Disclaimer: This was written ahead of DFOV 2019, some links may be out of date but the tips will still be valid for future festivals.
Next month I’ll be at the Denmark Festival of Voice for my second year running! I’m so excited. I thought now would be a great time to share some tips that I learnt last year. If you’re attending DFoV 2019 hopefully these tips will make the experience more enjoyable for you. If you’re not maybe they’ll entice you to make the trip in 2020 😊. At the very least these tips are applicable to most festivals anyway and they may help you with future events.
1. Plan ahead!
There are so many amazing acts to see and workshops to experience that I found I really needed to plan ahead. As I was an “act” last year I really found it useful to mark out on my timetable the things that I was presenting and teaching in orange highlighter and then the things that I wanted to experience in pink. I also volunteered at the festival for the organisers and I highlighted that schedule in green. It gave me an instance way of telling if any of the events clashed for me and helped me remember where I needed to be when. At other festivals I’m employed similar techniques by marking the timetable and it’s always made things easier for me. The time table hasn’t been released yet but generally speaking it is available prior to the festival online. Last year I simply printed one out a week or so before the event.
Last year I noticed that while most of the venues are central to the Denmark township there is almost no buffer time to get from one show to another if you must travel to different venues. For this reason, I opted to stick to only a couple of venues so I had less distance to travel. I suggest taking the map that comes with the timetable and marking out the venues of the acts/workshops you’re interested in so you can gauge distance between them. Luckily for me most of what I was interested in required very little traipsing up Strickland Street but at other festivals distance has been an issue. One year for WAMED (Western Australian Middle Eastern Dance Festival) venue location was a real issue, with venues spread out over several streets in Subiaco.
There are quite a few cafés in town that host musical acts so that you can get some food and see a show at the same time. If you’re working on a budget however I suggest bringing your own snacks or a picnic lunch that you can munch on through out the day. If you’re coming down from say Perth and don’t want to carry much with you while you travel, there are two supermarkets and a health food shop where you can pick up healthy things to eat that won’t necessarily need to be kept refrigerated.
2. Pace yourself
This is something I learnt at the festival last year. I used to be able to flit from workshop to show without stopping for two days when I took on festivals such as WAMED or Crimescene. Apparently, I’m getting older and can no longer do that. Last DFoV took a lot of out me. This year I’m going to pace myself a bit better. I volunteered behind the scenes last year in addition to being an act and trying to catch other show, seeing as I was going to be in town anyway, and it was too much for me. This year I’m taking on less roles so I can enjoy the festival more. I also managed to dehydrate myself which I think contributed to my lack of energy, and catching a rather nasty sinus infection, so make sure you bring your reusable water bottle! There is a fountain available to fill your bottles at free of charge on one of the main streets of town, and I vaguely remember Denmark Arts setting up designated water stations for refilling reusable bottles. Denmark is very much striving to reduce plastic pollution so bringing your own utensils, reusable coffee cup and bottles is a must. Most of the café’s in town offer discounts to patrons bringing their own cup.
3. Notes about Denmark
June is typically very cold in Denmark. For the last two festivals the weather has been sunny and dry during the day and freezing cold at night. Last year the morning temperatures were ~3˚C with ice on windshields and frost on the grass. Saturday night last year when I was working the door of a concert it was -1 ˚C at midnight when we went home. I suggest layering up on your clothing, making sure you have scarves, beanies and gloves, and carrying a bag or backpack large enough to store excess items (and snacks) when the sun gets warm.
Another thing to keep in mind is that parking is of a premium. I suggest finding an all-day parking spot central to the venues you plan to go to and then leaving your car there for the day. It will be much easier than trying to move your car several times through-out the day. Alternatively, try carpooling from accommodation or walking. Rivermouth Caravan Park is about 2 kilometres from the town centre and there is a quite a bit of centralised accommodations.
I learnt this one at 70k Tons of Metal 2012. I was stressing a lot that I would miss out on the acts I wanted to see, that I would get lost etc. I was alone in a semi-foreign country and quite nervous. This was before FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) was considered a thing. On the first night my watch, which had been an 18th birthday present, fell off my wrist and over board. It’s currently somewhere between Florida and Cuba at the bottom of the ocean. I took it as a sign to not be caught up in the time so much and relaxed. And do you know what, I didn’t miss out on anything. I got to see my favourite band (which had been the whole point of going).
I got to see the band who’d stayed in the same hotel with me (they had been so friendly I wanted to catch a set) and I got introduced to some other bands I wasn’t really familiar with previously (the bass player from Alestorm even bought me drinks). All in all, I think I had a better time than if I had mercilessly stayed glued to the schedule I’d highlighted on the plane trip over.
5. There is always help
The people of Denmark Arts are some of the nicest people I’ve met. They want your experience to be positive and are ready and willing to help at any point. If you have questions feel free to talk to one of them. They’ll point you in the direction you need to go. If you’re coming to DFoV 2019 I’d love to meet you! Come and find me at one of my workshops or at my story telling session. I’ll be the crazy woman dressed like a witch with a pet dragon.
You can still book tickets through https://www.denmarkfestivalofvoice.com.au/ and you can follow the festival on social media at:
Instagram Page https://www.instagram.com/denmarkfestivalofvoice/
Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/denmarkfestivalofvoice/
Facebook Event https://www.facebook.com/events/311523326186868/