What Happened When I Got Told to Go to a Festival and Spend Heaps of Money

At the start of the music video for the 2001 Blink-182 classic ‘The Rock Show‘, the band are given a cheque to spend on production which they instead cash and proceed to throw much of it off the top of a building.

When I got the assignment for this story, I had visions of doing something similar, albeit on a much smaller scale. The idea was to go to Brisbane and get festival fresh with a new ‘fit before hitting Laneway Festival. All of it would be going on AfterPay, and probably not in the way you’re thinking. I was invited as a guest of the company. In this economy, how could I say no?

Image: Getty

Suddenly I found myself in Fortitude Valley, shopping for new clothes.

This was unusual given I don’t live in the city, or even the state, and I’m not one for ‘shopping sprees’. I tend to wear op-shop finds and high-quality things bought out of necessity until they fall apart. Call it minimalism, ethical consumerism, or just not giving that much of a sh*t about fashion.

We bounce from store to store, trying to piece together the ‘ultimate’ festival outfit ahead of Laneway. Later in the day, we’ll be heading out to the Brisbane Showgrounds where Julia Jacklin, Fred Again, Phoebe Bridgers, and Fontains DC, amongst others, are gearing up to give thousands of young Brisbanites a one-day spectacular.

I already have a heap of what you’d call ‘festival gear’ — stuff you can really only get away with at a festival unless looking like a psychedelic warlock is your everyday vibe and, hey, I’m not here to judge. But most of it is not the highest quality and has limited utility. I didn’t fancy adding to that pile so we were looking for items you could wear again and again.

Picking the ‘ultimate’ festival outfit really depends on style, the vibe, and how long you’re going to be standing in a field, but you know it when you see it; someone who has just gone absolutely next level in their festival outfit game and the compliments of the crowd showers down upon them. I wasn’t sure if that was something we could hit, but we were aiming high.

By the time we’d checked out three stores and nothing had clicked, I was starting to resent this whole idea. Concerns over money and what constitutes ‘ultimate’ were getting to me.

Then we stepped into Venroy. Founded in Bondi, Sydney, in 2011, the Aussie-owned brand is a direct-to-consumer model that structures itself around high-quality, freedom-infused clothing using organic materials. This I could get behind.

We found their terry-towel short sleeve terracotta shirt and were instantly sold. It’s understated and probably not what you’d consider ‘ultimate’, but it looked cool as hell. The terry towelling, we’d later find out, would also come in serious hand.

There was just the matter of the bill. Their products aren’t cheap, which isn’t a problem since I’d rather pay for quality, but no one loves facing down a heavy hit to the account at the till. Here’s where AfterPay comes in.

I’m already a paid-up user of the Australian finance company. I talk myself into buying things I probably don’t need by quartering the upfront cost. Getting a new item for $25 feels a lot more justifiable than paying $100 in a single swoop.

In my limited understanding of economic theory, it actually does make sense to do this. Spreading out the cost of things to ensure payment is achievable and not going to financially cripple you in one go is the reason things like credit cards and mortgages exist. They’re useful, as long as you keep on top of them.

Image: Getty

We paired the Venroy shirt with a fresh pair of classic, white Reeboks, a tried and tested piece of footwear, and we were on our way. The shoes, it turned out, were a bad choice. Fresh white kicks, although also looking incredible, should definitely not be taken for their first spin in a field, particularly when Brisbane is going to hit you with one of its classic tropical showers. This is where the terry towelling became supremely useful as I was able to not only keep warm and dry but I kept my companion’s glasses smudge-free. I felt like Inspector Gadget.

I could use AfterPay at the festival too. This seemed slightly dangerous at first, but you couldn’t buy now and pay later on booze. We picked up Laneway stubby holders for our beers that sucked up the rest of our cash and bopped along to the tunes in the way that only a bunch of 30-year-olds surrounded by teenagers can do.

Image: Getty

The money wasn’t mine and, in that sense, I didn’t feel bad about spending it. Even if it was mine, I’d likely use AfterPay anyway to make those purchases. Being able to soften the blow of a number of upfront costs across multiple paydays is ideal.

I was however careful to consider how much I was spending and tried to calculate, if this was my cash, whether or not I’d feel comfortable going into that level of debt. The key here is not to get carried away with it and ensure you pay it off before making additional purchases.

This isn’t very ‘The Rock Show’ of me, but it turns out I’m far more fiscally conservative than the soundtrack of my youth would indicate. Still, it was great to be able to live just a smidge of that for a day.

Jack Revell was a guest of AfterPay.

Related: That’s Right the Wait Is Over — Afterpay Day Is Nearly Here Again

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