There’s something liberating about not looking in a mirror for five days straight. Make-up, showers, even clean teeth seem kind of redundant here at Newkind. In any case, you know exactly what you look like because you can see yourself in the 400-odd souls who are here with you.
“Many of us are feeling understandably fragile, because we’ve been fighting against corporate greed and the horrendous treatment of animals, children, women, the environment – sometimes all of the above – and it’s hard to see an end in sight. We’re a bit exhausted.” by Dominique Antarakis
It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, as long as it’s comfortable. Those of us from the northern states tend to be sporting more layers. It’s still summer in Tassie but apart from a few short hours during the day, it’s seldom particularly warm. Our proximity to the Southern Ocean (which you can see from the campsite) sees to that. Locals are more likely to be wandering around in t-shirts and beanies. Hard core. At least to this city-slicker.
There is no advertising, nothing for sale; no coffee carts or gozleme women. The price of admission covers three square meals a day, all ‘plant-based’. Chickpeas, pumpkin, potato and lentils feature heavily. Ditto brown rice and oats. The mixed salads are a revelation – crunchy, subtle, a crisp, raw contrast to the carbs. We have all brought our own plates and cutlery. Well, most of us. I didn’t get the memo so spend the first couple of days scrounging spares left lying around, until a friend arrives with a container for me.
The event is drug- and alcohol-free. This appears to faze no one. There’s also a level of trust, though, that as we’ve all agreed to the rules before arriving, no one’s likely to break them. There are a few smokers, but not one butt on the ground. No trash at all. As a zero-waste event every effort is made to eradicate waste – and it’s clearly working.
Composting toilets. Solar power. Any leftover food is scraped straight into the compost bins placed conveniently next to the dishwashing station. As a water-saving measure, there are spray-pump bottles (pretty much the only plastic in evidence), some with bubbles, some with water for rinsing. The only hot water is from a tap near the kitchen labelled ‘tea and coffee only’.
The showers are cold.
Outside the loos hang bunches of dried lavender which releases a subtle fragrance when you rub it between your palms. Lavender is a natural antiseptic, I’m told.
I’m struck by how gentle – softly spoken and genuine – the men here are. They’re outnumbered by female attendees, but not significantly. The tone is set by Erfan Daliri, Newkind founder and organiser.