Pitch Music & Arts 2019 lived up to my expectations in almost every respect.
The days were delightfully temperate, the crowd a welcoming and creative bunch, and most importantly, the music kept its promise of big, buzzing techno beats.
Despite arriving late on Friday night, my crew still managed to nab a good spot in the camping area. This, in my opinion, is one of the stand out things about Pitch. The festival only sold 8000 tickets this year (they sold 10,000 in 2018), which meant a luxuriously spread out camping area wherein you were never too far from the stage area. The smaller, more intimate crowd size was also noticeable when you were getting amongst the mosh pit. Whilst the audience was still jostling, sizeable mass, each doofer had their own space to groove to their heart’s content.
The crowds at Pitch (I might seem biased here as I’ve been to the festival every year) have always encapsulated just what you want the doof vibe to be. People are welcoming, creative, and friendly, and this cultivates the perfect environment to let your hair down without the judgement of others. The weekend feels like a free pass to do, act, and dress however serves you best.
The flamboyance and creativity attendees injected into their own aesthetics was not, however, matched by the stage designers and the construction stages were met with mixed reviews. Some people thought that Pitch’s pared-back aesthetic looked downright boring.
The main stage, Pitch One, was decked out in simple white boarding. Whilst at night it played backdrop to psychedelic light shows, during the day it offered a pretty bland place to rest your eyes whilst you boogied. The Boiler Room stage, which was built out of a cage like scaffolding, created a night-clubby vibe. Some thought this too was a bit of a let-down – for the opening night feature element, it was a cool alternative to a regular stage, but I’m not sold on it beating the vibe its open-air counterparts create.
As for the tunes, there was plenty of tasty techno to sink our teeth into. Charlotte de Witte rose to the occasion fantastically when she unleashed her signature drops from 2 – 4am on opening night.
Palms Trax and Job Jobse hailed in Saturday night with a fusion of popular and lesser-known techno tracks on their respective stages, which kept me hooked and excited for the night ahead. They contrasted brilliantly with Tourist’s dreamy upbeat set during the day, which gave dancers opportunity to stretch their legs to different rhythms as the sun set on the festival.
Sunday was spent in anticipation of Mall Grab’s set – he was due to play at 4am on Monday morning. The young producer is known for being able to traverse many genres within techno, but for this set, he rarely deviated from dirty heavy bass. Although it was almost demonic to boogie to (it was at the red-lit Resident Advisor stage), it fit the vibe perfectly.
Pitch’s lineup ended on an utter high thanks to Denis Sulta. On Monday afternoon, he took us on a journey from known favourites to old-school bangers, reminding us all why we love techno so much. Standing in the sun engulfed by the crowd’s electric energy, it was hard to have a bad time on that last day.
The activities & amenities
When we weren’t doofing we could have just as easily been found tucking into an arancini ball or two, a pizza, a gozleme, or an acai bowl… the list goes on. Trust me, you wouldn’t be going hungry at Pitch.
The lack of art installations and activities was noted again this year. After wanting a break from dancing, my friends and I were hard-pressed to find much else to do apart from sit on a hay bale. After going to Strawberry Fields, where they have a playground of activities from mazes, to jungle gyms, to rope climbing, it’s a little disappointing to have such a lack of options during the day. I wouldn’t want to compare Pitch too much to other festivals though. In my experience, Pitch focuses on producing a strong line-up rather than distracting guests with activities.
Looking over a few logistical speed bumps (water unavailable for short period on the Friday, brief electricity dropouts), the amenities of the festival were as best as could be expected. A bush toilet on its third day can only be so glamorous. I opted to embrace the dust and put the wet-wipes away after repeated attempts at cleanliness. It is a bush doof after all.
All in all, for a festival still in its infancy, Pitch packs a punch. Year upon year of sexy techno has me hooked, and I can’t wait for 2020.