Earthcore Festival (Australia) – Exclusive Interview

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While we edge closer to 2015 an epic Bush Doof will be taking place downunder in Australia on 27th Nov - 01 Dec as earthcore celebrate their 21st anniversary

While we edge closer to 2015 an epic Bush Doof will be taking place downunder in Australia on 27th Nov – 01 Dec as earthcore celebrate their 21st anniversary with 1200 MicogramsAce Ventura, ChicagoD-Nox & BeckersGMS, Liquid SoulRaja Ram, RitmoShpongleTiconZen Mechanics and more. Earlier this week we made some changes to our festival bucketlist, including earthcore among some of the best. We decided to chat with their team, to discuss how things are done in Oz, their re-emergence in 2013, and what’s in store for this year’s edition of earthcore.

Psymedia : Hi! To begin, tell me about how you came across psychedelic trance? What inspired you about the scene to eventually form earthcore?

earthcore : Once upon a time… electronic music festivals didn’t happen in the bush.  There was no such thing.  We entered the story somewhere just after “Once upon a time”.  When earthcore was started we’d become slightly disenchanted by the underground warehouse rave scene that was growing at an exponential rate in the city and wanted to do something a little bit different.  It was shortly after this time that the Aussie term “Bush Doof” was born!  Music from all over the world was slowly finding its way to Australia and some like-minded souls decided to take the flavours that inspired them to the bush for some auditory mayhem and good times.  Psychedelic trance has underpinned and inspired earthcore from its creation as a small gathering to the world class festival that it is today.

Psymedia : In 2013 earthcore re-emerged in the scene for the 20 year anniversary. Why did you feel it was the right time?

earthcore : The break happened because we felt like taking a holiday and going for an extended fishing trip. The 20 year celebration was the opportune time to put on something special!

Psymedia : How did the landscape of the scene change during your time away? How did this help you recreate a better festival?

earthcore : The scene is always changing and that will always be the case.  The options are you can either conform and let the system control you or alternatively you can create your own path on which to travel.  earthcore has always ensured continuing success.  Creating a better festival comes with experience, knowledge and having the balls to take a chance to achieve what you want.

Psymedia : What challenges did you face re-emerging in 2013? What changes did you have to make to your organizing, festival outlook, etc?

earthcore : One thing in particular that we noticed was there was now many more outdoor open air festivals and the evolution of the outdoor festival circuit.  Also the addition of mainstream social media was now connected with just about everyone, this was really a game changer on the marketing side of things because never before was everyone so connected in real-time.  The demand for new, crazy and exciting content published multiple times daily was a transition that took some getting used to but we’re proud to say we think we’ve really nailed it this year.  Another change in the industry when we returned was that no longer were the venues so hidden and the punters driving with dyslexic directions on late printed flyers, the inevitable getting lost, stalling on quiet dirt roads, windows wound down, straining to hear a telltale…folklore now…But that was how it began.  In terms of the actual festival itself, we didn’t need to make many major changes for earthcore to adapt to the modern times, we continued doing what we do best and that is delivering awesome music, arts and wildly unique experiences for all earthcorians.

Psymedia : This year earthcore boasts 5 different stages. Could you give me a rundown of the stages and what makes each of them special?

earthcore : This year we have a crazy amount of stages featuring talent from all over the world and honestly, we don’t think we could have even fit everyone in unless we had this many stages the lineup is simply enormous in 2014! That stages this year are:

The Monster Mainfloor – the mainfloor looms over the plains, with spellbinding infrastructure, encompassing decor, sweeping lasers and lighting arrays, and of course the largest sound system on site.  When you need your entire body rocked to its core, turn to the rolling thunder of the monster main floor.  We have everything here from psytrance and dark techno to funky glitched out sounds!

Hydra Stage – out of a mythical fable, this two-headed beast of a stage breathes out gusts of psychedelic trance fury.  Arguably earthcore’s most loved stage, you won’t find people dancing harder for longer and with more uplifting spirit than at Hydra. A force to be reckoned with. Buckle up.

Kinky Karnival – what’s a festival without a touch of the carnival? The sights, antics and delicious sound stylings of multiple DJs and producers coming together under the big top roof. This zone has a touch of the theatrical, the flourish of the circus and the random designs of Kinky Chaos. There is a something for everyone in this wild arena ranging from psy & techno to glitch & tech house.  Forget the rules, expect the unexpected, come in and get lost!

Future Perfect Renegade Floor  – this is a stage we are evolving this year into something much bigger. This custom-built double decker shipping container stage with the bar at the bottom and DJ blasting out tunes from the top will astonish and amaze! The Future is now and this is where it’s housed.  See and hear the new crop as they perform on the big stage at earthcore.

Yellow Sunshine Chillout Stage – a new addition to earthcore this year, as a soothing counterpoint to the cut and thrust of the other dance zones, tucked away amidst the elemental planet water space.  Downtempo rhythms and smooth architectural soundscapes from select artists, DJs and producers from all over the world. Lush performance, gentle lighting in comfortable surrounds. Chill is as chill says; the ultimate area defined by its name.

Psymedia : What are some of the other festival highlights at earthcore besides the music?

earthcore : The District 13 Theme Camp Zone. For crazy campers and dastardly designers, enigmatic engineers with spectacular theatrics, roving performance and raving lunatics; come all ye Theme-sters, we call you to arms: earthcore has gone all out to initiate the inaugural District 13 Theme Camp Zone.  This year some of our theme camps have their own renegade stages as well from Aztec themed renegade stages to post-apocalyptic western themed camps.  The only way to survive District 13 is to embrace the madness !

Swordcraft – Another new addition to this year’s festival. Everyone loves a bit of Cosplay! Imagine a few hundred people equipped in medieval gear having a epic fantasy battle up on the hills whilst you happen to be camped below? Imagine having the opportunity to join the fray if it fancies you? Swordcraft is a competitive live action battle game, where players fight with realistic looking foam weapons to achieve computer game style objectives.

Muffplex – A wonderful and glorious four-day long selection of cult classics, strange cinema and amazing local Indy movie and cinema gems. All curated and programmed by Richard Wolstencroft and The Melbourne Underground Film Festival. Check it out!

Elemental Planet – If ancient and future were to collide, wouldn’t you want somewhere gentle, replenishing and nurturing to put the pieces back together? If the main stages is the impact zone then the Elemental Planet is the epicentre of renewal. Consisting of five distinct zones, the Elemental Planet offers an experience for each core element.

The Bizarre of Earthly Desires – Bring on the outfitters of the festival fashionista. The suppliers and merchants with the colour, fanfare and glitterati to stave off a new generation of wardrobe crisis.  Clothing, accessories and sundries. The Market of Earthly Desires a Bedouin Bazaar of hawking heaven.

Fractured Reality Artzone – Sometimes you need your reality pared back a bit. A few distortions don’t go astray, a disjuncture here and there, a couple of fissures, a crack or two, a bent lens, broken bubble, a fold in reality. What better than the ultimate whacked out uber-gallery? The Fractured Reality Art Zone runs from the Thursday through to the Sunday of earthcore. A timeline vortex featuring international artist showcases that will split your cerebral cortex; leave you squinting and tilting your head 15 degrees to the left in a vain search for perspective.

Psymedia : In 2015 an independent documentary will be released detailing the behind-the-scenes of earthcore. You’ve mentioned there will be no input from your side. Why was this an important element? What might we see in the documentary?

earthcore : The project is not something that was initiated by earthcore. The crew involved came to us and put the proposition to us to shoot an expose. There is input in the documentary as we have had interviews done and a lot of the process of setting up and running the festival has been filmed. What we don’t have is any creative control. This is a no holds barred look at the earthcore world and what it digs up and what makes it into the documentary is completely up to the crew shooting it. It should make for an interesting insight into what goes on behind the scene, that’s for sure.

Psymedia : What makes an Australian bush doof special in comparison to other open air festivals in the world?

earthcore : Having experienced many of the festivals overseas like Boom Festival, OZORA Festival, Burning Man, SUN, Vortex, Psy-Fi, Tree of Life and many others for ourselves during the winter downunder, there are definitely some very unique qualities that you will only find in Australian bush doofs without a doubt.  For starters you would notice that the festivals here are shorten to 3-5 days normally, it’s rare to see a festival that would go for 7-14 days here, however, this doesn’t make it any less wild by any means. Australians also adopt a heavy car culture as well so everyone brings their cars and camps next to them unlike the rest of the world where in some cases over half of the festival arrive by public transport because it’s easy to do so.  Why mention the car culture? Well when everyone brings a car they also bring it packed full of stuff for the occasion! Fans arrive with everything ranging from way out there costumes, camp site décor, props and even on occasion motorized furniture & eskys to transport new friends across the festival grounds.  The fact that everyone brings half of their house & belongings with them offers some interesting sights and entertainment to say the least!

Some of these items that guests bring with them cement memories that can never ever be unwoven from the visual cortex of your brain. The music style at the bush doofs here is also slightly different, of course you get your thumping psy & goa trance but we also love our funky and tripped out music as well like glitch, psybient and on occasion tech house.  The dancing on the dancefloor is a different style to what you see overseas with the long evolution of the Melbourne Shuffle which seemed to make its way into the open air festivals here as well for the better. Finally there is something about the thrill and adventure of diving head first into the Aussie forests & outback that is not the same anywhere else, maybe it’s the fact that almost every animal, drop bear and insect wants to eat you and it feels like an Indiana Jones adventure or maybe it’s the thrill of being somewhere completely foreign to the norm. If you haven’t experienced this for yourself then throw it down on your bucketlist so that you can see for yourself!

Psymedia : What are some of the biggest barriers to hosting outdoor events in Australia?

earthcore : In this day and age there is a lot of red tape to go through to get approval and permits etc to run a large scale event. Events that have been run without permits or those that have had trouble with the law have made the process a lot harder for everybody else. The media has jumped on any of these stories and sensationalized the negatives when realistically, if everything is done correctly and within the law, the process is actually quite positive for the towns or areas these festivals are held with a considerable amount of money pumped into their local economy. Being prepared and responsible is the key.

Psymedia : For those that want to visit, what are the best months for outdoor festivals in Australia?

earthcore : Events are held in the Aussie bush all through the year with quite a few over the warmer months but earthcore being set at the end of November is a perfect time when the grass is still green, the weather is warm but the scorching summer sun hasn’t quite hit. It’s impossible to predict the weather and we have had our share of wild conditions but over its history, the weather has predominantly been amazing for the doof experience.

Psymedia : Thanks for the interview, we hope to see you at earthcore next year! Anything to add before we finish off?

earthcore : Yes we’d like to thank Psymedia for reaching out to us, it’s always good to have a good chat with like-minded festival enthusiasts!  Some great unique questions here we really enjoyed getting involved.  We hope to see Psymedia at earthcore in 2015. Drop us a line if you are going to be in Australia and we’ll look after you as one of our own, J!


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