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Monday, August 8, 2011

The Oasis at Pickathon

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Mon, Aug 8, 2011 at 10:06 AM

It's an understandable assumption that when you're camping you just have to accept that you're going to be kind of a dirt dog. However, if you stay over at Pickathon, this does not have to be true. I went for the first time last summer, and although I was aware that there were supposedly showers around somewhere, I didn't bother; it was only one night. This year I camped out both Friday and Saturday nights, and fully planned to take advantage of every comfort offered, but all I was expecting was a crude spicket, cold water, a lack of privacy, and mud. To my surprise, Pickathon not only had hot (clean, private-ish) showers, it had a sauna, massage, and acupuncture. The entity responsible for all this is the aptly named The Oasis, a portable bathhouse service that sets up its gypsy caravan of red tents and oriental rugs at festivals around the region.

Taken from outside, because there were too many naked people inside.
  • Taken from outside, because there were too many naked people inside.

A hot shower cost $6 with provided Dr. Bronner's (lavender) and if you didn't have one you could rent a towel for $3. Using a combination of solar, wood-fired, and propane heating techniques, the water never ran cold, and was a little slice of heaven even at five minutes or less, standing on a clean wood platform with the gauzy pseudo-privacy of curtain dividers and the big sky above. Outside was a big, real sink with a gilded mirror.

The sauna is in a converted Airstream "Land Yacht" circa '68. Co-ed and clothing optional, it's dim and cedar-lined with an often attended-to wood burning stove, and has an anteroom for breaks and drinking water and if you followed a trail of mats a ways behind the trailer you'd find a shower head for cold ablutions. Sauna use (no time limit as far as I could tell) was also $6, but each morning I did what any sensible person would, and went for the shower/sauna $10 combo.

The real treat was the massage I had on Saturday. Rates for massage and acupuncture were perfectly reasonable at $30/half hour and $55/hour, so I made an appointment with Susanna Low-Beer, who did a fabulous job. By the time any of the bands I was interested in started playing I was clean and relaxed. This is the fourth year that The Oasis has been part of Pickathon, and I hope they continue. I certainly will not skip them at the festival again.

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