Taking the ‘Road To Nowhere’: A festival unlike any other
Every year, it seems there are more and more new festivals popping up and attempting to outdo one another with the biggest line-ups, with huge corporate backing and increasingly expensive tickets. Once you’re there the spending doesn’t stop, pricey food and drinks, merchandise and so on: there’s a lot to consider. But one new festival bypasses all that by encouraging the trade of goods, creative input and a strict no currency policy, which means the focus is taken away from spending money and re-focused on the important aspects of a festival – that is, good times, a sense of community and an entirely unique experience. This festival is called Road To Nowhere (RTN) and I spoke to one of the organisers about the interesting new project.
Explain how the idea behind RTN came to fruition.
The idea for RTN was cooked up while constructing a camp for a friend’s wedding; it was just a late night wish or pipe dream so to speak. At that point it was just our own replacement for Glastonbury (our annual pilgrimage) on its year off but it soon became apparent, as things evolved, that we needed a strong concept and reason to do it.
It became non profit as we believe with the intention of making money you lose the focus on the experience and end result. Using no currency was something we’d experienced before and believe that every human should experience personally in order to make them question their everyday lives.
How did you go about getting the idea off the ground and making it a reality?
To be where we are now has taken some dedication and a fantastic group of altruistic, like-minded people who believe in dreams. It’s still an experiment that changes everyday and we hope it continues to be way into the future but we definitely couldn’t do it without such an amazing (and rapidly growing) team.
Where will RTN take place and how did you select the site?
One of our partners runs other festivals and found the site. It’s very close to the mysterious leylines of Glastonbury which is a place close to our hearts. We would encourage those visiting to take in this special part of the world, one of the most common places to see crop circles and UFO sightings, plus a few crazy old hippies in Glastonbury town.
What’s the meaning behind the name of your event?
It’s a reference to a Talking Heads song but also can be interpreted any way the listener likes. That is however what life is about.
The festival site is in an interesting location, energy lines and so forth, can you explain a bit more about what makes the location so special?
It’s to be experienced for yourself. There’s obviously a lot of history in the area so we’re hoping this will bring the temporary community even closer together during the unique adventure.
What can we look forward to from the festival in terms of the creative side of things? What will people be able to interact / get involved with?
Almost everything we have planned has an interactive element. This is evolving on a daily basis but there is work with a number of mediums such as mosaic, graffiti, painting, through to the bicycle powered cinema, performance art, recycling sculptures and even food. All of the activities are designed to bring a new set of people together to create, learn and engage each other.
How important is this creative aspect of the festival?
It’s integral. The Road To Nowhere is about inspiring and encouragement for all of those involved, the volunteers and core team always have that in mind. No boundaries really means we are trying to think outside of the box and we have to be creative with putting it together being non-profit, which makes it extremely unique.
How would you advise people who’ve never experienced a ‘non-currency’ environment to deal with the situation?
Over-provide for yourself and expect to be providing for others. When we discussed the concept we realised the best aspects of our own festival experiences came from sharing, be it space, food or the moments themselves. It’s actually been proven to make people feel good when you share so that was a reason it became a no-currency event – if you take away hierarchy then there are less sources of conflict. If you bring more than you need, be it wooden forks or lemon slices you’ll soon find someone that needs them and no doubt they’ll find you something you’re missing in return.
Apart from the absence of currency, what make RTN so different from other festivals?
The fact that we have our doors open to collaborations means the festival continues to diversify beyond anyone’s control. It’s wonderful how many people have come forward to offer their time and skills. There’s no real rules in what is going to happen next which is incredibly exciting.
The aim is also to leave no trace once it’s all over, how will you go about making sure this happens?
We’re aiming to try to make recycling fun in a number of ways and incentive those that contribute to the cause. Also hopefully those that are coming are doing so because they like the concept which is in line with this core aim.
What effect would you hope the festival has on those who attend?
A bit of provocation to try new things, learn about others and themselves and to give a little more. Hopefully they’ll keep coming back too.
What does the future hold for RTN, where would like it to go?
That’s a big question that no one could answer, because the fun is in the surprise.festival, Glastonbury, Road To Nowhere, RTN
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