Words: Rene Shellis
The summer season was very eventful this year. I’ve spent numerous weekends frolicking around psychedelic wonderlands seeking out some spiritual insight and fist pumping to some tribal music. My first attendance at the Pitch Music and Arts festival was a welcome contrast, swapping multicoloured sails and mind bending projection mapping with slick monochrome design and cutting edge visual art, it was clear this festival wasn’t trying to imitate.
Situated just off a long off road path near Moyston, the scenic site, a dusty field littered with old native eucalyptus, was towered by the beautiful Grampian mountains. Three stages were to be filled with a prestigious roster of local and international talent. Here are some of my favourite experiences from the weekend.
David August at Resident Advisor stage
By chance we happened to set up camp right at the entrance of the main area, our first glimpse of the festival being the Resident Advisor stage. A bright red rectangular structure protruded from the field curiously placed near a giant tree as to highlight our general human taste in modern geometric design – a far cry from the natural organic slopes that surrounded the arena.
Our first pick of the festival was to see the live music genius that is David August who was to be the final set on the first night. As punters usually do we predicted the set to be a soothing journey that would act as a lullaby for our slumber. Instead we received a powerful sonic statement, with heavy sound waves shooting out from the Funktion speakers. Perched next to the tree we endured a diverse selection of energy and grooves dipping in and out of beatless moments and roaring kick drums. I was looking forward to hearing his remix of the Last Day, which I did.. well sort of, the ethereal intro began to set up the gentle drop this was to come instead he swapped it with a heavy industrial break down that raise the energy back up, a theme that was littered across his set.
Dreamy techno time
After recovering from some classic Victorian weather I spent my Sunday with the crew relaxing at the back of the main stage resting on the soft hay bales receiving a kick drum massage. A favourite was Oliver Huntermann’s set which was a welcome nostalgic booking since my last encounter a couple of years back. He has retained his unique smooth techno sound.
Another notable mention was Daniel Avery’s set, which was less abstract than some of his other performances I’ve witnessed before. Something worth mentioning here is how perfect the speakers were tuned. Even from behind the stage the sound was clear, loud and crisp, not to mention the fact you could feel the lower frequencies pressing against your body, for me personally this stood out from other festivals I have been to this summer.
So props to Full Throttle Entertainment for that one. Apart from some smaller adventures, I spent most of my time here mingling with the crowd around us, I did not see any anti social behaviour during the weekend and was welcomed by a friendly mix of ravers old and young.
It was great to see some of the visual art and extra spaces utilised to fill out the festival. The moving image screens had a variety of cinematic art that changed throughout the festival changing from rich textures to warped landscapes and strange photoshoots. There was also a curious installation made from clear plastic strips and a couple of culturally relevant goon bags laying lazily at the back of the site. There was a sunbathing lounge set up in a greenhouse structure lit up with soothing projections and calm ambient beats. The market area hosted a roller rink and cinema accompanied by local shop keepers doing their usual hustle.
Regrets and a subjective negative
Personally I feel I didn’t make the most of the festival, again we seemed to gravitate to the main stage for most of the time and didn’t make the most of the chill out spaces, being my first Pitch festival experience I felt a bit disorientated as there was so much going on at once it was hard to navigate and get a taste of everything.
My only bone to pick was the Pitch Black stage. The space was enclosed instigating a capacity issue. This came across as a bit strange as people were forced to line up as if it were a metropolitan club. It felt a bit wrong to have this area enclosed in open nature and as Boiler Room is a very popular organisation it attracted most of the festivals attendees.
I did later enter the stage to witness Monolink and his groovy guitar work but had to leave to get some fresh air and a break from the dust. From a visual point of view the stage was actually a masterpiece, the scaffolding allowed for a second level and the black shade cloth coupled with the stroboscopic lighting gave life to the silhouettes of moving bodies which was a beautiful sight to see.
In conclusion …
Pitch Arts and Music was a refreshing experience filled with amazing music and tasteful art which definitely made the experience for me. I relished the stage design and was happy with the layout and infrastructure. The crowd was well behaved and pleasant to mingle with, I’m glad I got to see so many familiar faces. Pitch Music and Arts is a great feature of our amazing electronic music scene, I cannot wait for my experience next year.