Bush doofs, AKA large outdoor parties with electronic music held in remote locations, are literally more quintessentially Australian than throwing another shrimp on the barbie. We can confidently bet that more Aussies have had a stomp at a bush doof than those who have actually tried BBQ shrimp, and there is a good reason why. Doofs have surfaced from the underground since the decline of many Australian one-day festivals, (including Big Day Out, Parklife and Harvest). Since these festivals began to have their final days, the rise of weekend-long hedonistic festivals started to rise. There are more doofs around the country than ever before.. The founding father of all of these festivals is the legendary Earthcore.
For over two decades, people have gathered from all walks of life and locations to come together amongst the rolling hills of the Aussie bush to let their hair down and lose their marbles for a few days. Tens of thousands every year are transported to intergalactic playgrounds of alternate dimensions. Earthcore is not a weekend for the faint hearted. Here’s how to survive.
Earthcore is located in Pyalong, a little less than an hour and a half from Melbourne’s CBD. It’s not a very long drive but there are a few places that can’t be missed along the way. As you’re venturing through the Northern suburbs of the city, stop off at Queen Victoria Market on your way out. Covering over 8 hectares, the market is an icon of Melbourne and is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere. Pick up some of the city’s freshest healthy produce for the weekend, or try a taste of delicious treats and deli delights. The market is the best place for purchasing souvenirs and keepsakes such as arts and crafts, authentic wool ugg boots or even Australia opals.
Get a big, hearty breakfast from Naked For Satan in the funky Fitzroy before you start the journey to your huge weekend. Naked For Satan is a favourite for Melburnians with an open terrace and beautiful view of the city skyline.
Stop off at every Melbourne hipsters go-to clothing store, the second-hand Savers to find yourself the most fun, colourful and cosy clothing you can spot in the huge warehouse at prices that are cheap-as-chips and you will be ready to be on your way.
What To Bring
As all other days in Melbourne, no matter what time of the year it is, you won’t be able to predict the weather perfectly, so be prepared for any kind. A poncho is the go-to costume of Earthcore, because it’s comfy, cosy, warm and colourful, and it doesn’t really matter that it’s going to get extremely grubby.
You will see more ponchos than you could at a Mexican Fiesta so we’d recommend saving yourself the effort of changing into a fresh outfit so that you have more time for dancing and simply throw on a poncho. Bring a hat, sunscreen and plenty of water. There are water stations around the main areas for you to rehydrate so don’t forget to fill up!
Definitely bring rubbish bags. Earthcore is a great weekend but the rubbish left around by festival-goers is the biggest downfall. So do your bit and help your neighbours do their bit too by sharing around bags to dispose of all of your junk. There are also portable ashtrays that you can pick up from the festival staff so if you’re likely to be a butt dropper then please drop your butts in one of these rather than the ground.
The days are hot and sometimes it can feel like there is no escape from that big old hole in the Australian ozone layer, so it’s best to bring some sort of gazebo that you can chill under when you want a break from the heat.
The atmosphere of the weekend resembles that of a treetop circus show and so it will be hard to not get carried away with your environment. But the rolling hills and dry heat take a lot out of you so try to remember to save some energy by not going too hard on the very first night! The camping ground and stage areas are surrounded by a more than average incline in some places so be easy on your legs.
Where To Go
Earthcore is more than just techno and psytrance. It’s a special festival that appreciates alternative art forms and non-traditional styles of artistic brilliance. Visit the Fractured Reality Art Zone, an area dedicated to works that aim to ‘split your cerebral cortex’ and influence you to question the traditional elements of reality and perspective. This art area features visionary talents from Australia and around the world so is not to be missed.
Kinky Karnival not only features some of the wildest music with the highest BPM figures that your ears may have ever heard, but is home to very interesting characters and performers who will be spinning, twisting and bending in ways you might not have thought imaginable. Head to the Jungle Stage in the day for disco and fruity beats and be taken away to what feels like an army base of the Amazon rainforest, and be sure to stop by the many theme camps, market stalls, and art installations on the way.
Over the weekend, there are also workshops and guest speakers to teach you to open your mind in ways that you never have before and make you leave the festival with new outlooks on life that you would have least expected.
Be sure to join the tens of thousands of keen party-goers stomping at the main stage each evening to some of the most talented, hectic and technical DJs as they present to you some of the best sets you will hear on some of the most epic stage architecture you will ever see.
After a weekend of head-banging techno and psychedelic psytrance, with little amounts of sleep and a surely empty belly, you’ll be keen to get a good feed, and a nutritious and cheap one at that. On your way back from Pyalong, don’t forget to stop off at Lentil as Anything in Collingwood, located next to the beautiful Abbottsford Convent.
The ‘pay as you feel’ vegetarian/vegan restaurant that is a ‘home away from home’ for many Melburnians is completely coordinated and staffed by volunteers. Here you will taste some of the most authentic and interesting dishes inspired by delicacies from all around the world. Be generous to your belly and to the donation box too as you end your weekend at one of the cities most iconic and appreciated places to dine and refuel after a truly incredible weekend.