Rainbow Serpent announces a one-day party in the CBD and a multi-day festival over Easter surfaces in place of the festival in January
Rainbow Serpent Festival has long been one of the favourites on the calendar and since launching back in 1998 where it all started out as a psychedelic trance festival in a secluded paddock in Daylesford, it has grown into the internationally recognised melting pot of music, art, dance, culture, and food that it is today.
Last week, just two weeks out from its 2020 event, the festival decided to cancel its four-day experience because of Victoria’s bushfire crisis.
In a statement released via Facebook, a festival spokesperson said the decision was made after a meeting and site inspection with the CFA, Victoria Police, Forest Fire Management Victoria and Pyrenees Council staff.
“It hasn’t been an easy decision to know what is the right path forward – as much as we all love RSF, the health and safety of patrons and crew is our number one priority. This is key to any decisions made and of course, we always consider our impact and commitment to the land and the local community… Due to a number of safety concerns stemming from the fire that affected the site and the wider bushfire impacts across the country, it was agreed that holding RSF over the scheduled weekend in Lexton simply isn’t the right thing to do,” the statement says.
It’s unfortunate for the festival, but no one could have predicted the intensity of the fires we’ve witnessed around the country over the last two weeks, with nearly 30 million acres of land burned – much of it bushland, forests and national parks, home to the country’s beloved and unique wildlife, at least 27 people killed and more than 2,000 homes destroyed by the blazes. Lorne’s Falls Festival and NSW’s Lost Paradise were both cancelled in December due to bushfire threats. It’s been a sobering experience for us all.
But the good news for music lovers is Rainbow Serpent Festival 2020 will still go ahead, with festival organisers hosting not one, but two replacement festivals which aim to honour the gravity of the fires, assist the local community and give music lovers double the opportunity to celebrate the Rainbow Serpent spirit.
The first event will take place on Sunday, January 26 in Melbourne’s CBD, coinciding with the festival original dates of January 24–27. Named the Urban Edition, there will be multiple stages featuring artists from the original RSF lineup, including the likes of Infected Mushroom, Metronome, Tara Brooks, Freedom Fighters, The Librarian, Dekel, plus many more, with proceeds donated to aid the recovery of the recent bushfires around Victoria.
“We wanted to make the event in the city more than about us, there’s a lot of people hurting around the country and if we can gain some help for them from our own circumstance it’s an opportunity we couldn’t miss,” explains communications manager Loretta Agius.
“The music will be in true rainbow style,” she continues. “We’ve got as many of the international artists coming and some local artists as well from the original rainbow lineup. We’ll be announcing more artists in the coming days.”
Alongside the stellar lineup of artists, there will also be roaming performers and all the market bazaar culinary treats Rainbow Serpent regulars would be used to!
“While we’re in a different environment, we’re not going to be out in our trusty paddock, but we’re still looking at having as much of the Rainbow experiences that we possibly can.”
The second festival will be taking place in the original location over the Easter long weekend, April 10–14, promising a showcase of the best that Rainbow has to offer! Coined the Regen Edition, these are all the deets we have at the moment but stay tuned. What we do know is this event will be crucial for the rebuilding of the local communities that were directly impacted by the fires and boosting their local economy. Alongside Rainbow favourites, the festival will be hosting a number of community related events including tree planting, a community working bee and the delayed opening of the Servo@23 Arts Hub.
“We’re looking forward to being back on our Rainbow home in Lexton for our Regen Edition of RSF2020 over the Easter long weekend,” Loretta says. “It’ll be a more intimate affair, with changes to the formatting and layout to respect the land. It wouldn’t be Rainbow without music, with an array of international and local artists from the original line up on offer, along with a large amount of Arts and Village content.”
With Rainbow Serpent Festival long being a huge contributor to the Lexton community, bringing a diverse genre range of hundreds of artists over multiple stages for the past two decades, alongside one of the largest markets in Australia and an overall amazing outdoor four-day experience, the disruptive effects of this shift are far-reaching.
“The support that the local community has shown us, that the Rainbow community and the broader festival community as well has just being phenomenal,” Loretta explains. “The amount of love and respect that people have for Rainbow, it really is what’s keeping us going and making sure the team has the energy to do what we need to do. Just cancelling Rainbow was never an option, because we know it would just have detrimental impact on the local community there.”
“We have the most amazing crew, I’m really proud to be working with the Rainbow team,” Loretta continues. “At the drop of a hat they’ve just been able to produce what’s set to be not one, but two incredible events.”
It’s looking like a double Rainbow to remember.
The two events will be treated as Rainbow Serpent Festival 2020 with your tickets gaining entry to both. Ticket holders unable to attend one or both of the new events will be offered full and partial refunds while new tickets have been released for those now wanting to head along. You can find it all here.