Turning 21 is a huge milestone for people but for festivals it’s almost unheard of. Celebrating 21 years this year is Earthcore, Australia’s pioneering outdoor, music, arts, culture and lifestyle experience. Since their first event in 1993, atop a cleared mountain with a couple hundred people in attendance, the festival has grown into the thousands. Now a month away from this years show, the festival is coming up to the busiest time of year for the team and festival director/founder Spiro Boursine.
“This is when it really gets exciting,” Spiro says. “The buzz on social media and around town is reaching astronomical levels as we count down to our trip to Ancient Future Past. This haze of chaos drives me to get the best out of all those involved and capitalise on months and months of hard work.”
Each year the lead up to this moment is much the same, the Earthcore team seek out the most innovative and beneficial ideas for their punters.
“When Earthcore started there was nothing else like it. It has been spoken about before many times but I guess it helps put things into perspective. With each event and each year we have come up with ideas and concepts that from the outset seem way beyond our wildest imaginations but have delivered these crazy ideas and turned them into reality,” he says.
“Some of the artists we took a punt on have since become the biggest names in music. Some of the stages, events and shows are still talked about today as some of the best that have ever been. We’re not in this game for rewards but we can be happy in what we have achieved.”
And they certainly should be happy in what they’ve achieved, as there have been some surreal and memorable moments along the 21 years. When faced with the question Spiro looks on to an event that will probably never happen again.
“The most epic crazy moment of all time is when Infected Mushroom were playing the main floor at sunrise and there was a pause in their music. At the same time a lightning bolt came down from the sky and hit just behind where they were performing, priceless!” Spiro says.
While there’s been amazing moments there have also been some hurdles, and Earthcore have managed to overcome every single one of them.
“It is impossible to combat every obstacle but with a solid team and foundation behind us, we roll with the punches and move on,” he says before quickly adding, “Giving up isn’t an option.”
This mindset keeps the festival at the top of their game, but a strong factor for their popularity is also their ability to continually evolve. Put simply the team are constantly looking for ways to make their audiences experiences the best they could possibly be.
“Besides a few key details, Earthcore has always moved and changed. Not following trends but more so projecting new ideas and creating an experience that blows people’s minds through creativity and just the right amount of madness,” Spiro says.
“Take this year for example, alongside some of the biggest and most creative stage designs and musical programs on offer we have included an abundance of social experiences for people to take part in. Performers, presenters, markets, movies, the list goes on. This is a fully interactive life experience which will hopefully excite the imagination and enjoyment from all those who attend.”
And of course it wouldn’t be a successful festival without a perfectly tailored line up with acts that can more than deliver on the day. Highlights are the two headliners Hallucinogen and Shpongle, but there are a wealth of others worth sussing out, if not just to make the time spent finding them all worth it.
“The researching, planning, wheeling and dealing honestly feels like I’m trying to recruit for an NBA club or something along those lines. It’s all about getting the best players to help guide you to victory, which in our case is towards an amazing event,” he says.
“There is a reason that artists like Shpongle, Astrix, Boris Brejcha and others are the huge stars they are. They deliver amazing shows that defy genres and turn the place on its head. We also give a huge backing for the new breed of producers and DJs whose passion will see them become the stars of the future. Quality acts that push boundaries and maintain professionalism and drive are the key.”
For those who have never been before the festival may seem like a daunting experience. On a large scale and over five days, it could seem like a bit too much to take on. This may be true for any other festival, but Earthcore stands out from the norm.
As Spiro tells me, at Earthcore the punters actually look out for each other and many often become friends. All that’s left of you really is to do your usual festival prep and enjoy the days when you get there.
“The festival experience is all about taking the time to be prepared and sharing the time with your mates, both new and old,” Spiro says. “Stay safe, let your hair down, party hard, we’ll still respect you in the morning.”
While it’s good to read up on the festival and prepare for the lead up, it’s wise to think of the aftermath too. There is such a thing as the festival hangover after all, but it is more than worth it.
“Don’t kid yourself. You will not be at work on the Monday,” he says.
When&Where: Pyalong – November 27 – December 1
By Amanda Sherring, Photos by James Gillot