I came to the festival world as it was seemingly taking off in mainstream culture, the summer of 2011. My then-boyfriend, now best friend/ex/neighbor had been coming to SCAMP for several years, with his TRIBE, a group of friends that had sustained each other since middle school. Because I had come along to his picture a few weeks before SCAMP, and was a broke graduate student, I decided to volunteer, as a way to save money while still being able to come along, and meet his friends. I was assigned to the Green Team, which, as you may well know, involved a great deal of trash sorting, and being up to your elbows in improperly-discarded human waste.
Despite my seemingly terrible experience, I really enjoyed working for the Green Team, and as a person who is naturally introverted, it gave me an opportunity to commiserate with folks over really interesting work conditions. This started my descent into the festival world, and brought me ever closer to those whom I now call family (the TRIBE).
Even though the reason why I attended my first SCAMP is no longer romantically present, volunteering gave me the opportunity to explore a more colorful life – as a person who used to have a wardrobe solely consisting of black, white, grey, and purple. Because of this experience and interactions, I recognized that I didn’t have to fit into a mold of middle-american adulthood. That my life was what I made it – leading me to quit my program, and move halfway across the country to pursue a PHD in sociology, with a research interest in collective behaviors – with field research in – what else! – the festival community.
Because of my ability to volunteer my way into SCAMP, it (really) changed my life – its direction, its purpose, and how I conduct it. By trading work for play in a low (but very high) risk barter, (and sorting cans from human waste) – it gave me the confidence to pursue a life weirder, and more wonderful than could ever be imagined.