In particular, I have been able to witness the progress that Paul Abad, the organiser of EFF, has made with the Ivory’s Rock family and the local community – which is inspirational to say the least.
There were definitely some setbacks over the past several years – as there always should be in any exciting journey – but the strength and determination of the team behind this divine event have paid off immensely.
It is easy to say that this festival has now developed into one of the most magical events that Australia has to offer.
After several years of settling into the Ivory’s Rock location and many negotiations, discussions and compromises with the local community, the event has now found an astounding balance with music volumes/turn off times, police presence, family interest and general vibrations. It really levelled up hard this year.
The event had the cleanest feel it has ever had, physically and metaphysically – the vibes were high and everyone was riding that. The whole place was teeming with connections, sharing, meeting and loving.
As a Mum of two little ones, unfortunately, I can hardly comment on the actual musical performances, as those rascals seemed to occupy most of my attention for much of the event and thus my ability to drop into the music and dancing. For this, I do apologise, however, I do get an excellent insight into the event from a different perspective.
A highlight for me was witnessing my 4-year-old son sit down in the middle of the Chai Vibes Tent (centre of the marketplace) – of his own accord – watching the DJ for several minutes on his own and then being invited by several cool cats to start mud painting together. He made good friends with them all and hung with them for half an hour while I watched from a distance and danced.
One of the most stand out changes this year was the music volume. It was cranking this year, and there was much appreciation for that. The after hours stage was also much loved for all who didn’t want to rest their heads. Yet even so throughout the night, there was almost complete silence in the family camping section, ahhhh heaven! This development from strict noise control to beautiful pumping waves of sound throughout is a monument to the work that the organisers have done with the community at Ivory’s Rock.
Although, not many artists were witnessed, what I can say about the music is that, as can be expected, Opiuo and K-lab absolutely smashed it! *Correction* Unfortunately due to some very last minute logistical problems, I felt Hugo and Treats, always a crowd favourite, were not quite in their finest form. Which is understandable as their whole sets are improvised through the divine and it can be hard to get in that flow when things are in anyway stressed.
The police presence was very obvious (they like doing that don’t they), but it was not intimidating. Often there were only 2-3 police around at a time. The biggest number at once that I witnessed was six at the back of the main stage.
I discussed the festival with these police. They mentioned at that time there were no incidents, that everything was going very well and they are always impressed with the event. They did, however, deny any knowledge of the reduction in police presence for this year’s event. This did spark my interest; perhaps they don’t want to be seen as ‘weak’? They also denied that it is mandatory that they all wear the same sunnies.
And I must say, this police presence did actually keep people conscious of their behaviour in a really good way. I don’t approve of them pulling two guys from the dance floor mid-set and searching them in front of everyone. However, I do think people were more discrete about any substance usages when they were out and about, which left a great, clean feeling.
This year had the most children and family by far that I have ever witnessed at EFF; the place was teeming with tiny doofers and parents with strollers, wagons and buggies carrying the precious cargo from stage to stage. We have been breeding, that’s for sure. The only complaint to be made from parents was the extra charge for the Family Realm and that the fencing around this area was less than aesthetically pleasing.
As always the rest of the festival looked beyond stunning on all lighting, decor and artwork fronts, I draw a blank when I think to myself, have I ever seen better? In particular, I must mention that the shade on the main stage was the best shade I have ever seen in person, absolutely beautiful! Not only did it look incredible but there were few gaps in it, which makes such a big difference in that heat.
Oh yeah, it was absolutely balls, steaming hot, on Friday and Saturday, losing it’s extreme edge and cooling off a degree or two for the last two days. The team did a great job as usual in attempting to keep us cool though, with dance floor mists, firefighters hosing us all down and clean showers throughout the duration.
I had a golden time at EFF this year, and the word is that everyone else did too. Nearly every person I chatted to about the event had not one complaint and are absolutely raving about it! Magic, magic magic!
Thank-you so much Paul and team for providing us with this space every year, you do such an incredible job, and every single one of us is so so grateful! The integrity of EFF shines through the experience we all shared over the weekend. We at Dreamland cannot help but wonder, is Earth Frequency Festival Australia’s premier festival? It’s certainly our favourite!
Photography by Spygel