The bush doof history now spans three decades and has cemented itself in the Australia’s vibrant outdoor music festival culture. But what exactly is a bush doof, and which ones are worth attending? We give you the lowdown on everything to do with bush doofs in Australia.
What exactly is a bush doof?
A bush doof is an outdoor music festival, rave or psychedelic party held in the outbacks of surrounded by the natural beauty of Australia. These parties are often held outside the proximity of Australia’s larger cities. The music played at a bush doof will primarily include electronic genres such as psytrance, bush prog, techno, dub and drum & bass.
How did bush doofs start?
During the 1990’s the free dance party movement started, with intimate gatherings taking place in warehouse and outdoor locations near Sydney. As these dance parties become more popular and attendance numbers increased, organizers felt the pressure from authorities to move to more remote locations in the outbacks. A number of larger festivals started to take place like earthcore.
Why the name bush doof?
The name bush doof derives from the style of music played at the parties. The Australian slang term was first used in 1994 at the EBOM warehouse (in Sydney) by Sebastian Chan and the ‘Non Bossy Posse’. These parties also happening quite literally in the bush, making it a fitting name for the experience.
Why do people attend bush doofs?
Although mainstream music festivals can be a positive experience, bush doofs provide a unique environment that makes them a bit different. Besides the music, bush doofs include art installations, workshops, beautiful outback locations and more. Attendees of bush doofs are generally enthusiastic, quite laid back and inviting.
What are the best bush doofs in Australia?
While a number of Australian bush doofs have become non-existent over the years, in general they are more popular, and during the summer season there are dozens to choose from. Here’s a selection of just a few.
Rainbow Serpent has been hosting festivals for over two decades and now brings a crowd of over 10,000 during the four day experience. Taking place in Beaufort, Victoria – a two hour drive from Melbourne, you’ll witness a plethora of local and international music from some of the best psychedelic and techno artists.
Mushroom Valley is more then just a party – it’s a community, a place where you can grow, learn and connect with other like minded people. A place where you can come and be revitalised and re-energised to go out and take on the “real” world.
Dragon Dreaming Festival
From the creators of Mushroom Valley, Dragon Dreaming is a four day festival in October with an aim on local artists, DJs and live bands while providing entertainment for the whole family, no matter what age. Their extensive music curation covers live bands, gypsy, dub, tribal rhythms, psytrance, breaks, dubstep, glitch, progressive, ambient, house, and reggae.
Rabbit Eats Lettuce
Rabbit Eats Lettuce takes place over the Easter weekend and is a four day festival on a 3000 acre private valley surrounded by Sandstone cliffs near Byron Bay, New South Whales. There’s two dance dances and a live / band stage.
Bohemian Beatfreaks is put together by the same team as Rabbit Eats Lettuice above. Aside from music, the festival also features a vibrant market village with healthy food and drink options & a social bar with quality craft beers and cocktails. There’s a late night cinema, tea lounge and chill space with daily yoga classes & workshops. Dressing up is encouraged too, with a theme every day.
Happy Daze is an outdoor music festival located in the hinterland behind the Whitsunday’s, between Airlie Beach and Mackay, QLD. The weekend long festival aims for a diverse range of genres. On the Friday night it will be a funk, glitch and drum and bass session then Saturday night your more traditional techno, progressive and psytrance.
A newer 3 day electronic music event now in its 3rd edition. This year Wild Horses will be a permitted event with 1000 people capacity. The festival takes place in Lake Mountain, Victoria – a two hour drive from Sydney.
Elements is a long-established part of Australia’s musical ecosystem, with a healthy crop of festivals and day parties sprouting all year-round. We are known for scouting unusual locations, from secret rooftops to hidden, inner-city gardens and secluded bushland properties.
Strawberry Fields is a 10 year old festival of art, sound and creative expression. It’s held a few hours outside of Melbourne. Although there’s no psychedelic music at this festival, it’s been highly rated world-wide.
Earthcore was the first large commercial bush doof with attendance numbers topping 10 000 in the early 2000’s. After a 5 year hiatus the festival returned to win skeptics back over. In October 2018, festival founder Spiro Boursine was found dead at a bar after an altercation, a month before earthcore is set to take place. The future of the shaky festival is unknown.