Sorry for the late update this time- I had a nightmare few days courtesy of Ryanair, but as I decided for the first time ever to take my laptop “Tales” on tour with me, I can update you all now!
NB: I don’t have the schedule with me so I cannot double-check names. If you know anyone in here that I have not credited, please get in touch with their name so I can credit/link them. Thankyou!
This was my second Junktown and I wasn’t quaking in my boots preparing to give a speech this time, I had the chance to look around, party in my own time and compare the sights to the ones last year…… and holy hell, things looked different. Check out my first Junktown blog for some ‘before’ shots.
Roadtrip sister Kaija and I arrived early to set up and look around before the noise of engines and various tribes signature sounds filled the air. I’m planning to visit in off-season next year (for exciting reasons) and just wanted to mention that Junktown is set in a beautiful fairytale protected forest and it is well worth a visit in its own right. Trees, soft velvety butterflies, water loving lizards, birdsong from dawn to dusk… and slow worms! Thankyou for indulging my inner hippy. 😉
The first thing we noticed: SO many new structures! Buildings had been added, there were new sculptures to find, tribes had improved their clubhouses and cars had got bigger and badder. The Zone Rats clubhouse is always worth a visit and I heard great things about the Dead Dogs too.
The Wasteland Warriors live in a bunker and while we hold workshops there, there are rules about exactly what we can build, so we’re looking into some improvements to our own camp next year but it takes some planning.
Our current home. <3
On Thursday, people started to arrive, tents built up and amid the trees and sun, engines started to vibrate as people took their first high speed turns around the road encircling the main Junktown area. From then, my timeline gets a bit hazy as I made of point of not trying to connect online or keep track of time unless there was a band or show I really wanted to see.
A ‘first’ visit always has a different feel as EVERYTHING is new and you spend so much time with wide eyes going OMFG, but this time I could revisit favourite places, talk to old friends and make new ones while showing them around. Still, this wasn’t quite like ‘returning to the same old haunts’ as I had expected; things had changed…
One tribe had two extra stories built on their camp and a precariously-swinging rope bridge. The stunning night time flora and fauna had multiplied. My favourite morning-saving coffee guys from last year had expanded outwards into cake territory and upwards with another storey and balcony. A tree house had magically appeared on my walk from town to camp. A Fallout-style vault materialised deep in the woods opposite. There was even an arcade with a claw machine and a jukebox (I’d never won anything in an arcade before – this is Gorgeous George!)
Just across the dirt road from the arcade was a sexy bordello/circus area. Photos weren’t allowed of course but it was DEFINITELY worth the bottle caps- you could get entry to a mesmerising mutant show (something I’ve never seen at a postapocalyptic event before), strip dances, certain ‘favours’, interesting lessons and all sorts of other goodies for your bottle caps. And it was cosy as hell- as the weather had turned horribly cold and wet, we spent a lot of time in that tent in a spiky huddle surrounded by the beautiful and semi-nude.
No bordello pics allowed so here are some sexy babes before leaving for a shower-free week. 😛 (Me and Kaija)
Another undercover area I haunted with fellow warrior Cheshire was the SPAD. It’s a bunker full of creepy/radioactive-looking stencil art and this year was guarded by one of Guillermo del Toro’s infamous “tooth fairies”. It’s mostly used for bands and dance shows.
We saw a very funny, utterly badass punk performer who ended up making friends with us and coming on a few adventures while we swapped swear words in four languages, a German industrial band I loved and will very happily go and watch again (but guys, the program was in Czech- can anyone identify the people?)
V2A; a fixture at postapocalyptic events the world over- awesome gig again, guys and sorry we didn’t get much hangout time, a cyberpunk performance show/band with elements of sci-fi, opera and goth- you just had to be there, but look at the outfits!
And lastly (but not leastly), the Wasteland Dancers; a collection of very different but equally beautiful women with different dancing skills- including tribal, storytelling, aerial hoop and interpretive, with a lot of bellydancing in there too. I don’t know the individual members so please tell me if you have any links so I can credit each one! My friend Cheshire was mesmerised by “the pink lady” and her UV reactive eyelashes!
There were competitions and events outside- the Wasteland Warriors took home prizes for our motorbikes (many brought by our friends The Hogs MMC (Mutant Motorcycle Club), and our warrior Kleiner Zorn won third place in the costume contest- three other warriors were also shortlisted!
Our very own Rust Rider who won the bike contest last year.
As I mentioned, we non-Czech-speakers experience an extra level of mystery while there; we understand the names of bands or the titles of some events but others are a complete surprise… like the competition listed only as “Asbestos Mouth”…. which turned out to be a chili eating challenge. I quite like that element- guessing and deciphering adds to the fun! (Though our more local friends kindly translated when we were well and truly stumped).
I got to shoot a gun for the first time in years and as promised, I brought my camera to show you the Zone Rats car! Look, here it is!
Caddu shooting. So much concentration. 😛 <3
While I didn’t spend much time in the casino I spent a bit of time getting a bullwhip lesson from casino master Gummi Bear. I need to practise but definitely managed to crack the whip… and crack myself in the face with it shortly afterward, haha! 😉
That’s something I love about Junktown; if somebody is demonstrating or practising a skill you want to learn, simply asking for a lesson often gets you one! Cheshire, fascinated by the aerial hoop in a neon and black light circus tribe, asked the women there if they were going to give lessons and if so, when. “Right now if you like?” they offered.
I suspect that when the world ends, people will be considerably less friendly toward each other but somehow this sad fact had been rejected by the Wastelander community. As I mentioned in last Junktown’s blog, I was overwhelmed by the kindness of my own people- and this time I saw more of the same. Invitations to an impromptu barbecue, cheerful invitations to share shelter amid one of the sudden freezing downpours, little gifts from other tribes, happily bartering fire for food and sharing everything we could offer.
One night I wasn’t quite ready to go to sleep but as I’d been on my own and it was 3am I took off my outfit and make-up and scraped back my hair….. only to hear the siren call of one of my current addictive songs playing from our neighbouring tribe “Free Wifi”. So I threw my shoes back on and wearing nothing else but a vest and shorts, dashed down the hill to dance. They very sweetly put the song on again for me and I stayed there for at least an hour getting to know more of the members.
“Free Wifi” by day. Night is considerably more neon!
By the time events like this end (and bearing in mind I’d been there for a full week by the last night), I’m usually either dying to jump around and dance like an idiot for one last time- or sit by the fire pit until dawn putting the world to rights. Luckily for me, I got to do both. I found Cheshire while stuffing my face with a glorious hamburger I had waited all week for and we went back to the camp to pick up sticks from the forest and marshmallows from the food bag. Fire pits were everywhere and we planned to trade space by the fires for marshmallows. After a lovely and impromptu guided tour of the vault opposite (complete with checking Giger counter inspection) we were lured to the arcade by the sound of the jukebox blaring………..
Unable to resist some ‘abspachen’ (crazy dancing) we spent our night there taking over the playlist, introducing “Free Wifi” member known as ‘rubber chicken Jesus’ to the wonders of toasted marshmallows and dancing like glorious fools. Finally, with very sore feet, we limped our way back to the bunker… where warrior “RostReiter” (Rust Rider) and the Hogs MMC were sitting around a fire pit. We were still swapping food, bad jokes and travel stories as the sun rose, and Kaija and I decided we really REALLY should sleep.
After very fast packing, an impromptu detour via Prague and a conversation that went a bit like this:
Kaija: “Can I try some of your ice cream?”
Me: “Yep.” *Offers it*
Kaija: “In a sec.”
Two seconds later…
Kaija: “But save some for me.”
Me: “Will do.”
Kaija: “What is it?”
Kaija: “Can I try some?”
Me: “I already said yes.”
Kaija: *Tries some.* “YUCK! I forgot I hate pistachio!”
We found ourselves back in Germany for one last stupid selfie and an onward goddawful Ryanair spectacular for me. 😛 Now I’m in Scotland.
One thing I got asked a LOT while in Junktown was “How does it compare to Wasteland Weekend?” Now I’ve been to two of each, I’ll answer as best I can.
Both events have badass cars, crazy activities, people that feel more like family, and an “End of the World” theme. That’s about it as far as similarities go. For me, I prefer the climate at Junktown- I suffer in the heat so having shaded trees and cooler temperatures mean I’m active for more of the day.
I love the commitment to theme and costume at Wasteland- yes, some people don’t quite get it or try to be a bit too different and end up outside of the theme but the general vibe and look (and way the events are done) is very consistent and it is like stepping into another world.
Junktown is a bit more loose with its interpretation of ‘postapocalyptic’ but feels like stepping into many different worlds depending on tribe and show. That’s something that will appeal or not- it depends on your preference.
Wasteland is further from ‘civilisation’ so if you don’t bring it, you don’t have it- and that includes water. You can buy food every day and just about survive but you’d be an idiot not to bring your own. It’s always a good idea to bring food but there are more options at Junktown and if you are really really stuck, Bratronice is just 15 minutes drive away. Wasteland is more of a ‘total immersion’ whereas Junktown people can dip in and out if they prefer. I personally don’t want to hop between the outside world and the festival one but some people may prefer having the option.
Same with the ‘Mad Max’ theme- there’s DESERT at Wasteland! You can’t stick to Mad Max at Junktown- the climate simply isn’t right so fans of the traditional ‘Road Warrior may prefer the Wasteland landscape.
The thing is; while there are similarities between the two, they are so different, so built around the characteristics of their own landscapes, I cannot compare them in the way people ask me to. It’s like trying to compare someone like Johnny Cash with a band like Metallica. Sure, you can compare beat, lyrics and influences but when it comes down to it, your favourite depends on who speaks to your spirit the loudest.
p.s. Thankyou to all the people who recognised me and came to say hello- and especially those who came to tell me how much they enjoyed my talks from last year! That meant so much to me and I will be back next year with a better, more awesome talk so I hope you’ll come! <3 <3 <3
Thankyou….. my tribe/family, the Wasteland Warriors and our friends the Zone Rats and Hogs MMC. Free Wifi for the many dance parties, candyfloss and making me so welcome. My new friends (hello Sarah!) and old ones (Striga and Rionka- it was so much fun to ride with you again). Gummi Bear for the whip lesson. The Lightkeepers for such a beautiful camp- you really do bring light to everyone. Beautiful wonderful food people- I would be lost (and hungry) without you. Coffee guys; you make me a better person. All the people who let me ride on their cars- you rock so hard. Martin for all the organising and badassery- sorry we didn’t get a proper catch up!! And everyone else I missed- I know there are more of you.
Lightkeepers: always keeping the light
Beautiful food fairies! Always so friendly! 🙂
It was….. in-tents. … I’ll see myself out. 😛
Home sweet bunker.
I saw the last sunset on the solstice. <3 (The hippy strikes again)
And last of all….. this little guy! <3