The 5th Euphoria Music and Camping Festival in Austin TX went down as a weekend for the history books. Im still beaming with light from the epic music, beautiful weather and gorgeous people. This was my 3rd and most enjoyable Euphoria Fest yet. I got to spend quality time with my festie fam old and new, jam to some of my favorite artists and dance my heart out, all while doing a pretty good job of managing my blood sugar.
This was my first time working as a volunteer at a festival and I absolutely loved the experience! Getting to show up a day early and set up camp before the rush was clutch. I met so many great people in volunteer camping. (Shouts to Tony from CO, Eddie, Asia, Beau and everyone else I kicked it with).
Being a part of the festival experience for so many was very fulfilling. Due to some logistics issues the organizers had to change the camping drop off point this year, forcing campers to lug their gear uphill, across rough terrain. On that first day there were some very unhappy campers, exhausted from waiting in line all morning then having to traverse, dusty, rocky trails with 4 days worth of camping gear. My job as a volunteer was to help campers crest the final hill into the campground. It was awesome getting to turn so many frowns upside down and help set the vibe right for the weekend.
Volunteering is a great way to experience a festival for free, make new friends and feel like a part of the event.
Euphoria has come a long way in its 5 year life span. This year’s completely stacked line up had everyone talking and no one was disappointed. Some of my favorite sets were Griz, Space Jesus, Bassnectar and Sound Tribe Sector 9. Tycho’s set felt like a dream. His live band added a whole new dynamic to his euphoric sound. Griz unleashed a heavy, all over the place set of funky grooves and nasty drops while Muzzy Bear shredded guitar on stage with him. You never know what to expect from Bassnectar. He crafted a perfectly curated set for the occasion, filled with far out pads and synths from other galaxies accompanied by captivating space visuals. STS9’s set was the highlight of the weekend. It was only the umpteenth time I had seen Tribe but never had I seen them like this. It felt like a private show! Dillon Francis stole most of the EDM-centric crowd, leaving tons of space for us hippies to dance and groove to STS9’s improv jams mere feet from the stage.
Euphoria offers great workshops in the mornings before the music kicks off. I got down on some much needed yoga after a full day of pulling wagons up a hill. There were acro yoga workshops, guided meditations and interesting self help talks. I learned a lot about myself during a dealing with anxiety workshop.
Due to the proximity of the festival to Austin there is an unfortunate 1am noise curfew. To keep the vibe going for campers after hours there was an epic silent disco. Never been to a silent disco? Well its a party where everyone wears headphones and can choose between 2 DJs. Cool right?
The overall set up of Euphoria Fest this year was great. Despite the long walk to load in, camping was set up much more conveniently than past years. The beautiful, sprawling main festival ground was loaded with great vendors, art pieces and a brilliant art gallery. Sound and light production were top notch and the always epic Dragonfly Stage looked sick.
Managing My Diabetes and Generating Type 1 Awareness
Overall I did a pretty decent job managing my diabetes throughout the weekend. My BG averaged around 160. I had quite a few hyper readings mostly from carb loading before a volunteer shift or going out to dance. I lowered my long acting insulin dose from 25 to 14 units which seemed to work as I only had 1 hypo episode while helping campers and was able to get back into range easily after high readings.
The weather was pretty mild for Texas in April so keeping my insulin cool was easy. I only needed 1 Frio wallet for my main pens and my back up pens easily stayed cold in my cooler. Upon arrival I spoke with an EMT who said they could refrigerate insulin for me if I needed it. This is the first time medical staff at a fest has offered that with out me nearly begging for it.
The only diabetic dilemma I ran into was right before Griz’s set. I had just eaten a slice of pizza, checked my blood sugar and prepared to inject. I primed my pen for 3 units, alcohol swabbed a good fatty spot on my stomach, wound up for the injection when all of a sudden Griz started, instantaneously stealing my attention. I plunged the needle into my gut, pressed down and heard 6 clicks. Somehow in the excitement of the moment (and the clumsiness caused by whiskey) I accidentally added 3 units. I reacted quickly, knowing I didn’t want to have to return to camp during Griz. I dumped a packet of powdered Gatorade into my water bottle and chugged away while raging to my favorite funky bass artist. After his set I checked again and was at 128, crisis averted.
Throughout the festival I checked and injected wherever I was. Rarely making the slightest attempt to hide my diabetes. This was the first large gathering where I adopted this attitude and I’m never looking back. By openly treating my condition I was able to raise so much awareness and answer tons of questions about type 1. At one point I had a whole campsite’s attention, explaining the difference between the types and sharing what festival life is like with diabetes.
While checking my blood in the crowd waiting for Bassnectar a beautiful stranger handed me this card: I thought my heart was going to burst. I gave her a huge hug and she introduced me to her friends and asked me to tell her about type 1 then we got down to Bassnectar. I sadly don’t remember her name but I’ll never forget her face and moving act of kindness.
Euphoria 2016 was one of the best festival experiences of my life. A spark in my heart has been reignited reminding me why I love music, people and this life ever so much.
Photo cred: Euphoria Fest (I couldn’t get my camera in)
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