There’s no better way to live for the now than by unplugging from the world of social media and looking through a lens. Innocent invited me to their Innocent Unplugged festival giving us a day of being off the grid. That meant we had a full day without any digital entertainment (other than a few snaps taken whilst there). Today I’m going to share my experience, what I got up to and what I learnt.
OFF THE GRID
In all honesty, are you happy to spend a weekend without the internet? I decided to give it ago, a challenge set by Innocent who were hosting an ‘unplugged’ festival meaning no phones and no internet.
On Sunday 29th May, Paul and I drove to the festival location with our phones safely switched off at home and only my camera as a source of documenting the day. After meeting with Alice from Taylor Herring – who had kindly arranged everything for my day at Innocent’s second festival- Paul and I headed to The People’s Stage which was surrounded by hula hooping, smoothie drinking festival goers. Paul had never ‘hula-ed’ before so I made it my mission for him to get at least two spins… I failed and so did he.
After embarrassing ourselves we decided to explore the festival grounds, take a look at what the compost loos were like (much better than chemical toilets!) and people watch. My first impression was that the festival was much calmer (and smaller) than other festivals we’d been to with most of the people taking advantage of the free fruit drinks and coconut water as opposed to cider and beer. Groups of people were spread out on bean bags, taking part in laughter yoga, getting massages or heading to the outdoor spa.
Speaking of which, Paul and I had a slot booked for 12pm… And I’ll admit it was a little out of my comfort zone stripping off in a tent with lots of other ladies! We all were in the same awkward boat of making zero eye contact and trying as hard as possible to slide our pants off without dropping towels! But once we were out and showered, we sunk into the outdoor hot tub with another lovely lady and a lifestyle writer for Metro called Ellen.
We chatted about travelling, our jobs, blogging and, as usual, Paul and I probably took over the conversation a little. Luckily we were very open about how this wasn’t our thing but we also agreed on the fact it was a wonderful concept. Whilst we got acquainted, the Innocent team offered us a glass of prosecco which Paul and I swapped for tea and coffee.
It was relaxing soaking in the wood fuelled hot tub before getting out and cooling down in the summer breeze. We also could’ve enjoyed the sauna but we started feeling a little peckish so headed to the foodie quarter of the festival!
By the time we made it to the food tents there were already huge queues gathering. Although it was a small festival I think more food options would’ve been beneficial… After about thirty minutes in the queue, I waited twenty minutes for my pizza, fresh from the oven. But it was worth the wait. The pizza was delicious, although I wish I had more of it! Paul opted for a Japanese vegetable pot (no queues were present at that tent!) which he thoroughly enjoyed although I always choose pizza over veg!
After scoffing down our food, we went to watch some people learn how to tightrope walk… Yep. Okay, so it wasn’t high from the ground but I wasn’t confident enough to participate! However, it was rather amusing seeing various attempts being made to get from one tree to the other. Not many succeeded so I didn’t feel too bad for not giving it a go (and basically failing ha!).
Needing a refreshment, we went back to the People’s Stage to get a couple of cans of free, fruity beverages and listen to some music. Not having a watch or phone I couldn’t tell the time, thus I am not able to tell you who we listened to but it was calming acoustic and had everyone in the unplugged spirit.
ISN’T IT IRONIC?
Although, there were a few people who I think didn’t quite get the point… I know I had my camera but I was there as a guest to promote and document the festival. Whereas there seemed to be people who weren’t able to help themselves in snapping pictures on their phones, texting and taking phone calls. In fact, one woman used her phone to photograph and text this sign to a friend.
A film crew even said it was ironic that I was photographing them filming. I felt it was a nicer experience having fewer people being glued to their phones and just enjoying what was around them. It made a nice change from other festivals where there is mile long queues for mobile phone charging stations.
I think more festivals should embrace this ‘rule’ because being told, “No phones,” did make people look a little awkward when they slid their iPhone out of their pocket.
INSPIRED BY INNOCENT UNPLUGGED
I spent both Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday unplugged from the web. Admittedly I did send a few text messages and play Sims 3 for a short time on Monday evening. But overall I was disconnected from the world of social media and the web. There were a few moments of temptation to send a tweet or to post on Instagram. However, leaving my phone behind and spending time actually doing stuff rather than writing about it was a nice change!
I do believe we’ve become reliant on our phones to keep in touch with others, especially through social media. Despite the lack of urgency of social media, we have naturally assumed that everyone will check their Facebook. So rather than ringing someone, we just send a message. I spent two days without checking my Facebook messages… If someone sent me something urgent through Facebook, I wouldn’t have seen it. Luckily no one did, but I think it’s become something that we naturally assume now and it’s a little sad. We’re getting disconnect from being personal. We have become lazy and no longer call for a chat, write letters or meet up. Instead, we write a quick message and that’s our socialising.
We live in a generation where ‘likes’ are more important than just enjoying the moment we are in. And yes I’m guilty of wanting to photograph every fun or nice thing I do. I don’t know why. Perhaps it is having that online approval, I don’t know. But I do think it’s beneficial for us to take a day out of using social media. I have no issue in photographing moments. It’s not quite the same as being glued to Facebook. Mindlessly scrolling and double tapping away…
What do you think? Are you going to try and unplug a little more?