When Rainbow Serpent was described to me, I was told by many it was ‘the burning man of Australia,’ and ‘the craziest colourful weekend of your life.’ Some said they simply couldn’t describe just how incredible it was, so safe to say I was expecting big things. It had entered its 21st year and had come a long way from an original ‘bush doof,’ to the world renowned festival it is today. With a huge line up of both local and international DJ’s covering an array of genres, I was looking forward to the weekend ahead.
As the sun rose onto a 38 degree day, we hit the road and set off into the blazing australian heat. After a 3 hour drive we finally arrived at Rainbow, driving up a dirt path and entering the festival, I was instantly hit with a mouthful dust, a wave of the maddest costumes dripping with psychedelic colour and a fuck load of glitter.
We set-up camp and it was time to get into our costumes, now I don’t like to mess about when it comes to glitter, sequins and mad colours, we had also made our own ‘doof’ hats to get into that rainbow spirit.
The opening concert was a force to be reckoned with, with Rainbow being a predominantly psy-trance festival, I must say I was very apprehensive. But there was something about the intense psychedelic light show, that was like nothing I had ever seen before. The sky and the people were covered in neon blues, purples, yellows and pinks. Performance artists with light up poi and fire sticks, created an atmosphere of pure electricity. It was a mystical underworld and the intense beats truly matched these beautiful colours. It was a sensory overload and I started to feel like maybe psy-trance wasn’t all too bad… Now for a strict Drum&Bass and House lover these were words I never even dreamt I would say.
Music wise, I was most looking forward to the sunday, as it was a debut Rainbow performance from ‘Thick as Thieves‘ ‘Brian Fantana.’ His set built up the crowd and most definitely washed away any hangovers anyone had, warming us all up with the Tech-House track ‘Storms’ by Nils Hoffman. It was a set that was skillful and insanely creative, incorporating a diverse range of Tech styles, classic tracks, (as well as even ending on a Michael Caine quote) it was a creative masterpiece that seemed to raise the crowd and the sunshine to its absolute highest. Brian is a DJ to watch, over the next year, I wished I had the opportunity to catch more of his sets whilst I was in Melbourne.
Of course what stood out to me as well, was Ed Solo and Benny Page’s set’s, Drum&Bass isn’t a popular thing in Australia but inside the tent I could see it was starting to make it’s stamp down under. People skanking away to some old school Jump-up and true Jungle classics. Having seen Ed Solo many times before I knew he always delivered sets that portrayed his true remixing skills of old school classics into his own funky new style. But Benny Page was on a whole new level of talent, a new lease of life came from the crowd, it was Jump-up mixing at its finest, and had to be one of the best Drum&Bass sets I had ever seen, the drops kept building and building and watching him mix was a real pleasure.
The true highlight of the festival had to be the people, a culture of love, unity and mutual understanding that everyone was there to enjoy the music, each other and the beautiful freedom of the festival. It felt at Rainbow anything goes, everyone and anyone was welcome and every person I met had their own unique sparkle. With constant shouts of ‘Happy Rainbow’ you couldn’t help but feel a part of something special.