Like most European countries, Lithuania hosts a large number of music festivals during the summer months.
A psychedelic/trance music festival held by the Spengla lake some 60 kilometres south of Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, Yaga also places a heavy emphasis on nature and environmental friendliness.
When Yaga took place over the weekend of July 30 to August 3, our director Mark Adam Harold wrote a review of the festival, in which he admitted he left an important part of his brain in a field in Lithuania.
I lost my chewing gum. I’m 36 years old. Or maybe 37. I’m somewhere in a field, with an empty plastic cup in my hand. It’s not the first time or the last.
The uneven ground beneath my aching feet has been packed hard by a hundred humans, and it’s vibrating, and I am physically connected to at least eight bassbins.
I want to call my mother, and say: Mother, I can never come home again, because I seem to have left an important part of my brain somewhere, somewhere, in an empty plastic cup in a field in Lithuania.
The only colours I need are ultraviolet.
The only water I need is raining on me. There’s two guys on-stage with three didgeridoos, and after blowing them for half an hour they stop and say “this next one has more of an influence from the aboriginal people of Australia”, because before that, they were playing mostly psychedelic trance.
Hello Mother, I am in Yaga. Send helicopters.
I was in a seminar, and I learnt that if you don’t do what you think, and you don’t feel what you do, then your energy will be all in a spiral, and that’s bad, because everything is energy.
While I tried to feel what I think, someone with hair longer than his legs was trying to balance on a slackline between two pines. He fell off many times. He was encouraged by this.
There’s a place here where you can buy milky tea which doesn’t have milk in it. Apparently nuts are milk.
I’m sitting writing this under a plastic sheet suspended above several things including me, a lot of moss, a camping table and a can of beer. Small oaks are trying to grow, but the pines take all the light.
A procession of people are walking past me carrying fire in their fifty hands. They all have different shapes of burning stuff, except for the guy with the saxophone. He’s just playing the saxophone.
I found a labyrinth made of sticks and straw. There was only one route, and it led to the centre, without the participant having to make any decisions.
I just started walking, I followed the snaking path around myself, and I won. In the middle you are supposed to leave an offering.
There were coins, sweet wrappers, and a condom. I poured some of my beer on the condom and walked back out. This means something.
I heard a DJ play Otis Redding. It seemed to make sense at the time, so I danced.
A short man with a crazy beard is telling his friend about how everyone else in the world is just doing business, trying to make money.
Not us. We’re in Yaga, we don’t do that here, because we are in Yaga.
Mother, I promise you, for these four days, I will not be making any money, and I will not be doing any business, except into a hole in the ground partially covered by planks of wood.
Don’t worry, I am not in India, I am just in a place where people wish they were in India.
There’s jugglers and mandala-painting workshops here, there’s a sign asking “Do vegans only eat grass?”, and for security reasons my wrist is encircled by a loop of swastikas, woven into a synthetic-fibre bracelet produced by a robot.
In front of me is the opportunity to buy a burger with no cows in it, and on my right is a sign saying “CHILL OUT”, which could be a location or an instruction. It’s both.
In this temporary paradise, if I wanted to have any part of my body rubbed according to some dead guy’s cosmic molestation theory, I could.
I can see a brown tent with a small dark slit at the front, the slit obscured by a hanging sign advertising “Magic Massage”. I could go in, but I am far too English for that. If I’m supposed to be in India, give me a gin and tonic and don’t touch me.
Sleeping here is just a state of mind, accompanied by the distant throb of music which would sound better at half-speed.
The trees around me reflect and absorb repetitive beats, the beetles below the trees crawl across the moss without understanding where they are. They are in Yaga.
Why did somebody bring a squeaky rubber duck, and why are they pinching it at midnight? This is a question for normal people. I am not a normal person. I am in Yaga. Do leaves normally have video projections on them? I can’t remember.
It’s amazing how in other places in the world, people navigate through forests without luminous yellow string or blue LEDs. Apparently there are other places in the world, and there are people there.
I feel sorry for them. They are not in Yaga. They might be in somewhere much better than Yaga, but they are not in Yaga.
They didn’t turn a corner and find a photography exhibition lying on a blanket of needles and ferns. They didn’t swim in this lake. They have no paint on their face. Their labyrinth has choices in it, and for some reason they didn’t choose Yaga.