A walk in the park

Dear everyone,

A good festival for us is a free and inspiring place, where people can enjoy the music, the surroundings, and each other without any worries. We felt overwhelmed to see Waking Life become such a place for many of you last year, so thanks to everyone that created the magic we experienced back in August by the lake.

Certainly there are things to improve, and the feedback we received in the past months played an important role in helping sort the puzzle of what the next edition should look like. There’s certain things we learned that are of the interest of everyone involved in Waking Life, and so we are sharing them with you today.

We split this up in three different pillars.

General experience

We heard you: more shade! Both the camping area and the festival grounds will be covered with more shade for shelter during the hottest hours of the day.

We are fully aware of the sound interference between Floresta and Praia. The chill-out area will be relocated to another location, and Praia will become a new floor with a different sound setup.

Changes in the program will be communicated at the info point and at the stage in question from the moment we are aware of them. The info point itself will be better organized as well: changes in shifts last year unfortunately caused loss of information, especially regarding the tipis. The info point will stay open until the gates close on Tuesday, and the tipi point will get a separate check-in.

The bar structure will be improved for faster service, and opening times of food shops will be adapted so that you can fulfill yourself anytime of the day, even in the earliest hours. Due to problems with connectivity it was not always possible to withdraw money at the info point. If all goes well, we will have an ATM on site next summer.

Late (but necessary) works on the campsite and parking made it a little dusty. By now grass has grown back, so this year the dust should settle.

Last year we started building a communal kitchen. Unfortunately, we noticed some safety hazards during the build-up which we couldn’t fix on such short notice. We’re evaluating this and will only build this space if all the safety conditions can be met.

Finally, we had to close access to the lake early Monday morning due to production related measures, which was a bit of a bummer for those who decided to stay until Tuesday. We’ll make sure that the lake stays open for swimming on Monday as well.

Health and safety

The illness felt last year (whose report can be found here) entailed health and safety to become one of the most important topics for the preparation of this year’s edition. There are several measures we will implement for both general comfort and hygienic purposes. Some of these are:

  • Installing several water points spread over the terrain;
  • Use of recyclable cans for some of the drinks and revising the washing system for eco cups;
  • Cleaning teams for the toilets and showers will be tripled;
  • Complete revision of the eco-toilet system. If necessary, hygiene must prevail over the sustainable aspect on this matter until we found a more secure system.

Furthermore, there’s some things to improve with the first aid as well. One thing is for sure: since we couldn’t have expected last year’s illness, it was not so straightforward how to act towards it either. We learned a lot from the experience and together with the medical staff we will prepare ourselves better in terms of communication, make the first aid area more spacious, and request for English-speaking personnel.

Sustainability

Even though we were very happy with how clean the site looked last year (a special thanks to our eco team!), there will be an extra focus on waste management. However, here we’ll need your help.

Trash and recycle points will be labelled more clearly, but make sure to use the different bins according to their content. Unfortunately, we saw too many garbage points not used properly. Another thing we were not very happy with last year was the trash found at the stages in the morning. We’ll install more garbage bins near the stages, but please: use them. Same goes for cigarette butts: although we distributed ashtrays at the entrance, the amount of cigarette butts found on the floor was rather disappointing.

Last but not least, a quick word about the garbage deposit system. At the end of the festival we received quite some garbage bags filled with a big carton or an air mattress to fill up the bag. Goes without saying that this is not the idea behind the system… Useful materials can be brought in at the info point so that we donate them to other organizations. Besides that, we received some reactions that the campsite ‘ran out of trash’. Considering that we were still cleaning up days after the end of the festival, you may understand that’s not quite possible. Some ideas for next year: help us by cleaning the stages in the morning using your own garbage bag, it’ll be full in no-time! Alternatively, fill a big plastic bottle of cigarette butts or other litter if you can’t entirely fill your garbage bag. We’ll be more than happy to refund everyone who makes their own little efforts to keep the area clean.

Thanks for reading, and in the meantime, don’t hesitate to write us at info@2018.wakinglife.pt with any ideas or suggestions.

Take care,
Team Waking Life