Entering my plastic domain.
While they make it look glamorous and whimsical, the reality is that being an Insomniac performer is hard work. The small army of clowns, monkeys, owls, and other fantastical and often glittery characters you see roaming the festivals spend hours in hair, makeup and costuming before heading into the crowd to interact with thousands of fans and bring an extra element of magic to the event.
At EDC Orlando, I stepped into a giant, green, inflatable bobo outfit—an alien-like costume created just for Insomniac—in an effort to experience the festival from a performer’s perspective. It was disorienting. It was exhilarating. It was sweaty. Here’s what I learned.
My view from inside.
Your Senses Are Compromised
It is difficult to see much beyond the confines of the inflatable plastic enclosure in which I currently reside. Through the small screen in the costume, the world is a blur of sparkly bras and booty shorts. The level of screaming in my general vicinity gives me the impression that people are excited to be in the presence of the bobo, but it’s hard to be sure since I can’t really see anything. “What in the hell is that?” more than one person shouts as I toddle by. My feet are strapped to the bottom of the costume, and walking must be done slowly, carefully, and in baby steps. I trip more than once. As I have been instructed not to speak (the bobo has no mouth—just one large, unblinking eye), I am interacting with people solely by wiggling the costume around. My interpersonal communication skills have never before been so reliant on bouncing up and down.
Inside the costume selfie.
Strangers Touch You
Being inside this costume gives me a roughly 10-inch bubble of personal space, but a lot of people are touching the costume, and thus it kind of feels like they’re touching me, too. And not just touching, but humping, groping and grinding on. I suspect that because this costume is a genderless, non-human entity with no discernable emotions, people instinctively feel they can engage in semi-lewd behavior that they would never display toward an actual person they don’t know. With the bobo, though, anything goes. No one makes any actual physical contact with my body, but it’s slightly startling every time a hand or booty slaps against the plastic separating me from the general public.
My new friends!
Selfies, So Many Selfies
This must be what it’s like to be Skrillex or Barack Obama or whatever, because everyone wants to take have their picture taken with me right now. Girls in tutus and guys in superhero costumes gather round me for group photos—or at least I suspect that’s what’s going on. Like I said, I really can’t see anything. Despite the fact that no one knows who the hell is inside this outfit, I feel kind of popular. And despite the fact that I am definitely dressed like a giant green phallus, I feel pretty cool. And despite the fact that no one can see me, I smile for every single photo.
Roaming EDC Orlando
Hot, so Hot in Herre
I’ve got a bottle of water in my pocket, but my hands are occupied with holding the costume upright, and I can’t really let go to take a drink. Between the heat of the sun and all the energy I’m exerting walking around with this on (it isn’t heavy, but it’s cumbersome), it’s getting warm in here. By the time I emerge from the bobo like a newborn from the womb, I am glistening with sweat. As it turns out, wearing this thing is not just wacky fun, it’s also a great workout.
Returning to performer headquarters.
Inside, It’s a Party for One
Ultimately, being a bobo is enjoyable and fairly easy. My job is solely to wander around the festival, stop to let people take photos with me, and make loads of people exceedingly happy in the process. I don’t even have to speak or display any spark of personality, and the crowd still loves me. It’s like being on the easiest first date ever. As the bobo, I am both on display and completely anonymous. This is an interesting way to experience the world—sort of like wearing Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, if the cloak were large and green and plastic and the opposite of invisible. It’s poetic, really. At an event where everyone feels inspired to express their true identities, here I am in a giant, green, inflatable bobo costume, feeling completely myself.