Rainbow has undergone significant changes over the last few years, especially when remembering it all started out as a psychedelic trance festival in a secluded paddock somewhere compared to how it has grown into the internationally recognised melting pot of music, art, dance, culture, and food that it is today.
Now with a diverse genre range of hundreds of artists over multiple stages that only continues to grow each year, one of the largest markets in Australia serving up amazing hand-made goods and a diverse menu of tasty bites and an overall amazing outdoor four-day experience, Rainbow is definitely one for punters to look forward to this summer, January 2020 here we come!
For a festival so huge it can be a little intimidating to navigate, especially for any newbies out there who just need a little push to take the bush-doof-dive, so ya pals at Forte have put together a little guide for you to take the edge off so all you gotta worry about is putting together that bangin outfit!
First things first, how we getting there? Bright pink limousine? Week-long desert pilgrimage? No dramas are necessary when it comes to making your arrival at the festival with more travel options than ever.
It’s around a two-hour drive from Melbourne and for any folks planning on taking your own car up, don’t forget to pinch a vehicle pass ($30) which you will need to present upon entry on the day.
Lord knows why you’d drive though with so many public transport options for an easier, greener, stress-free way to travel! Melbournians have the option of charter buses ($48) that take festival-goers to and from Fed Square and the festival. Folks a little further out can catch a V-line to Ballarat or Beaufort station and then hop on one of the free shuttle bus services running from there.
For something with a little more fun and festival vibes, the Banana Bus festival transport system is definitely the way to go with a heap of convenient pickup locations all around Melbourne from Footscray to Cranbourne and as a part of the service, each patron receives a complimentary festival survival pack that includes water, paw-paw cream, a Polaroid picture and more! Super cute! With the shuttles, keep in mind these services require bookings so get onto it sooner rather than later! If you haven’t bought your festival ticket yet, Melbourne charter bussers can grab a combo festival and charter ticket for cheaps.
In an effort to reduce drivers’ emissions, the festival is encouraging public transport options by prioritising bus travellers’ entry so you can avoid those pesky lines at the gate and by also giving you discounted festival ticket prices and a souvenir booklet! Suss out the website for more when, where and how deets.
What to bring
Alright, we know how to get there, now what the hell do we bring?? Well, you’ll be staying for four days, so first off is camping gear. Tent, mat, sleeping bag, check! You’ll also need to dress appropriately for the occasion. Pack your finest doof threads but also ensure you pack a hat, sunnies, water bottle and some sunscreen for the day, something warm to throw on top when it gets chilly at night and some swim gear for the pool party! Last but certainly not least, don’t forget to double-check you bring your ticket and your ID (I’m sure we’ve all been there frantically searching our bag to no avail – NEVER AGAIN).
If you’ve got the room, some extras worth taking would be some camp chairs so you and your mates can have a bit of a chill bev around the tent area, an esky for those bevs and YES you can bring your own drinks! Just ensure they’re in either cans or plastic bottles, any glass will be confiscated upon entry for safety reasons. But hey, bringing along your own tinnies sounds like a win-win to me! A little med-kit would also be a smart idea just in case you get that pesky little headache or do yourself a boo-boo.
Just don’t forget when you’re packing that the festival does have a small list of items banned for very obvious reasons so do a double-check and don’t pack anything silly, kiddos.
On to the good stuff!! So first and foremost, the music. With a history of presenting the freshest international acts (this year you’ll see the likes of Brazil’s Victor Ruiz, Olivier Giacomotto from France, Italy’s Edoardo Marvaso, Metronome reppin’ Sweden, and James Monro from the UK, among others), this year they’ve got over 60 domestic acts and are also bringing some traditional crowd favourites to the 2020. A highlight will be Infected Mushroom and Quirk, who appeared at the very first Rainbow 23 years ago and have reformed especially for next year’s festival, which is absolutely massive!
It’s a HUGE line-up, and it’s way too big to go through here so have a good little squiz on their page, but there’s a little something for everyone.
The bazaar is also an awesome time with a huge range of delicious food and drink, heaps of crafty bits and bobs from clothes to instruments and even services like massage therapies on offer.
‘The Village’ also functions as a communal space for festival-goers away from the stages and includes a huge range of interactive activities including yoga workshops, healing sessions, discussion panels, informative presentations, amazing art galleries, indigenous aboriginal ceremonies and workshops, kids activities, land art gardens and more!
One thing’s for sure, there will not be one dull moment for the entire 4 days you’re at rainbow so strap in for a big one!
Hopefully this guide helped you feel a little more organised! When the big day rocks around, stay safe and have fun out there, from the Forte team x
Rainbow Serpent goes down from January 24-27 2020. Tickets are currently on sale and available at rainbowserpent.net/
Written by Jess Sercombe