big day out 2063

Originally rejected by the Vulture Magazine. I was asked to write about music festivals of the future. Apparently I missed the mark.


You’ve woken up after five decades on ice. This happens.  You’ve seen movies, I’ve seen movies.  It happens. What’s the first thing you’d do? Considering it’s a post-apocalyptic hellscape with an economy that runs on butter-knives and nails, you’ll probably want to chill, you know, get groovy.

Thankfully, despite the fact that octopi are our overlords and most people work in the oxygen mines (if they’re lucky), music festivals are still around. However they are a bit different. Firstly you don’t just stumble into one after selling your sister’s wii to buy a ticket on gumtree. You have to know the people that run the railroad. You know, THE railroad, a series of electromagnetic rickshaws that lead to the de-com zone. At the border your mandatory smartphone is deactivated.  For a few precious hours participants are unhooked from the digi-scape. Here you are able to think without it going viral, and laugh without then being recommended humorous ways to spend your hard-mined oxygen.

Silence and light are the canvas and paint of the minstrels of 2063.  This is no surprise in a world of screaming digital hurricanes, where octopi ride smugly around on grinding spider turrets. However it’s a few hours before the main act uses augmented sunglasses and earmuffs to take you to a quieter, brighter place. You stroll pass a man-bear, shouting into a can, at the bottom of a pit. He has gathered a crowd but it’s probably mostly holograms and proxies. No one important performs before the bloodside of the moon is out.

Some things never change, and waiting in line for food is one them. You have some money given to you by the nuke-tattooed Al-Rach Faction, who smuggled you into the De-Com zone, in return for the copyright on your bemused likeness as you stumbled into their den. Ironically enough – while most laws have collapsed, copyright laws have only gotten stronger. You finger the butterknives in your pocket as you get closer to the menu, wondering if you’ll have enough spare nails to get a drink as well.

While food as we know it hasn’t really been around since the soil turned bad, thankfully there was enough sneakers made to feed most public events for the next few hundred years. You chew a shoelace listlessly, ambling around hoping you find something that catches your ear.  The schedule appears to be a plasticine cube the others are slowly eating so you can’t really tell if anything good is on.

Finally the masses of tattooed and circuited, mutated and augmented, suited and naked, start to flock around a glowing singularity. Someone hands you glasses and earmuffs, and tendrils of light and silence start to whip around the pockmarked field. Under the shattered dome and blood red sky, surrounded by the piercing wale of the octopi death machines, thousands of freaks are dragged into the singularity by the silence and light.

They won’t be one for long, but for now they are together.


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