Smoothing on body paint, ritualistic shaving of various body parts, selecting a crushed velvet pimp suit or favourite furry animal costume to wear while summoning the mental strength required to skip showering for several days.  There are many ways to ready yourself for Psyfari but none of them can prepare you.

The first rule of Psyfari is when you see the tanned, near-naked 50something year old man in the fluffy red nappy wearing the Santa hat and nothing else, don’t panic, he’s real.  No wait, panic because he’s the least of your problems when it comes to distinguishing reality from a Psyfari-induced breakdown.  Against an audio backdrop of folk blues at a little wayside stage opposite the food stalls you’ll encounter free-spirited men and women doing free-spirited things as they meander up makeshift paths towards larger stages and louder beats.  Pick your way past a cornucopia of hanging art, quasi-ceremonial rock mounds and benign but happy smiles until you stand above the dance pit, deep in the Valley of Bass almost 100km from Lithgow and light years from reality.  These are but a few of the choices available to you.

Monolithic speaker stacks rise from the dusty floor of a natural amphitheatre, hewn from the rocky terrain by Mother Nature in her most revealing, sparkly, hot pants and knee-high lace up Chuck Taylors.  But the BASS. Oooh the bass: the ceaseless assault on the senses that gathers momentum towards the climax of each DJ set followed by a mind-numbing denouement, a lull and then the ominous rhythmic surge of yet more decibels massing along the borders of Psyfari.

If all this sounds as if your columnist was partaking in a range of mind-altering substances, keep in mind the heady combination of unbridled freedom in its purest form, the wonder of Australia’s rural stage and ceaseless sunshine arm-wrestling, bracing nights is nothing short of intoxicating.

A long slow drive back through Lithgow, Kurrajong and eventually Windsor allow for a gradual decompression: nothing like plunging back into Sydney’s George street nightlife to bring on a severe case of the societal “Bends”.

Psyfari seems like a dream now with vignettes from the weekend’s adventures drifting back whenever a familiar visual cue reminds me of our time there… I can’t imagine not thinking of that great festival every time I’m eating tim-tams while the tanned, near-naked 50 something year old man in the fluffy red nappy wearing the Santa hat and nothing else… see you next year, weird dude.