Dates: 24th - 27th January 2020
Location: Victoria, Australia
What started out as a psytrance festival nearly twenty years ago has evolved into an enormous celebration of music and art, expanding its audience as well as its composition to encompass a wider array of entertaining and educational entertainment, showcasing both local and international talent. Held annually on Australia Day, it encourages a strong community spirit and engagement with the environment.
Rainbow Serpent Festival takes its name from an ancient Aboriginal deity common to many tribes – the rainbow snake, or serpent, represented repeatedly in rock art and oral tradition throughout Aboriginal mythology, with some variations. A Dreamtime story (tales from the creation period), the rainbow serpent is meant to symbolise the source, and the cycle, of life, as well as our relationship with the earth. This symbology is particularly poignant to the ethos upheld by the creators and attendees of the festival, and all are urged to nurture a more respectful understanding of our place in the world.
Although the music variety mainly features electronic music, there are a number of stages to choose from, including different tempos and genres within the electronic music spectrum, as well as a few different genres. The Main Stage plays for 20 hours; Saturday night to Sunday afternoon, and sees some of the main headlines; though not exclusively. The Market Stage might present anything from glitch hope to ambient to tech house, and runs continuously throughout the entire festival. For more niche acts, the Sunset Stage is there, and the Playground Stage, which enjoys live music – jazz, hip-hop, dub, reggae, cumbia, electro swing and more. And finally, the Chillout Stage, which also runs continuously, and is rather more self-explanatory.
There is a widespread appreciation of the arts – huge installations, not to mention the set up of the venues themselves, reflect the creativity and imaginative freedom fostered in the collective festival mentality. This reverberates down to the outfits and costumes of the festivalgoers – a marvellously liberal opportunity for expression. The Village, a wonderful space tuned towards informing and inspiring, presents workshops, lectures, art, permaculture education, massage and healing – and masses more. You can also take part in yoga and dance classes, learn more about meditation and plant healing, or, if you’ve come with your children, explore the various kids’ activities on offer.
The Bazaar is where you’ll find a spot of festival retail therapy – all ethical, sustainable and conscientious produce, of course – plus food and drink to suit both your nutritional and sensory pleasure. An eco-conscience is, as we have outlined above, imperative, and the environmental initiatives such as Create No Waste offer clear guidelines on how to dispose of rubbish and recycle conscientiously – during the festival and always.
As always, we would urge you to take care of yourself during the festival – though we can’t currently be there to supply you with superlative accommodation, we can remind you that having somewhere comfortable to rest might make all the difference to your weekend. You can hire yurts or teepees if you book ahead of time, but if you’re bringing your own kit, they recommend you also bring a tarp and anything else to make shade – there are few trees on site and the weather can reach all sorts of extremes.