I think it’s safe to say that Beyond the Valley gets better year after year. From the high quality of broad-ranging artists to the newly installed entertainment options, the vibe of BTV 2017 felt better than ever. It ramped up this year and reminded me a lot of the hugely successful MELT! Festival in Berlin. You could chill, you could wander, you could enjoy fantastic local acts between huge-name international artists, and you could dance all night long until your heart was content.
On the first day of the festival, dance music lovers were entertained firstly by David Micalizzi and John Stanley at Central Park stage. The spot that would be open for just the first day for arrivals featured an impressive backdrop of spinning records as a wall. Micalizzi and Stanley started off the huge weekend with a bang as they played a set of catchy and groovy, fruity beats before Adam Metwally and Max Mckay jumped on for an enjoyable deep house set that would have raised a roof if the dance floor wasn’t beneath the sky.
Sean Singh slayed the decks for an hour of power before Melbourne’s dance queen Sunshine took to the stage to bring her soulful selection of upbeat house tracks to blend into some groovy techno before Palermo of Xe54 brought the vibe of the great club itself to the rolling hills of Lardner Park. Spacey Space was the last of the talent to play at the finely built stage, dropping ultimate favourite tunes including Stealers Wheel’s ‘Stuck in the Middle of You’ and the epic remix of Lapsley’s ‘Operator’ by DJ Koze before closing out the night with the fitting ‘Final Credits’ by Midland.
The Green House was the spot to be from day two until the end of the festival for those keen to see their favourite local legends play between international guests and was a perfect way to escape the heat with refreshing sprinklers to dance beneath while being surrounded by lush greenery. Edgework took to the small wooden stage on the first day to start it off with some groovy techno, then Casey Leaver and Bosco played a funky back-to-back set as they brought the Chapel St nightlife vibes to the festival grounds.
DJ Nige, the kombi DJ who brings his beats in his kombi van had returned for another year and was a delight to those excited to be dancing in his legendary presence. Alberta Gunner lifted the tempo at the Green House whilst the dance tent, featuring an epic Funktion-one sound system, opened up and revellers were able to boogie along to GL, Melbourne’s favourite Adana Twins, 2manyDJs and Marek Hemman throughout the night as they shuffled away on top of the sandy floor beneath the giant pavilion.
Over at the main stage, Late Nite Tuff Guy unsurprisingly impressed punters who were keen to dance regardless of the fact the weather was verging on torrential rain pour. It seems the great man is like a great cheese – only getting better with age. He’s been frequenting the festival circuit this year more than ever before, which has clearly built him a loyal following of dance music fans, even if during 2017, the primary reason could have been for his remix of DJ Le Roi feat Roland Clark’s ‘I Get Deep’.
In an interview with uslater that evening, Late Nite Tuff Guy mentioned that while he does love the dirtiness of a club (he’s an experienced Berghain and Panorama artist), he also loves playing at festivals. His performance at Beyond the Valley was one that did not disappoint.
Back at the Green House, Silent Disco was in full force. If you’ve never been a part of Silent Disco before, it’s quite an odd experience. Imagine hundreds of people taking to the dance floor and moving about their limbs to what sounds like no music at all. Don one of the Silent Disco headphones and you’ve got a couple of great options of music to listen to. Two channels were available to choose from, and depending on what channel you were keen on, the headphones would produce either a blue or green colour. Examining the dance floor to find someone listening to the same channel as you was also a great way to make new friends who were also keen for a boogie into the early hours of the morning. String Theory, one of Autosea’s own, played a groovy set to end the night.
The sun came out on the Saturday, which allowed for plenty of opportunity to explore what new additions BTV 2017 had to offer. The inflatable church was a hilarious way to pass the time, as people took their lover or friend and unofficially married them beneath a blow up alter. The Lifestyle Precinct provided a chance for festivalgoers to wind-down and relax with a massage or some arts and crafts and rejuvenate before the new year began.
Hayden James at the main stage delighted the crowd as the sun began to set before Cut Copy took to the floor and played some of Australia’s favourite dance classics that belong to the band themselves. Patrick Topping played a epic two-hour long set that was talked about around the festival grounds and even back in Melbourne after the festival, before he passed the stage over to the great duo he regularly plays with when in Melbourne, German legends Pleasurekraft. The duo and their ‘cosmic techno’ was the perfect way to end an incredible day of seriously talented artists.
Being dance music fanatics at Autosea, Sunday afternoon saw us enjoying a delightful day of listening to talented locals at the Green House as we grooved until the internationals took to the major stages. Autosea’s own Mitchell Gee and Paul Lynch charmed dancers before Âme performed an incredible live set at the dance tent. Stephan Bodzin, a clear fan of the Australian summer who had returned to the festival season again this year, also performed a live set with his signature techno beats all the way to 2am.
Although the main stage was the most popular place to be, with nearly the majority of the festival experiencing extreme nostalgia as The Presets took us back ten years and played their old classics and counted us down to 2018.
The electronic music line-up for Beyond the Valley 2017 was an absolute delight this year, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2018. The organisation of this festival must be commended, from the security staff to the availability of utilities and ability to try out something new. Now we just need to patiently wait for New Years 2018!