Rainbow Serpent Festival [live review]

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Rainbow Serpent Festival [live review]

Lexton, Victoria, January 23-26
They say that if you can remember Woodstock, you weren’t there. The same could be said of Rainbow Serpent.
The End.
But seriously, the four-day festival so often becomes one big beautiful blur, a haze of red dust, sunshine, glitter, smiles, doof sticks, the smell of burning DMT, those bloody delicious pies from the nondescript vendor next to the pirate place (you’re welcome), and of course, the deliriously good tunes, that it’s hard to sum it up in words. Allow me the next 400 to have a crack.
For 18 years now Beaufort, and more recently Lexton, has played host to the finest bush doof in the country, and by all reports one of the best in the world.
The 2015 event sold out weeks in advance — a first — and little wonder with a lineup of this calibre. Your intrepid reporter is now too old for a four-day shindig, and so arrived on Saturday afternoon just in time for Thugfucker on the Market Stage (I was told Desert Dwellers rocked it Friday night though). To these surprised ears, both Thugfucker and his highness Lee Burridge were outdone by local boy Uone Saturday afternoon. His guns-blazing, adrenalising set was the sound of a man with a Monday closing slot in his sights. Keep that up and and you just might get there, son.
Fellow Melbournite Tornado Wallace followed up last year’s blistering set with another mix of unexpected delights that included everything from cackling kookaburras to curveball closer Discopolis, by Lifelike.
Damon Walsh was also excellent, after which point this old bag retired, only to be told by her horrible friends, repeatedly, that the rest of Saturday night was full of THE BEST TUNES WE’VE EVER HEARD AT RAINBOW!!!! It’s the perennial line of the forsaken stayer-upperer and/or consumer of excellent drugs, but in this case they were so persistent and vehement it might just be true, dammit. Jamie Stevens, Egbert and Steve Ward, take a bow.
On Sunday afternoon Boogs demonstrated why he’s ruled Revolver for the past million years, and Market Stage continued to spoil us with Super Flu, Petar Dundov and Marcel Dettman in succession. Dang.
After making the mistake of going home before Mad Monday the first time I went to Rainbow, I’ll never do it again. It’s the craziest, loosest, funnest day — when prevalence and outrageousness of costumes goes up by 1000 per cent (French man with baguette accessory, best on ground, sir), and when, after three days of partying, faces start to melt at the same rate as any remaining inhibition.
This year’s was no exception, with Son Kite, Pole Folder, and Dutch closers 16 bit lolitas all turning in wonderful sets. The latter in particular are to be commended for their crowd-pleasing romp. If some of the tracks were a little obvious and/or overplayed (Primitive People, Blue Monday) they were always unimpeachably danceable, turning Market Stage into a heaving mass of unchecked reverie that had to be seen to be believed.
I could talk about the psytrance so good it made a convert of this non-believer, the rejuvenating arts and lifestyle aspect of the festival, the hilltop sunsets, the renegade afterparties that dotted around the grounds and the brilliance of the Lexton Community BBQ, but alas, I’ve hit my word limit. Suffice it to say that Rainbow Serpent remains the most colourful, unique, spirit-nourishing festival on the Australian party calendar.
By Annabel Ross, Photo by Spinferno