Dad: Alright Honey, there is some vomit on the floor of that toilet so you don’t have to go in there.
Daughter: What is vomit, Dad?
Dad: Vomit is the stuff that comes out when you throw up.
Daughter: (Thinking) Why does someone throw up?
Dad: It happens when someone eats something or is sick and it hurts their stomach so they throw it up out of their mouth to get rid of it.
Daughter: Ew, it’s gross and it smells bad.
Dad: Yes, a bit. But if you just have to pee we can walk to the forest and you can do it there. Do you want to do that?
Daughter: Yea, let’s go walk into the forest.
Bleary eyed, I stood in the line for the bathroom at a psytrance festival, Forest Frequencies, in the mountains of Lebanon when a Frenchman in his thirties walked up holding his 5-year old daughter’s hand. He was wearing sunglasses and a straw touristy hat, his daughter had a thick blonde bob with some little kid sunglasses on. I stood there, analyzing the vomit from outside the bathroom and listened to them, totally weirded out. They were speaking French but I understood the conversation fully. I guess I’ve been absorbing more French than I knew just from living in Lebanon.
A million thoughts raced through my mind as it all went down. First I tried to wrap my head around the absurdity of making an psytrance festival a family vacation. I mean, none of the music there was especially light and cheery. All the psytrance I heard (and you can hear it from all over the festival) is dark and fast and just sounds fucked up. So I thought about that. Perhaps they’ve been camping at the festival all three-four days and the music got progressively darker as the days went by and I only saw the end of it. Maybe they all go to bed in the tent at like 10pm and skip the darker side of the events. I heard there was a capoeira performance the second day and the chill-out stage plays lighter tribal music during the day. That’s fun for kids. And it was in a breathtakingly beautiful camping area in the mountains. Old stone buildings housed the food center but the rest was placed on vast green land surrounded by forest. Some people camped on the different terraces that were once used for farming.
Then I thought about what it’s like explaining vomit to a little kid. You have to start from zero, because little kids know nothing until they learn it. I jumped into the mind of this dad for five-minutes and listened to him explain this weird and natural bodily function that was most likely induced by some narcotics to his daughter. And I thought how weird it was that it was all happening in front of me at 8 in the morning. The line wasn’t long but it took more than a few minutes to wait and the father-daughter discussion was making me feel strange so I just left the line and went back to my friends. Later, I saw the mother of the girl holding a very small baby in a sling. They really did bring the whole family.
I had so many questions for them. What were they doing in Lebanon? Do they live here? Do they travel to festivals with their small children and raise them in these counter-culture communities? Is it good for kids to be around this kind of adult stuff? Despite all the questions I had, there was one thing I knew for sure; In 20 years this little girl should definitely write an article on xoJane entitled ‘My Dad Taught Me What Vomit Was at a PsyTrance Festival in Lebanon’ and the first line should be “You could say my dad is a cool guy.”
That was one of the fun scenes I witnessed this weekend. There are many more so stay tuned.
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