When I told my friends the driving instructions to Happiness Hill 2 involved resetting the odometer at certain checkpoints along a dirt road, they flashed a cheeky grin and said, “Ah, it’s one of those parties.”
It was indeed.
Happiness Hill 2 was a party that truly reflected the old-school bush doof vibe.
Great music, gorgeous location, and a community spirit that other festivals can only dream of achieving.
Musical offering: ☆☆☆☆
As a less than avid psytrance fan, I must admit I cannot give an expert opinion on the lineup at Happiness Hill 2. Yet if the hooting and hollering that punctuated the entire weekend is anything to go by, the crowd was impressed with the sonic offering. Whether it was 5pm on Saturday afternoon, or 6am on Sunday morning, the energy was there!
Nostaligic (aka Elly Hennessey) played a Saturday night Love Camp set that was a highlight for many. The talented first timer belted out fun, occasionally cheesy, techno prog sounds that visibly impressed the throbbing crowd. She’s definitely an up-and-comer to look out for!
Later, on the main stage, Rainbird got party-goers strutting their stuff to, amongst other songs, a playful electronic remix of “Another One Bites The Dust.” His unique take on the classic hit was a welcome venture away from psytrance for this reporter.
That’s not to say the psytrance wasn’t on point, though. Bornvibe’s late-night set was a treat. He effortlessly got the crowd jumping with her beautiful mesh of upbeat, spacey soundscapes, crystal clear female vocals and synth.
Crowd favourite Purple Hayes also deserves a mention for delighting party-goers with his driven, twisted funky progressive trance on Sunday morning.
And, finally, thanks must be given to the Boogie Collective and Nexus Sound Systems for setting the volume at just the right level for dance floor enjoyment without prohibiting campsite sleeping.
Amenities? What amenities?
Happiness Hill 2 was a classic “no frills” bush doof in this regard. Most partygoers chose to do their business out in the wild, rather than face the two portaloos available (perhaps there were more, but these were the only ones I found). It’s also worth noting that these portaloos did not have sanitary bins – an oversight that is all to often made at parties like this.
Organisers also made a point of warning attendees to bring plenty of water, as there was none on site. Whether or not water should be provided at such an event is a matter another article.
That said, the organisers were responsible. There was ample food for sale, medical services were available, and security were friendly and professional.
Crowd vibe: ☆☆☆☆☆
By far the best part of Happiness Hill 2 was the people who attended.
Strangers greeted each other as friends, and a warmth, generosity and openness permeated the party. I chatted with a pirate from the Fitzroy River Pirates about gardening, a baker from Brisbane on alarmist Italian politics, and a complete fuckwit about his love of modafinil (more on that in another article!).
And, while these light-hearted chin wags were enjoyable, what I really appreciated was the deeper conversations. People felt free to speak openly about subjects they usually might not broach in polite society.
I listened to a 52-year-old woman about her child abuse experiences.
I chatted to a 20-something French man about his desire to wear a skirt in public for the first time (long, green velour with gold trim).
And, I talked with a 17-year-old about peer pressure, disappointing experiences with drugs, and feeling like you’re not partying right when you don’t feel good.
For me, these deeper conversations were the most important part of the festival. Happiness Hill 2 was a fun party, but more than that, it was a chance to engage in the meaningful human connection that we all need but don’t always get in our day-to-day lives.
Extra-curricular activities: ☆☆☆☆
As with every good doof, beloved fire toys, hula hoops and poi all came out for play at Happiness Hill 2.
The vibe was informal, allowing pros to entertain the crowd while first-timers still had an opportunity to get up and have a go.
And, while there were no workshops to speak of (or, if there were workshops, they weren’t advertised), the beautiful open site allowed party-goers to have a wander into the lush surrounding bushland, stretch out and do some self-paced yoga, or have a little picnic near the dance floor.
As soon as I drove into forest surrounding this site, my heart skipped a beat. Hot, dusty doofs are OK, but there’s something to be said for camping in a naturally beautiful, welcoming and temperate environment.
And, the accompanying decor did not disappoint either. The dance floor was encapsulated by funky, psychedelic flags and topped with the classic bush doof shade sails we all know and love. Beside the dance floor, a gorgeous fluorescent mushroom garden acted as the perfect backdrop for twirlers, face painters and slackliners.
The whole party was also dotted with little reminders to be conscious of your fellow festival-goers and the environment – a testament to the organiser’s community spirit.
When it came to visuals, this doof outperformed many larger events.
The verdict: ☆☆☆☆
If you didn’t go to Happiness Hill 2, you missed out. This party well and truly lived up to its name, and I would recommend it to both new and seasoned doofers.
Keep an eye on what the Boogie Collective are doing for the rest of the year, because you won’t want to wait a whole year for another event like this.