Media hysteria and moral panic always surround the growth of emergent subcultures: The doof culture is no exception to this trend.
If distilled to nothing more than its most basic elements, dancing and music, doofing is essentially the same as a nightclub, but in the middle of the forest (besides the vibes, music and interaction being 100 times better). However, faced with one, singular, uncontrollable element, Australian media outlets have continually defamed the concept of a doof.
“A secret drug culture is bubbling just beneath the surface in the Perth Hills. Doofs – similar to rave parties – are operating illegally in deserted areas of State Forest in the region.”- Perth Now News
“They’re a breeding ground for wild behaviour, sexual assaults, violence and underage drinking – and they’re as tough to control as your average 16-year-old. In the events known as “bush doofs”, hundreds of drunken teens descend on a vacant property for a night of thumping music, dancing and wild partying. Riot police were called in to shut down the most recent illegal parties”- News.com.au
“These events can cause a lot of damage. Usually there is a lot of litter left behind and the vegetation gets trampled.”- NSW Police Force, in The Northern Star
As you can see, it isn’t hard to find a whole lot of hate for doofs in Australia’s most respected community and national newspapers.
Despite anyone who has attended doofs knowing these articles are obviously misleading and inaccurate, they still fuel widespread public misunderstandings about doofs.
Drugs exist at doofs and drug use is an element of doof culture – that certainly cannot be denied. However, to say doofs are solely developed and stimulated by drug use is to deny the intricate and incredibly special culture surrounding the doofing lifestyle.
Nothing exists in a vacuum: Doofs exist in the culture that gave birth to them. Whether those who feign innocence would admit it or not, the general Australian culture is awash with drugs: Cocaine fills the nostrils of high-powered stock brokers, kids swig alcohol in private school playgrounds, Xanax, Valium, and codeine fill middle-class men’s medicine cabinets, and in the streets people trade in their Centrelink payments for another hit of rock.
Most importantly to the point, the ‘controllable’ night club scene is riddled with drugs. At one nightclub in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, it’s almost certain that Saturday night will result in a ten man line up for a toilet stall populated entirely by dudes holding their nostrils and eager as f**k for another delicious line of unknown white powder off the toilet seat.
Doofs are by no means an incubator of drug use, or the sole driver of a drug culture. Ever since convicts got pissed on dodgy homebrew gin back in 1788, drug use has been a persistent feature of Australian culture. As described by journalist John Birmingham in his history of Sydney, Leviathan, the first Europeans to arrive in Australia used to get so zonked on the homebrew spirits and opium pipes that other Europeans found Aussies disgusting and distasteful.
Nothing has changed that much. It is a massive part of the Australian culture to get ‘wasted’, whether it be alcohol or drugs, anywhere and anytime. For the Australian media to depict the doof culture and doofs as a lone promoter of an isolated drug culture is inaccurate and misleading. Australia is teeming with drug abuse.
I’ll leave this piece of opinionated “journalism” (but hey, at least I’m not pretending I don’t have an opinion) with a quote from British journalist Luke Bainbridge. Although Luke Bainbridge describes a different music scene in a different country, it bears a striking resemblance to the point made here. Just remember to replace the word “Britain” with “Australia” and the phrase “acid house” with “psytrance”:
“Before acid house, nightclubs in Britain were mostly depressing places where revelers went to get drunk and perhaps meet someone of the opposite sex or fight someone of the same sex. Acid house, aided by the introduction of ecstasy, turned nightclubs back into what they were supposed to be all along: a place to dance.”
Word. Let’s unite as doofers and take back the clubs! Nah, fuck it. The bush is better anyway.
Written by – Lewis Taylor