Less than seven minutes after we got out of the car last weekend Golden Plains Festival, my daughter sprang into action. Giant souvenir tablecloth from Thailand hung on the gazebo. Tent in the shape of a Kombi van under a young pine tree. Directions were given to the men to wrestle the bench from the roof racks and lug it up to the stage.
I was so out of my league. I hadn’t camped in about a decade and – I’m not sure if this is embarrassing or expected – I had just blown my mind at my first festival. At 56. Armed with two boxes of Aldi mojito mix, a velor queen mattress, my taffeta and lace Year 12 formal dress to wear with white cowboy boots and the knowledge that I had nothing to worry about.
My secret weapon for festival debut? I was completely in the hands of millennials.
Confession: Even though I have three, I’ve hated Millennials other than Ash Barty. They deride them as snowflakes that would call in sick in an instant even before the pandemic: “I just don’t feel it today.” Who seemed to have no goals other than to find Brunswick’s best vegan chai or an ironic cardigan at Savers. Who think the struggle is real and songs without lyrics are better than In between days.
Good. Those days are over. Australia’s 5.4 million Millennials, I see you, I feel you, I love you.
Golden Plains gifted heaps of stuff — free Ferris wheel rides at dusk, food vans that were heaven after two years of coastal culinary purgatory, dancing in my bra with 9,000 people in the afternoon, new musical horizons — but the best gift was a generation in a seeing new light.
After Sadie set up camp while my husband and I were actually wringing our hands, she took us on an adventure that lasted two days. She had a full plan and impeccable organization. And everywhere we went, we came across twenty things from my children’s childhood. The two Ollies, Conlan and Tripodi, were both friendly enough to look like they’d won first division Powerball when they clocked me and Chris, despite our vibe being more Biden than Bowie.
The greetings were great, but the conversations and attitudes were the eye opener. I’m guilty of thinking of millennials as flaky because of their disinterest in what we used to call settling down or growing up. That invariably meant learning to cook more than lasagna, buying houses and putting child seats in a Camry for 24, then staying in the same job forever.