At a festival recently, some friends decided to encourage a whole tent of people to take their clothes off on the Saturday night and then prowl around the site like wild animals, surprising unsuspecting revellers and, in one case, finding the “most serious person in the festival” and gently inviting him to join them in their nudity. Which, encouraged by this beautiful band of nighttime nudists, he eventually did (with a great sense of release according to his recounting on this Facebook post).
What makes this tale extra special, in my opinion, is that the festival they were at – Into the Wild near Lewes – was a conscious festival – in other words, completely drug and alcohol free, and so none of those encouraged to shed their layers and unleash their wild natural bodies did so needing Dutch Courage or chemicals.
Now I don’t think there’s anything inherently transgressive about taking your clothes off (after all, we do it every day of our lives), but the fact of the matter is that we live in a society where nudity in public is still seen as the Original Sin, something still quite shocking and taboo, despite most of us leading predominantly secular lives.
This was apparent in the nervous excitement around the launch of Bunyadi, London’s first naked restaurant, which had a huge amount of press attention for its pop-up this Summer and ended up with 46,000 people on its waiting list. For me and my bunch of hot-tub-friendly hippie friends, getting naked in a restaurant together wasn’t too challenging. In fact, with the extremely low lighting and mostly concealed booths, some of us were almost disappointed by the tameness of the experience (although the food was amazing!)