Mushroom Valley Magic: Behind The Scenes With Ben

There’s something rather special about this particular springtime party.

Yes, it’s held at a great location (who doesn’t love a sunny forest gathering with a pristine river running through the site?). 

Yes, the lineup is immaculate (did someone say Earthling?!). 

Yes, there’s always something funky to see and do (Masquerade ball, anyone?).

But those factors alone do not a bush doof make. There’s only one thing that gets 2000 eager beavers trekking up to North Queensland every year for a party: Incredible people.

In this article, we chat to Ben Irving – the man who started it all – about the humans and hard work that have made Mushroom Valley such a beautiful reality for the last eight years.

The Party People: What Goes On Behind The Scenes

How many people (or man-hours) does it take to pull this event off?

Haha, the job never stops! If we aren’t putting man-hours in, we aren’t passionate enough about the event. We have 40 or so crew working before and on the event and we have permanent crew living on-site to ensure the site is maintained and adding to the site where they can. From Happy Daze to Mushroom Valley and in between we are constantly working to make it bigger and better.

That sounds like a lot of work, do you get an opportunity to let your hair down or are you busy the whole time?

We are working the entire festival but it’s what we do, we love it and let our hair down while on the job. 

What’s the hardest part of pulling an event like this together?

Each festival presents new challenges and I suppose the hardest part is just trying to prepare for anything the universe throws at us and working with it. 

Do you feel like festival organisers are under more scrutiny this year?

There’s no doubt about it but, regardless of that fact, we will continue to do what we do and put every bit of love and energy that we have and continue to create this amazing place for our patrons to enjoy with us. We have total support from our local police, community and the council and we will continue to work with them by our side to create a fun and safe event. 

What does running this event mean to you?

Everything! This is what we live for. We couldn’t imagine our life without it. We just want to make people dance! 

The Party: What We’re All Looking Forward To

First up, I have to ask, is Mushroom Valley a bush doof or a festival? 

Mushroom Valley is definitely both, it is a festival with a traditional bush doof feel. 

What three words would you use to describe the vibe?

Psychedelic, purple, mushrooms.

That sounds like a good time for all! What are your top picks from this year’s lineup?

The line up is massive and since announcing it I have had so much positive feedback! I’m super excited to be bringing international headliners Earthling, Rinkadink, Serial Killaz, Fabio Leal and Fungus Funk. 

What extracurricular activities are in store this year?

Everything that you know and love about the bush doof experience, plus more!

  • Workshops
  • Masquerade Ball
  • Art Gallery
  • Kids Space
  • Performances
  • Yoga

What makes the Mushroom Valley site so unique?

The site is getting better as each festival passes, I love that we are on the river and our patrons can enjoy the water after a big dance. I love that we have a bridge that takes you to a new space in the art gallery and I love that we have a tunnel that takes you from the dancefloor to an amazing space where you can enjoy workshops and the healing space.

The Punters: It’s Not Possible Without You!

Why do you cap the ticket sales when everyone clearly adores Mushroom Valley?

Our vision for Mushroom Valley is to enhance the experience by continuing to up the production each year, but keeping our numbers capped at 2000. This ensures that our event continues to feel like you’re coming into a community and aren’t getting lost in the crowd.

What is Mushroom Valley doing to keep punters safe this year? 

Safety is the most important thing when it comes to running the event. As always we have our trusted medical team, they have been with us from the start and do an amazing job looking after any of our patrons who may need them.  We have the Blow Me First crew back on board to ensure our punters are leaving safely. Our “Care Pixies” will be working throughout the weekend to ensure patrons are feeling well and safe. And there will be an educational “Say Know to Drugs” workshop. We are also currently in discussions with a pill testing company and as soon as the legislation has passed, we will also be having them at the festival. We also love knowing we have crew and other patrons on board looking out for each other. 

Best advice when it comes to looking after your mates?

Don’t leave your mate. Stay together and look out for one another. 

Why do you think so many people are drawn to events like yours?

These events have such a community feel about them, there are so many amazing, beautiful and kind-hearted people are here. It’s actually those amazing people themselves that draws others to these events…. Oh… and the sick music and prime location!

Mushroom Valley is held on the 4th – 6th of October between Airlie Beach and Mackay on a beautiful property near the Whitsundays.

To get your tickets before they’re snapped up, check out their website.

Or, for updates on all the amazing things you’ll encounter on your weekend away, follow the Mushroom Valley Facebook page.

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