scribblin's n' clickity-clacks this week. (My everpresent bracket-abuse, however, makes me feel like i could use a punctuation proofreader or who knows my speaking pattern. Must LEARNZ... LEARNNNNNNNZ!!! If that person is you, drop me a note. End bracket).

Russell Brand you may have heard of; he's the politically charged English comic / recovered addict whom I personally find to be one of the best and most engaging writers on the planet. I HIGHLY recommend his books and blogs if you are interested in getting to know some work that is completely irreverent in all the best ways, and totally non-judgemental of himself, which I think is possibly the best quality of a human being to have, cuz then you can use that honestly to move forward. Love that dude. Funny as fuck, too.

Brené Brown is a researcher and writer on the topics of vulnerability and shame, two themes that appear again and again for me in various forms in my life. Her basic findings after studying human behaviour patterns for years and years and years is that being able to step into a place of vulnerability is key for human happiness; its also the crux of creative power. A sliver of her work:


On the tip of vulnerability, and Throwin' That Shade: I'm kinda “over” some recent posts and discussions I'm hearing from people still acting all surprised that sex in the party or festival context can still breed feelings, attachment or unintended aftermath. “But why can't they just be cool?' etc etc, not the least of whom are DJs, musicians and, yes, quite a few burlesque performers when they have dipped into the fan-dom pool, for example. When friends or people in proximity who have hooked up at a festival or after party, but haven't communicated ... weird energy can ensue. We all know this. I have some thoughts. :)  

For me it all comes down to this: last time I checked, the age of sexual liberation does not mean the end of responsibility. THIS STILL APPLIES in a party-type setting, I think. I love having sex, and I don't always have to be in the context of a definitive relationship or dating scenario to engage, but I'm also like, a totally a sensitive person (ohhh c'maaaaaan, don't act all surprised).  Everybody is trying to be all "cool"and "casual" all the time, but I'm over it. What's wrong with admitting that people have feelings? What's wrong with asking "what happened there?" if you need to? I think its important to remember that EVEN if it might seem implausible or distorted, getting involved physically can unlock certain things when prodded with, ahem, keys... even if neither person intended for that to happen. I mean, it could also just unlock a thunderous “noooo” or “whoops” ... obviously there are a thousand scenarios, but the point is that no one knows what's going to happen. Its a risk that is taken I think, and a risk that in my opinion deems a bit of follow-up sometimes, especially if everyone is in close proximity for the weekend and you are "feeling" that person giving the eye. :)

This is where the vulnerability thing comes in: I literally sometimes feel like people would rather run themselves over with a stampede of angry, obnoxiously painted monster-trucks than to directly admit how they feel. Especially if they're interested in exploring things further and are unsure if its mutual, but almost MORE if they realize they are no longer really interested. BUT you know what? Our feelings are our feelings. We don't have to feel guilty about them. If I find the person I've fooled around with is still trying to engage on a level I'm not feeling, that's MY cue for a DIRECT, CLEAR, RESPECTFUL and VERBAL conversation about where I'm at, gently, clearly, in all honesty, and as soon as possible. Doesn't need to be dramatic. In fact, ninety-nine percent of the time I feel like I'll seriously AVOID any dramatic or awkward energy by having this simple conversation, and as far as I'm concerned, no one has any grounds to complain or wonder “why they can't just be cool”  if they haven't done that. And I don't mean, for the love of eye-rolls, “communicating” disinterest by ignoring them, posting weird vague-book stuff, avoiding them or behaving not very nicely so he/she'll “get the hint” and leave me alone. That doesn't count, like, at all. THAT is the shit that breeds drama I feel. I know its hard, but accessing compassion, and making intentions, or lack there-of, known and on the table so that person can make a dignified decision about what to do next... that's respect I feel. I feel like if I can let them touch all my fun bits, I can pay them the respect of doing that... even if it's not the most fun conversation ever. THAT'S what I mean by responsibility. Ummmkayyyyyyy. :)

On the flipside, I think its equally important to TELL THE TRUTH if feelings come up for me with someone. I haven't always done this. I admit it. I don't know, maybe something about the nineties I think got me all psyched on the idea that it was cool as a liberated woman to have sex and feel emotionally detached about it. THANKS A LOT SHIRLEY MANSON!!! Hahah. What was up with that?  I mean, yes, it is irritating to have any form of gender stereotypes about how women behave when it comes to sex, and I do enjoy slashing those stereo-types with a giant razor of awesomeness in many other levels in my work and my life. For example, I do strongly feel that the sex should be way less taboo, less commodified, more enjoyed and more incorporated as a natural, important, healthy and fun part of life. But I have to remind myself that to me, true liberation is the ability to be authentic, and the ability to live in our authenticity. I'm a burlesque-strip-teasing rapper who loves to write, read & rave; and guess what: having sex isn't really that casual for me. Shit comes up, lots of times unexpected, and I have to force myself to admit that when it happens, and if necessary, back away from situations where my feelings aren't matched. Because --- learn it from me --- you can't win someone's heart with your fun bits. No matter how fun they are. It's just not possible. Trust. Ya know? Yuuuusssh. Judgement free. 

Speaking of not judging, you know what else can happen sometimes when you have a bunch of sex at festivals? BABIES. Just sayin'. :) In um, a totally unrelated point (cough cough ahem) tonight we have both our Sweet Soul moms on deck at The Keefer Bar, 9pm, 135 Keefer!!  Cara Milk's babe is over a year , and Cherry's is 3 months... amazing. Here they are rockin' their gangster mom signs:



Raccoon Tristan Risk will be joining us. Details here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sweet-Sip-Thursdays-Sweet-Soul-Burlesque-at-The-Keefer/103755619694195

I'll also be at Wiggle 20 this year!! Wooot!!! Friday as part of FUSE at the Vancouver Art Gallery & Saturday at the Fox cabaret. If you enjoy FABULOUS drag queens and jaw-dropping eleganza fantasy hair-show fashion ish, this is for you hunty: https://www.facebook.com/events/1478954768988279/



Be sassilicious to each other. :)
'Til next week!!!!!
xoxo
CP

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Crystal Precious First Timer's Guide to Festival Raving: 2014 Edition


VERY PLEASED to announce that 
Adventures In Sass is BACK with WEEKLY POSTS! Uploaded every THURSDAY. Posts will be content-oriented, like editorial pieces, tips and guides, home videos and stories, photo-sets and free music. The upmost goal, as always, is to INCREASE WORLD SASS LEVELS as much as I possibly can.To kick off the reboot, I spent many extremely pleasant hours largely revising this The Crystal Precious First Timer's Guide to Festival Raving: 2014 Edition with NEW and extended sections. 

PLEASE SHARE, post, forward, etc... This guide is intended for anyone heading out to a festival for the first time so they kinda know what to expect and how to prepare, but like, in straight-up real talk. It's also for anyone wanting a little refresher and hopefully a laugh or two at my horrifying trial and errors. :) Thank you for reading. xoxo CP

****



OH HAIII. IT's THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN.
I still often indulge in dramatically describing the near culture-shock I suffered upon my transition from the ghetto Manitoba flatlands to the organic-eating-MEC-wearing-non-smoking-bicycle-luvin’ Coast, but let me tell you, NOTHING could have prepared me for my initial foray into the unparalleled West Coast phenomenon of “big electronic music party in the forest”. So in honour of 11 years passing since my first Shambhala and in honour of the FUCKING EXCELLENT Bass Coast Project (which is my favourite ever and gonna be so so so amazing this year, I'm seriously dying.. ohhhh and NEW SWEET SOUL girl Melody Mangler will be there doing her first ever festival, whutttt), I've updated my Winnipegger’s Guide to Shambhala, or as it will now be called, “The Crystal Precious First Timer's Guide to Festival Raving”. 

I’m genuinely excited for you to have an amazing and hopefully enlightening weekend that you’ll never forget. Cause trust me, the first time I hit Shambhala (the mecca of all Canadian raves) I sure as fuck did. And you have NO idea how clueless I was. Oh geez…

Cue 2003. I ran in head first thinking, "Hey, it’s not like I’m completely hopeless… I HAVE been to the Winnipeg Folk Festival", and THAT, as all prairie folk will know, is a pretty impressive outdoor music party. Well, LISTEN THE FUCK UP: this is NOT Folk Fest, bitches. It's not your average giant outdoor concert either. Do not increase your chances of experiencing the awful FOMO (fear-of-missing-out due to lack of preparation). Don't forget that you're spending your precious dollars, time off and serotonin on this. Let me be the sorry ass-bitch that learned the hard way for both of us. Here are the most important things to remember if you’re headin’ out to a multi-day electronic music fest.. 

1. THERE ARE NO FIRES. This is the biggest difference from Wpg Folk Fest and a glaringly absent part of the camping experience. Apparently the people in this province actually care if everything around them burns down where as in Manitoba people purposely burn shit down all the time. But for real, there will not be any fires anywhere… so that means you will need LIGHT & HEAT. Bring LIGHT FOR YOUR CAMP (a flashlight, heandlamp, LED’s or a LANTERN), your personal flashlight so you don't fall into a giant hole to your waist like Cara did one time (SO ALARMING). Make sure someone in your crew has a CAMP STOVE if you’re wanting to cook shiz. And remember you won't have the heat of the fire. So bring warm clothes .... because..

2) It gets FUCKING COLD at night. Cold is something we Wpggers know about and we laugh maniacally at the idea that it gets uncomfortably cold anywhere in BC in the summer, but TRUST ME, it does. I brought about 10 000 bikinis the first year and one sweater… DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE!!!! Bring long pants, warm leggings or long underwear, SWEATERS/HOODIES, little mitties even (for real) and lots of shiz to sleep in. You will be cold. Honest. And I'm not some BC wimp either. .. no offense. 

I absolutely recommend bringing straight-up sheets & a heavy blanket or comforter instead of a sleeping bag. If you use the blanket to line the backseat of your vehicle it doesn't really take up much more room... and it's just better. Then you can toss off a layer as the sun comes up and things get hot in your tent. It's also much nicer for guest action or snugs (raver lingo for platonic post-party snuggling). If things get damp overnight you can it hang it to dry during the day. Also a pillow is key. Your bunched up hoodie with the beer spill on it just won't compare, trust me, it's worth the packing room, And I personally recommend a foamie mattress as a first option, but if that's not plausible do the air mattress. I tend to find air mattresses will eventually deflate a bit no matter how diligent you are. I bought myself the $20 power pump so I just pump it up a bit each night. Worth every effin' penny. Either way, a little layer of air between you and the earth somehow keeps things that much toastier.

It’s SO worth it to have a $5 tarp to lay under your tent so that if it rains, you're doubly sure it won't soak through the floor of your tent, which is SUPER low-sass because it makes things damp and yucky. You should probably be able to get all this stuff into one Rubbermaid stacker. I pretty much pack all my stuff into Rubbermaids (REAL Rubbermaid Roughnecks that last forever, not the cleap plastic crappy ones that crack): one for my tent, tarps & bedding; one for my dry foods, mix and dishes, and oh, say, seven or eight for my outfits & accessories. I'm super dead serious. I need choice ummmkayyyy. 

Speaking of outfits, while you're in the dance-y areas and busting a move, things can get a bit warmer, although these moments are fleeting. But awesome dance outfits are usual small and/or tight (at least for me they are)... and rocking them with huge sweaters over them is akin to Winnipeg Hallowe'en where your mom forces you to wear your snowsuit OVER your costume to go trick-or-treating (big sadface). One thing the Sweet Soul grrlz have been known to do is wear our sparkly show-girl outfits underneath big fuzzy cloaks sewn out of blankets. Dancing our asses off moments: showgirl outfits. Walking from stage to stage moments: fuzzy cloaks. Another option is to add leggings and shrugs to whatever small outfit. Also just the act of covering your head with a fuzzy hat & keeping your feet dry (more on that in a sec) somehow makes the rest of you feel warmer automatically.

If you plan on being somewhere for awhile, you can set up a home base at the outskirts of say, the beachstage, with a blanket on which you can leave your drink, water & extra layers. Just make sure it's in sight and don't leave your moneybelt or fanny there, obvs. That's why they strap to your body.

In general everyone should generally be on the lookout for each other… because a huge part of this whole movement is mutual respect for other people & their shit. Thieving is SUPER SUPER looked down upon (I know I don't have to say that but I will anyway) and if you find something you can turn it in or leave a note on the msg board. Karma reigns supreme here.

3) KEEP YOUR FEET HAPPY. Remember that part in Forrest Gump where Lt. Dan starts screaming at everyone about how their socks and feet need to stay dry in the jungle to survive? Well it's the exact same thing, except by "Lt Dan" I mean ME, by "jungle" I mean RAVE & by "survive" I mean NOT BECOME HORRIBLY MISERABLE. 

The sites are quite large; you’ll do a LOT of walking, more than you realize, and dancing on the roots / dirt and the uneven ground can be hard on your feet. Ok so I brought heels the first year. Shut up. I’m Crystal fucking Precious, dammit. I wear heels to the fucking beach. But for real, even if your footwear are SUPER durable and rugged, they will get werked. So don't bring the super fresh shiny kicks you use as a backup mirror. And while we're talking sneakers I would also recommend bringing something other than Chucks as they are made out of canvas and will somehow soak through easily in the morning dampness. AGAIN: Don’t bring shoes you really like unless they’re hella heavy duty leather boots or something. Every year I sacrifice a pair of almost dead sneakers to the rave gods and then throw them out after. 

BRING A PAIR OF RAINBOOTS (and while you're at it, AT LEAST one waterproof jacket / clothing item). The weather forecast might say it won’t rain but.... it might. If it rains, the forest paths become GIANT mud puddles and I lost a pair of sneakers in one the first year I went. They sank in the mud faster than Atrayu’s horse. It was a sad, sad moment for me. DON'T LET THEIR DEATH BE IN VAIN.

So yeah, I generally would say your basic footwear set-up should be as follows: dancing sneakers, flipflops, rubber boots & lots of dry, clean socks. A tip from Tre, king of the original Camp Fuckr'd pirates: Wanna be a hero? Spend a few bucks on a big bag of new socks and bust that shit out for everybody on Day 3. Putting brand new, fuzzy, never before-worn socks on the third day feels like a frickin' foot blowjob. Ohhhhhhhhh yeahhhhhhhhh. 

4) It gets FUCKING HOT during the day. Like, itty bitty teeny weeny bikini bottoms only hot. Bring a shade structure for your camp or you will DIE / get no sleep. At BassCoast there are many many sweet-ass tree-covered camping spots to enjoy if you get there on Friday... but at Shambhala you will most likely end up in the massive NO SHADE camping grounds (unless you're bombing in there Braveheart style on Tuesday & paying extra). Either way, the white caravan style pop up tent is ideal, or the more ghetto fabulous version, a giant tarp tied to bamboo poles slid  over re-bar pounded into the ground. Don't freak out, re-bar is totally no big deal. It's just 3 foot lengths of 1cm thick steel rod you can buy at Home Depot for cheap. Then you pound that shit halfway into the ground with a mallet, slide the bamboo pole over it, and no fall-ey (bamboo is very inexpensive, I suggest Home Hardware on the Drive or pretty much anywhere in ChinaTown). Don't forget garbage bags & a bag for recycling to hang somewhere. For butts, small Tylenol travel tubes do the trick. Make sure to peer pressure your friends not to throw their butts, or any litter, on the ground. A disapproving look should suffice. If not don't be afraid to point a Finger of Judgement at them.

There is a river of refreshing goodness in which to bathe & swim, & the best is bringing a camping chair and sitting in the rivah drinking out of your bottled beverage with lots of sunscreen on. And a parasole. And a cabana boy. Maybe two. Keep your other bevvies cold by putting them in a bag and hooking them around your chair... the river becomes a cooler. WERK.

5) DON'T BECOME DEAF. Ever noticed that after festival season people are screaming normal conversations at each other? "HI HOW ARE YOU!????!!!!" "GREAT!!! YOU??!!!" Yeah... that's because they're deaf now. The sound at these festivals is state of the art, but it WILL destroy your hearing FOREVER if you aren't careful. And the music doesn't stop for four days. So bring earplugs and then bring more earplugs. Let me put this into perspective: the system at the Commodore is like 12000 watts. The PK system in the Village is apparently approx. 100 000 watts, or EIGHT times louder than that. And that's just one stage. Your human ear drums just can't compete with that. They will melt. DON'T BE A DAY-SCREAMER. Get plugs. 

You may have noticed that orange / yellow & pink foam earplugs sort of muffle sound and can fall out and generally suck. Yeah, I noticed that too. They are still always better than nothing. The GOOD thing about foam pluggies is that they are comfortable, cheap and plentiful, so using them when you're sleeping is ideal (don't forget when you’re setting up camp to check if that structure nearby is the trance stage. This seriously happened to me the first year… can’t really talk about it still).

However, if you are feeling like foam plugs are fucking with your ability to hear music properly I would invest in a pair of Ear Buddies (available at all Puff locations). They are about $25 - $30. They just seem to turn everything down a little without muffling things too much. If you feel like the ol' foam plugs aren't gonna do it for you, do this, cuz for real, your hearing is worth $25 for eff's sake. Don't worry, I promise that you will still be able to "feel" the bass (especially if you are on awesome MDMA). 

ALSO: I'm sure that there are some rare exceptions, but in general it seems that people tend to NOT enjoy amplified music, instruments or megaphones early morning in the campground. I mean, obviously people are still going to be up and partying in the morning, but blasting your favourite bro-step banger out the back of your car is sure to get you more dirty looks than throwing a Styrofoam cup in the river (uhhh... prolly don’t do that either). But for real. EARPHONES. And I still laugh my ass off when I remember a certain DJ, having traveled for about three days and then staying up all night to play, finally found somewhere reasonably quiet to crash, only to have someone set up a djembe near his tent and start hammering on it SUPER HARD at about 8am...off rhythm. For eff's sake hippie-ahh!!! Drum near the river away from tents at that hour!!! I know you’re contributing your inner rhythm and shit, that's cool, whatever.. but for the LOVE of SASS, pick your moments. Ummkayyy? 

6) GET YOUR BOOZE IN. Officially the events are usually “booze free” and the gate will search you upon arrival, ummmkay??? And they will. Trust. So. Be creative. Bring a tinted, lidded reusable bottle (like the canteen types at MEC) if you want to carry around your beverage as YOU CANNOT drink out of your beer cans / bottles openly ANYWHERE. Security is obligated to dump your booze if they see it, but generally they’ll leave you alone if you’re simply enjoying an unidentifiable beverage in a reusable container. The security works hard enough as it is so take the extra step and don’t make them booze police you, it sucks for them and plus, booze is precious cuz going for a beer run is kind of not really an option… it’s super hard / sometimes impossible to get out of the site once you’ve driven in and are parked. Totes not worth the risk having it dumped out. You'll thank me on Sunday ;)

How much booze should you bring? The general consensus on this formula is to estimate the amount of booze you think you'll be able to drink during the weekend, then double it. Trust me on this. I have no idea why the amount of booze you are able to consume somehow doubles... I think it has to do with being awake for most of the weekend and you being outside all the time. But it really does happen. Don’t skimp on this because you don’t want to be sober on the last day of the event, trust me, it’s depressing enough as it is.

One thing a few of my friends & I been doing the last few years is pre-mixing booze with juice / cocktail bases and then just adding soda or pop on the site. Ex: fill a large jug of cranberry juice with one part vodka, 2 parts cran, reseal and smuggle in. Then just top it off with soda in your cup on site. This is an awesome way to do things for the following 2 reasons: 1) Easier to sneak in booze - no alcohol bottles! 2) Your booze-juice ration remains consistent. Ever notice how at the beginning of the night you pour a proper drink, but somehow near the end of the night you're pouring gasoline-strength nearly straight booze shit-mixes, only to realize that it tastes like poison and then randomly leaving it somewhere? Yeah me too. Trust me, having it at least pre-mixed with juice tends to make your booze LAST LONGER. Obviously don't pre-mix with the pop as it will go flat; add it on site with a fresh lime... and.. ahhh!

Also: grab block ice for your food/beer cooler, not bags of ice cubes, as the blocks melt more slowly. Also in your food cooler, put things in tupperware containers & ziplocs, not plastic bags, if you want them to stay dry. Keep your coolers COMPLETELY CLOSED & out of the sun, and you should be golden. You can even reuse individual plastic water / drink bottles by putting pre-mixed drinks into them and FREEZING them... then throw those into your cooler - alcoholic Ice Packs. YUM!! Extreme Dedicated Raver Tip: A $40 converter for your vehicle turns into electricity for your blender. Yeah, you’ll have to start the car for a few seconds while you blend, but if it means slushie Margarita’s, ummm, WHO GIVES A FUCK. Just don’t go buck crazy and kill your battery by accident. This will require extra ice cubes but oh, will you be SO SO SO popular. OH SO popular. Especially with me. Heh heh heh. 

7) WATER IS RAVEFORCE. Pure and simple. Let's talk about why water should be at the base of your EVERY RAVING MOMENT and why people who don't drink enough water are INVITING PAIN AND SUFFERING into their raving lives. (And yes, my voice did totally echo menacingly for that last sentence).

Take a minute to think about much water do you drink every day in regular life. Now... think about if you were CONSTANTLY exercising all day long. You'd drink more right? Now what if you were constantly exercising (because at a festival you kind of are, as outlined in #3 even if it doesn't feel like it), but in the FUCKING HOT SUN (#4)??? Feelin' me? Ok NOW, imagine doing ALL those things WHILE at the SAME TIME guzzling a substance that is in and of itself ALSO actively pulling water out of your system. YUP. It's a 4 dehydrator stacker: being alive, exercising, sun, and alcohol. That's why nine times out of ten, if you are ever feeling anything except radness at the rave, chances are, water is your answer.

DRINK WATER ALL FUCKING DAY. Like all fucking day. I'm talking AT LEAST refill your bottle ever hour / hour and a half and for SURE whenever you grab a fresh bevvy. Also please note, once again, beer = not water. Cider = not water. Tasty, but not water. Drink your drink, then drink your water, refill both :) This is especially important on the third day when you've been at it all weekend you really need the raveforce for that last night of raging. Cut your water once and awhile with some gatorade, or slam a coconut water or Emergen-C every day to replace your electrolytes, and you'll be maximizing your ability to rave. Rave hard you must.

Now here's something you may not know. Equally as important as drinking that water is getting it out of your bladder. No for real. A lot of what you drink will be taken care of by your quadruple stack of sweat-inducing dehydrators, but one of the major “design” flaws in designer drugs like K and MDMA is that they can lessen that “I have to pee” sensation while you're all blissed out. That combined with being all distracto by oh, I don't know, the GIANT PARTY happening, can make it hard remember to pee sometimes... and that is only further exaggerated by the fact that the porta pottie line-ups do not exactly seeming enticing. But you gotta get that out, its no bueno sittin' having a full bladder all the time for a whole wack of reasons. Gotta P on K ummmkayyy? Conveniently those two letters are printed on pretty much every one of those crazy awesome speakers at Shambs so hopefully that can serve as your effin' reminder from now on. :) 

I personally find if I look at a porta pottie trip as “something I'm doing now” as opposed to looking at it like “leaving the party to pee”, it can actually be kinda fun and a place to meet new peeps, especially cuz you're not in front of a massive speaker and can actually say things to each other. Honestly I've met some rad people in line-ups and had some pretty hilarious times. Line-ups are just part of the adventure of going to giant festivals, so take advantage of it any way you can. And this should go without saying but if you are going for a re-up at camp, ALWAYS ALWAYS just try to pee... you may be surprised what's in there! 

8) TRY TO AVOID THE TEMPTING FALL-BACK THAT YOU’LL BUY THINGS WHEN YOU GET THERE. Smokes and essentials will be mad expensive, so take a sec and pack it. There are rad things to eat there at the vendors, but peeps usually pay top dollar to get into the vending area so they will have to charge accordingly. 

If you smoke, the same booze formula applies: Normal estimated amount X 2. And I'm a vaper, but I'm not going to pretend I won't want real smokes when I'm effed up. That's just bullshit.. :) I seriously advise on considering DRUM and rolling papers if you can. I seriously advise on considering DRUM and rolling papers if they do the trick for you. Yeah if you’re not used to it it can seem messy and ghetto, but the tobacco is fresher, less additives, and you’ll probably tend to smoke less, which in Raver math is still more than usual but just maybe not double. Your lungs will thank you on Sunday. Also you will be more inclined to share smokes, and there’s nothing like sitting with someone for a sec to roll both of you a smoke. Perfect visit / get-to-know-you moment and you will be someone’s nic-fit hero... a nice feeling. If you're a tailor-mades, bring a carton and hide half the packs from yourself until you go through the first half. If you don’t smoke them all (you probably will but whateves) you will still smoke them eventually. DON’T fall into the all-too-tempting bullshit trap of packing less than you need and thinking that you will ration them out. You won’t. Remember: you will probably forget your own name at some point. So be prepared. Trust me. 

9) HAVE A SYSTEM WHEN RAVING WITH YOUR FRIENDS. 
When raving with a group, or planning to, its never a bad idea to plan ahead and bring stuff to have a central kind of area in your camp with a shaded table, some camping chairs and a lantern; its somewhere to kind of sit around so you can all tell each other stories when you come back and laugh your asses off. BRING LED LIGHTS, preferably to light up something hilarious sticking up from the tent so you can find your way home. Hunting for your camp when shit is dark and blurry takes up valuable raving time, so make it easy on yourself, self. :)

Usually attached to our table with duck tape is a lighter on a string (so that person who always steals it can't) and a couple of printed out schedules. Sometimes if we're feeling REALLY organized we would check out the sched in the morning or at dinner and highlight the DJs that we were sorta planning on seeing that day/night, so that if someone got separated or distracted they could come back to camp, check it and have a general idea as to where we'd be-ish. OH YEAH – bring a cheap watch or whatever you used before phones ran our lives. And I STRONGLY suggest taking a break from your phone the whole time. It is awesome, for real. Try it. There's little to no service anyway, and besides, people don't generally like having their pic taken while they're high.. and then you won't have to worry about losing it on a dance floor. :) 

During the day at the beach, you can bring a land-marker and dig that into the ground on another piece of bamboo / beach umbrella. Then your crew can find you easily. Again, I recommend something that is symbolic to you or perhaps pokes fun at something about your crew. That way when Sleepy Gonzales wakes up at 4pm or wanders back to camp, he sees the landmarker's gone and he can easily saunter to the beach stage with one eye open and see you guys.

One important thing.. when that final last night comes, ALWAYS have a conversation with your crew as to when clean / pack up should be the next day BEFORE you head out for the night. This is because you will NOT want to talk about it after you've been up all night and your adrenaline has died and the harsh cold reality of leaving has hit you. You will be grouchy and annoyed, and you also won't want to look for your friends to get things happening. Reeks of effort, trust. Packing up itself is hard enough. So make a general time-frame plan for the next day pack up BEFORE sun goes down and then come back for it and stick to it. You can always leave later in the day if you guys decide to; but at least you'll be packed up, together. 

(OH- AND. TAKE ALLLLL (ALL) YOUR SHIT WITH YOU. All. Apparently breaking that unwritten rule is seriously frowny-faced upon and your neighbours and organizers point the aforementioned Finger of Judgement at you for it after. I learned that the hard and very embarrassing way my first year.. fear the shame my friends. Fear it. The Finger will point at your abandoned broken tent or your uneaten watermelon / fruit rinds (it will not "biodegrade" for like 3 months umkay. Leaving that shit is just summoning a bug rave). The Finger will also point at your garbage/recycling if you don't take it with you or put it EXACTLY where it's supposed to go. Organizers (and their Fingers) pay attention because they have to clean up your shit while swearing and asking everyone "whose camp this was". Don't let it be yours. 

10) BE PREPARED TO LOSE YOUR FRIENDS, because at some point you will. Try to just BE OKAY about that. Go with the flow. The first year I went to Shambs I probably spent about two thirds of the time kinda stressed out looking for my friends and one third actually enjoying the party. Don't do that. Enjoy the party. Relax. Take the opportunity to explore the stages and grounds on your own terms for a minute; meet new people! Getting lost / solo missions are actually REALLY key parts of any festival experience for that reason alone. This is also one of the biggest reasons I recommend dress-ups. It’s like SOO way easier to meet people & then find your friends when you are in their proximity, and also I’m MUCH more likely to make-out with you. :)

A FEW WORDS ON GETTING READY AND MOVING AROUND WITH A GROUP: One of the things I see the most this people or couples getting irritated with each other because one feels like they are constantly waiting for the other to finish dawdling or getting ready. To be fair, looking fabulous/ridiculous/badass takes much-appreciated effort. Doing it while being super high can take a hot fucking minute ummmkay. Trust me, I understand. Unfortunately during that minute you or your friend's favorite DJ could be finishing, so I have some tried and true tips on minimizing getting-ready time in the next paragraph. In the meantime this is a great opportunity to use your communication skills with your crew so you don't have them angrily breathing down your neck. Be honest about what you need to do and how long its going to take.

If everyone is getting ready to go out for the night, for example, confer and decide as a group when you are all wanting to leave (this will take some compromise, but BE as HONEST about it as you can and negotiate something realistic. If its not realistic, plan to go in two groups, or whatever). Then STICK TO THE PLAN. That means that if time you agreed on comes and you're still not ready, you have to BE OK with them leaving without you. Sawwwry 'bout it. But again, don't be afraid to split up if necessary... see previous paragraph. Same goes if you want to get somewhere and your group/partner in crime keeps stopping to play or talk to people and it's frustrating you. Be honest with what you want to do, and then if they don't feel like they want to rush, COMMUNICATE verbally with them, and then just leave them do their thing... and go do yours. It's all good.

Now, NO ONE likes being the one people are waiting on; it makes getting ready kind of stressful when it could be fun. I've collected some tips on getting ready fast while concentrating on all the fun parts.

11) FOR THE DRESSER-UPPERS – MINIMIZE "WAITING FRIEND FRUSTRATION"
You know that thing you do with your friends before you go out where you try shit on and then you look at it and go “Hmm. I don't know. Do you like this? What do you think? Do you like this with that? What about this one? Blah blah”? Yah. That stuff is super fun, but the rave is more fun. You can TOTALLY do that stuff at home the week before and will save you LOADS of time at the rave. Don't underestimate how much time that wastes, for real... and its time-consuming enough without adding hallucinogens, for example. DO THAT SHIT AT HOME FIRST. Have your peeps over with a giant bottle of wine and go through your outfits. Put outfits and accessories together – some for hot weather, some for cold. 

NOTE: You don't have to plan WHEN you are wearing everything during the weekend... just which things you are wearing together. I generally like to leave it open and just go with my mood when the time comes, in case I feel like wearing Outfit B instead of Outfit A.

Next step: put everything for one outfit, INCLUDING underwear, socks, sweater etc etc .. like, EVERYTHING for that look, into a GIANT CLEAR ZIPLOC. You can buy pillow sized ones at Canadian Tire, no joke, they have new big sizes. Then put the matching accessories into tiny tubberwares and pop 'em in the bag too. I'm so serious. This might seem extreme, but trust, this saves you SO SO much time for 2 reasons: 1) rifling around in a tent is THE WORST, especially if its dark. UM, no. One of the first times I did acid at a rave I'm pretty sure I looked for my shit in my tent for half the party, just looking in bag after bag, and forgetting what was in the first bag, and then starting over. FUCK THAT SHIT. With clear bags you can see immediately what is in which bag without having to look in each one 40 billion times. 2) Having everything you need all together in one place is a HUGE TIME SAVER because you won't have to hunt for each little piece separately. Just decide on the outfit, pour yourself a bevvy, take the bag out, and enjoy putting everything on. Put on your accessories, little eyeliner, etc etc, annnnnd... YOU'RE DONE. See? You look fabulous.

This isn't to say you need to be super anal and stick to the plan. You can always switch things up or just play dressup and explore / discover new combos if that's what you feel like doing. But honestly its really overwhelming when you're at the rave and there's so much to do and see... so do yourself and the people you are with a solid and have a plan so you can RAVE MORE and STRESS LESS.

Two last little things: make-up and hair for the night I recommend doing in last little bit of daylight. Way easier. Oh also don't try to put on fake eyelashes if you're high without supervision because you will spend wayyy too much time on it, and be very careful to have clean fingers and use clean surfaces, otherwise you're basically gluing dirt and bacteria to your eye. DON'T SHARE EYELINER or MASCARA AT THE RAVE either. Unless you want a giant eye infection like my awesome and cute buddy Rebecca got last year. :)

12) ENJOY THE FOLLOWING AMENITIES: distinct LACK of MOSQUITOES (!!!!! although I'm from Wpg and 500 is still a lack, so still bring some Muskol just in case), water (bring reusable bottles!), organic / vegan food vendors, coffee vendors, the lovely rivah, medical tent, etc. etc. 

Particularly for Bass Coast, there likely will only be one cash machine, so try to BRING ENOUGH CASH for party favours / meals / vending items and stash it somewhere NOT obvious / lock it in your vehicle. There is a couple cash machines at Shambs but unfortunately the line-ups can be RIDICULOUS and the fees... eff. Just bring some damn money. More than you think. (Sorry bout it).

OH YEAH - Bring an awesome thing to BUST out to your crew when they least expect it, or something rad for your camp to enjoy. I know one couple that always bring their dope hooka, and someone else who was thinking of freezing hankerchiefs into cubes to pass out on a hot afternoon. I’ve seen someone melt dark chocolate onto strawberries, someone else bust out fresh mint and lime for mojitos!!! Even a secret bottle of whiskey tucked away for those impromptu shots that just hit the spot… ohhhh yeahhhh. The Glenlivet, I'm telling you. I'll be your friend. 


13) A VERY simple list of the basic DO'S AND DON'T OF BEING FUCKED UP.

I want to thank Stacy Forrester, the fucking nurse of radness, for confirming and contributing to all of this. Most of this is all common sense shit, but you know, people lose their heads a bit at festivals & forget, and I find sometimes it's good to just say this shit to yourself again. So if I'm saying something that seems obvious, don't be offended, ok? Cuz it wasn't all necessarily obvious to me when I started out, as you will read ;) Ok. Here goes:

DO avoid unpleasantness by PLANNING AHEAD and BRINGING ENOUGH. By “unpleasantness” I mean ingesting sketchy or toxic additives, having a bad trip, running out (noooooooo!!!) or even worse, that grumpy “are you high? I'm not high. Are you high?” conversation. By “enough”, I again mean more than you think you need. 

Rule #8 applies here... by far the safest and best way to party is to show up with enough shit for the WHOLE TIME that you know is clean and legit. Remember: you don't have to do it all, but having extra is always better than running out. 
If you are new to this whole scene, find a spirit guide or friend you trust to hook you up with someone they trust, and get favours from them BEFORE you come (and hide that shit, obviously, well, because its illegal). But I'm telling you that will save you so, so SO much hassle. Also, small tip, try, if you can, not to call your source the day before the rave as they mayyyyy be a little busy. :) Just sayin.

- If you do run out and end up acquiring there,  
DO avoid anything in a pressed pill, even if they have cute little stamps (yayyy unicorns!! NOPE) or anything sold as "E”, for the love of sass. Wrong letter. Gelcaps or pressed pills could be E, but they could also be 2CB, 2TB, foxy, oxy, PCP or a billion other things that could fuck with your head. Ajax and caffeine = not fun times. Shit happens, I've seen it. Know your source, consult your guide, aka someone who knows what stuff should look, smell like or taste like. Fact: electronic music festival full of ravers who have run out of party favours is prime exploitation territory for the more shadowy peeps of our world, and shadows are out there. Protect yourself. Also protect the money in your little neon pocket. 

Also, but IF you do end up acquiring at Shambhala or another larger festival, DO use the drug-testing booth that won't point any Fingers of Judgement at you or confiscate anything. GO if you want to have something tested for its composition. These people really, really know their shit and its soooo worth it to know you're going to have a clean, danger-free high. Clean highs are happy highs. :) 

DON'T get so wasted your friends have to take care of you. As the adorable Calvin and Hobbes cartoon says, YOU take care of YOU for me, I'LL take care of ME for you. :) 

- If you're gonna get that wasted, 
DO make sure you're with friends who actually will take care of you.

DO double check what the substance is when offered. That might seem obvious, but I don't want to talk about how many times close friends have assumed what they were about to swallow or snort was something completely different than what it actually was. BAD RACCOON. Remember that MDMA, MDA, ketamine, cocaine, meth/speed & even heroin (it's out there) are ALL powders. Better to know than to end up accidentally doing a huge rail of ketamine thinking it was blow (a common mistake) or worse, ending up on super knarly PCP. It's happened. To me. Seriously. Not the funnest. ASK. 

- DO ask about ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY ALL LIQUIDS THAT ARE OFFERED TO YOU. Cocktails, ciders, even something that appears to be water. ASK. People COMMONLY put MDMA or liquid acid in their drinks. Never hurts to just quickly ask “what in it?” or say, "this is just water yeah?" or whatever. Seriously, that one little sentence can save your ass and you won't offend anyone. I remember one year when a Sweet Soul dancer who will go unnamed (*cough rhymes with MARA) ended up getting unknowingly dosed on 2CB that was in a big 4 L jug of what looked like water being passed around. When I found her she announced that she was in a vortex. 100% completely true story. It wasn't ideal. ASK. (she was completely ok in the end but she did give me a bit of a scare, not goin' lie). 

DON'T mix booze & GHB. Seriously. (Seriously). Seriously tho, don't do it. 

DO label and if possible, dye your GHB and don't leave it lying around for eff's sake. We all have that friend who accidentally had a big chug and missed the whole party. Just take 2 seconds to scrawl "g" on your bottle so that person doesn't hate you. Thanks. 

-DO pre-measure your doses of GHB. (Notice that GHB is on here a lot? Yah that's cuz by far the most of all emergencies at festivals involve GHB. Again, be careful as fuck with that shit.) Just a hypothesis here, but studies suggest that even a licensed lab scientist can't measure accurately at 3am whilst hunched on the uneven ground of the forest and using a glow stick as light source while wearing a Gumby suit. Pre-measure if you can, and know the concentration. FYI if you are unequipped, you can almost always get dye AND measuring shit for GHB from the Sanctuary ...NO QUESTIONS ASKED. Go get kitted up proper and prevent un-fun, low-sass situations. It's sooo worth it. 

Here's a vid of me using liquid "water enhancer" from the grocery store to dye / flavour my special liquid. It cost me all of $3 and as you can see LITERALLY took 10 seconds. 


  
DO be very careful if you choose to mix booze & ketamine (they both slow your heart rate down & booze will seriously increase the effect of ketamine). 

If ketamine is your substance of choice, DO know that it can cause major stomach acid, and holding acidic pee in your bladder is no bueno. “K-bladder” is a thing, one that does not just happen to chronic users or veteran partiers, it happens in young new peeps too. So if you're riding the K-train, avoid super acidic drinks like cranberry juice. Try to injest alkaline foods like bananas and almond milk smoothies and shit. And again, ALWAYS remember to P on K!! P on K. P on K. 

- If you are on any sort of prescription for something, DO your research for interactions with recreational shniz. And while you don't have to tell your entire crew that you're on meds, DO tell AT LEAST one person you trust about it in case of emergency. Remember those medic bracelets people used to have? Yah. Cuz that's why.

DO find the first aid tent if you need to. NO SHAME IN THAT. Ever. The Sanctuary staff is also super good at being discreet. So don't think you're going to be spoken about or judged.... Fingers of Judgement are NOT allowed in there. We've all gotten way too fucked up at some point or another. They are volunteering to help because they love you. It's ok. 

- Here's an IMPORTANT one that doesn't get said enough these days around hooking up: If the person's SUPER fucked up & you can tell that they're maybe not thinking clearly, DO hold off until they are more lucid and in a better position to get into positions. Ya know?? It's respect. Really hoping to get to a place where all sex at these festivals - and on planet earth in general - is completely consensual. Blurry lines = not kablammo. 

DO drink water, aka Raveforce, ALL DAY LONG, no matter what you're doing. ALL FUCKING DAY LONG. 

DO drink a coconut water, Emergen-C or gatorade every day to replace electrolytes and give your immune system a boost. 

DON'T forget to eat. Doesn't have to be a lot but it NEEDS TO BE SOMETHING, otherwise you WILL fade, no matter what. I normally can't eat a lot when I'm partying but I do try to have one good, hot meal a day and then snack the rest of the time. RULE IS HALF THE AMOUNT of food yo think you need, twice the amount of booze and smokes. Protein, carbs, good fat & some green shit. BAM. Done. Some suggestions: Tuna snacks on crackers, a hearty bagel w cream cheese or avocado, pre-cut veggies & bean dip (I do this bean-fries thing... throw a pack of ready-to-eat yellow beans in the cooler til they get super crunchy and then eat them like fries), or a wrap from the food vendor area... all simple. One of my friends swears by tofu weiners, just cold, when she's really dying for protein and couldn't be bothered to fix something up. For beach snacking, bring berries or bust out a melon or pineapple to cut up for a quick hydrating snack to share. Rice chips or nuts are rad beach snacks as well. ALSO: Chia seeds are my secret rave fuel. Seriously, those little fuckers are made of unicorn meat. (Fuck I'm such a hippie now). 

DO PREPARE FOR POST-PARTY DEPRESSION. This is actually a thing. Pick up some 5HTP at the Vitaman / Health food store and eat that shit the morning after MDMA... it has ingredients will help your brain come back to life a little .... but still, be prepared. This is based on an ACTUAL letter I sent to a good friend and to myself upon our return to the city after Shambs 2009 .... because even though I do this year after year, I STILL sometimes forget why I'm just so GRUMPY and MOODY the next week. Do yourself a favour... print out this letter, fill in the date and blank with your name, and send it to yourself in the mail the day before you leave for your festival or stick it to your fridge with the heading ** FOR NEXT WEEK ***
****************************************

Date: __________ 

Dear __(YOUR NAME)___________________, 

Just a friendly reminder from your fabulous, sexy, clever & clearly VERY modest friend Crystal Precious that any awful, sickening feelings of horrible depression you may currently be experiencing are simply the after-effects of doing hugely unreasonable amounts of drugs this weekend. That's right, it's not you... it's Suicide Wednesday. 
Ah yes, those feelings of hopelessness and physical weakness typical of extreme serotonin shortage can often seem all too real... so please, remember that beneath the cold sweats, shakes & twitches that a fabulous, kind, considerate and un-nauseous person waits to emerge with renewed perspective & strength. Make sure to resist any urges to hate yourself for the terrible abuse to which you have subjected your body. It was like, totally worth it. And no matter what, have some mini-donuts or otherwise sweet/greasy food-item on hand at ALL TIMES. 
Should this reminder be premature or even (skeptical brow furrow) UNNEEDED, kindly disregard or forward for future use. Or perhaps just send back to me. I’ll probably need it. 

xoxo
CP
**********************************

On that tip, DO avoid making any serious decisions or fighting with your spouse / boss / roommate upon return. If anyone says “We need to talk”, just straight-up fucking run. Once you are far, FAR away, re-schedule the talk for another week when your brain has regenerated some happy juice.  And for whatever reason if your stomach or bladder is acting up after the festival, go to the EFFIN doctor and for the love of EFF. If they seem unconcerned, don't be afraid to tell them what drugs you were doing and how much. Judging you is totally counter productive for them, like what if you just stopped going to doctors? They don't want that, assuming they got into the medical profession to you know, like, help people and shit. You're important and special. So go and tell the truth so you can make sure you're ok. FOR ME. :) 

Ok! YOUNG RAVE GRASSHOPPAS.... I think that just about covers what I have to contribute. Please feel free to send this to anyone and everyone and ask them to do the same. And for eff’s sake, come watch me perform at Bass Coast 2014 with the Sweet Soul Burlesque 10 PM on the Mainstage on Saturday night!!!  W/ special guests Subscura, Tawni Krystal, Leiah Luz & Rori Satya. S'gonna be MUTINY.  
www.basscoast.ca

NEXT WEEK'S BLOG: I'll be posting a free download to the track I performed there during last year's show, which has got to be one of my life highlights, along with some opinions on casual-ish sex etiquette as it relates to all of this. So yah. Be here next Thursday. 

Lashes n' lix n' glowy bright stix..and all my love. 
Xxo CP 


photo: Tiffany Ireland Photography / make-up: Teresa Bussey c/o Dead Heaven