Jungle Love 2018: A Pure Concentration Of Good Vibes

From start to finish, there was beauty to behold at Jungle Love 2018.

The festival was held on the gorgeous private property of an absolute legend who was not only kind enough to offe his land, but was apparently super helpful and accommodating to the organisers and all their requests.

And, of course, there was an aboriginal blessing performed at the opening ceremony. After being welcomed by both the traditional and the modern owners into the space, the crowd felt like it was supposed to be there.

The site itself was phenomenal – there were so many angles from which to simply look out and absorb the boundless majesty of the land. Access to a creek, the somewhat submerged Jungle Boogie stage, and the massive hill beside the mainstage which acted as an amphitheatre and a perfect meeting ground for sunrise/sunset gatherings all made it a uniquely enjoyable environment.

Photo Credit: Joshua Tate

In terms of entertainment, the foundations of Jungle Love are solid. With an emphasis on maintaining a playful variety of music, art, fun and introspection, Jungle Love truly delivers on an expansive and elusive ‘experience’.

The selection of music was impeccable. From psytrance to jazz, from metal to house, from funky beats to rap, the assortment of bands, some local and others big names like OPIUO and Pond, was perfect.

For me, the highlights of this festival were these big acts.

I got so caught up in OPIUO’s set that I thought he came down afterwards, embraced me, and then passionately kissed me. It turned out to be a beautiful, bearded Arabian man but, nonetheless, for a moment there, in my head I was makin’ with OPIUO.

Pond – a world-class psych-rock band – are an effortless live act.

Pond | Photo Credit: Joshua Tate

But that’s not to say the lesser well-known names didn’t deliver. I was delighted to witness the confident, powerful rock trio, Oolluu, as well as the beautiful, goth, techno-babe Avaxa, who stood out as an act because she danced as hard to her own set as I did.

And, in the hot middle of the day, having an old-school reggae/dancehall DJ named Mad Professor to slowly groove to, exemplified how well planned the line-up was.

The artistic, experiential elements of this festival were also terrific. The festival was alive with art: the Japanese drummers at sunset, the dungeons and dragon role players, the silent disco, the piano in the forest. There were so many reasons to go out of your campsite and just explore. I thoroughly enjoyed this aspect- my personal favourite times at festivals are the moments that are outside of the formally organised fair. So talking to a dwarf and a high elf about the dark magic that must propel the helicopter overhead on the way to check out the art installations made me glow inside.

Photo Credit: Savannah van der Niet

On that note, the community deserves a shout out for being lovely all around. There was a considered effort to create communal areas, and I was lucky enough to camp next to some volunteers who set up a couch and shaded area amid a tuft of forest. Several unofficial hammock cities that were shared openly -gestures like this made clear that people were there not only for themselves, but to help others have the best time possible. And that’s not even to talk about the well organised and passionate official crew.

I did hear of a few small incidents involving males making problematic moves on women, but these were dealt with swiftly by a community which didn’t tolerate homophobia or objectification of women. Most reports suggested this was a safe space for all to express themselves in a welcoming environment.

Jungle Love truly fostered an environment where self-expression and colourful weirdness were encouraged. Compliments, hugs and new friends filled the air, everyone helped to set up eachother’s tents, campsites were welcoming, rubbish was constantly getting picked up by punters, and people freely shared their drinks and food with enthusiasm. Though I didn’t bring enough to eat or drink (yes, I am that guy), my belly was always full with the breakfasts and lunches supplied by the generous community. With the one exception of grabbing a refreshing cocktail from the bar overlooking the amphitheatre, I never had to buy food from the official vendors, despite fanging for some kofta balls all weekend. I heard tell that the food vendors could be improved – $10 grilled cheeses just don’t pack enough nutrient punch for a day of dancing.

Yet, on the whole, I congratulate and thank the organisers, landowners, crew, volunteers, artists and community for making Jungle Love 2018 happen. Not only did I party really hard, I also feel like I’m a better, happier person for experiencing such a pure concentration of good vibes.

This article was written by Taylor Smith.

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