Broken Tents and Great Bands – Frequency Festival 2016
At the boy’s request, prior to our trip beginning, we bought tickets to the Frequency Festival. Held in St. Polten, Austria, the Frequency Festival is a four-day music concert featuring a mix of electronica, rock, and hip-hop acts. When I asked my friend Claudia about St. Polten, her first response was to ask why the hell we were going there, because apparently there is not much to do. Which if you think about it is just perfect for a festival. For this one weekend, approximately 100,000 people descended on the sleepy town to have one hell of a party. And we were right in the middle of it…..
What We Did
Day 25 (8/17/16): After finally locating our train, which we had originally thought to be a bus, we were on the road to St. Polten. Upon arrival, we shuttled into the festival grounds and selected a spot to set up camp. Then, we promptly dove into our boxes of wine, met our new tent neighbors, and began the party. Most of us made it out to see a local band play at one of the smaller stages…..I did not.
Day 26 (8/18/16): We woke up in the morning with a decent sized hangover, and a busted tent. Katie and Justin reluctantly hiked into town to purchase a replacement tent, while Adam and I hunted for shade anywhere we could find it amongst the thousands of tents of the festival grounds. After reuniting, we headed to the Space Stage and watched Mike Snow and the Lumineers before heading to the Green Stage to watch M-83. After consuming some more festival-friendly beverages, we returned to the Space Stage to see a German band called Deichkind at the recommendation of our awesome tent neighbors Martina and Isabelle. We ended the night dancing at the indoor stages to some of the areas hottest DJs.
Day 27 (8/19/16): Once again, awaking with an epic hangover, the four of us spent most of the early part of the day trying to stay cool in the almost oppressive heat of the grounds. This resulted in us holing up under an overpass and watching the eclectic crowd of the festival pass by. Later in the day we got to the Space Stage early to get a front row seat for the Temper Trap and Foals. The then found some cheap Chinese food and returned to the Green Stage to see Zedd before once again ending up indoors dancing to techno until the late hours of the morning.
Day 28 (8/20/16): Upon crawling out of the tents in the morning, we held an impromptu Temporary Nomads meeting. It was at that time we decided we were done; it was time to cash out. So, instead of sticking around to see Limp Bizkit that night, we packed up our campsite, exchanged our train tickets for earlier ones, and headed for the train station headed back to Linz. We traded in another night of sweating, drinking, and sleeping on the ground for the comforts of a hotel room and a delicious all you can eat barbeque dinner.
What We Learned
- Make friends with your neighbors. Isabelle and Martina not only were great company, but they shared great homemade schnapps with us, and ensured we saw the most ridiculously amazing band (Diechkind) that we never would have gone to see without their recommendation. No joke about Diechkind though, they are awesome. Not exactly the most talented musicians, but one of the most crazy and entertaining acts I have seen in ages. Picture middle-aged men living out their teenaged boy fantasies by wearing hamburger costumes, shooting confetti guns, and jumping on a trampoline. Oh yeah…..
- Watch your stuff. Anyone who has ever been to a large-scale music festival can tell you this, but anything left out can and likely will be stolen or vandalized. We had one of our coveted beach umbrellas stolen the first night, and the other had to be locked up every night after. Our neighbors had their folding chair stolen the second night and were reduced to sitting on the ground with us the rest of the time there. We also figured out that people like to tag (spraypaint) just about everything, including tents, so getting a spot a little farther off a main walking trail may help prevent some of that. It will also help you to avoid your tent getting peed or vomited on, as an FYI. And on that note, if you are going to vomit, try to do so farther away from your own tent (Adam, I am talking to you).
- Pool floats make excellent substitutions for a cot or air mattress in desperate situations. We spent about seven euro each for these inflatable pool floats at a sporting goods store on a whim, and it was some of the best money we ever spent. We would not have lasted half as long without these, and the doubled as a more comfortable seating area.
- Making the ‘chin on the table’ rule in Kings for saying names or swear words, is by far the best rule to implement and results in the most hilarious pictures you can imagine. It is an even more brilliant rule when there is no table, and the offender is then forced to out their chin on the ground until another name or swear is said. On the topic of Kings, I also want to give a shout out to Martina for being the best question master I have ever encountered. That chick is the sneakiest and most diabolical master of the position ever and she very effectively exploited the slight language gap between the native German and English speakers by constantly asking what things meant or for further explanation in a non-assuming manner at every turn. It took me over an hour to figure out if I did not want to consume another whole box of wine, I would have to stop talking to her entirely…..
- We are too old for this shit. Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast the time we were there and I would go to another festival in a heart-beat, but I do not necessarily feel compelled to do it for four nights in a row, with little to no preparation or supplies ever again.
- We each submitted to taking exactly one shower at the facilities of the festival while we were there, despite the fact we were sweating profusely every day. I say submitted, because the showers were cold. And I know what you may be thinking, in such stifling heat, a cold shower would be amazing, and that would normally be the case. Bu these were not just cold showers; these were damn near frozen showers. I am betting the water was just slightly above freezing, as if chilled, not just lacking hot water, and a longer stint than 90 seconds at a time in it would result in hypothermia. Katie and I were literally hanging our heads forward to get them wet for 20 seconds, then turning the water off to shampoo, then rinsing for 30 seconds. Then turning it off again and taking a deep, brave breath before turning it on again for 15 seconds. And it went on and on like this until we were at least what I would call cleaner. What seemed to take a year, probably only took about four minutes total. On the bright side, the frigid temperatures made the large lines move extremely quickly. 😉
- We were extremely innovative on this adventure. Since we had limited supplies with us, given that we are doing a year of travel and have to carry anything we bring for months, we were forced to think outside the box. One instance was the pool float thing we discussed earlier. The second involved the use of our broken tent. Since a new tent had to be procured for Katie and Justin, given the old one’s crooked top, snapped pole, broken zippers, and overall piss-poor design, we decided we could make use of its shell. We rigged up the poles and used packing tape to secure the actual tent piece to create a make-shift lean-to canopy to block the sun. While this looked ghetto as all hell, it was very effective at cooling it down a couple of degrees during the day. And after the first time we set it up, we were pros at assembling and disassembling it each day.
- The first night there, when our games with the neighbors resulted in my not making it out to see any bands, Adam locked me in the tent. No joke…. he used an actual lock and I was unable to get out. Lucky for him I did not need to go to the bathroom or puke during that time or it could have gone really badly……
New Foods We Are in Love With
- Kase Spätzle – it is like German/Austrian mac and cheese. There are little potato noodles coated in delicious, mild white cheese and topped with bacon and/or crispy fried onions. We got it twice at the festival and it was TO DIE FOR!