The 20th anniversary edition of Rainbow Serpent Festival is on our doorstep, with thousands descending on the sheep fields of Lexton for Australia’s biggest outdoor party of the year.
With the music extending even beyond Friday-Monday and Open Records’ own 10th birthday celebrated on the Sunday, our traditional Guide To Rainbow Serpent Festival is more relevant than ever, giving dedicated fans the ability to check out a full five days and nights of techno, house and progressive while still finding a couple of hours here and there for sleep and campsite shenanigans.
From the Main Stage glory that is the long-awaited return of SunControlSpecies to killer sessions on the Market and Sunset stages featuring some of Open Records’ favourite producers and DJs, there’ll never be a dull moment as we celebrate two decades of Australia’s best loved festival.
For this year’s guide, we’ve focused only on official stages at the festival, though with the growth in the theme camps in recent years, we expect to see a few familiar faces playing in some weird and wonderful places as well.
We’ll leave you to find those yourself, though … that’s half the fun!
It won’t be the renegades rocking on Thursday night, with the Sunset, Playground and Chill stages open from early in the evening. If you’re reading this you won’t want to be anywhere else but the Sunset, with extended sets from The Netherlands’ Roger Martinez (7PM), festival favourite D-Nox (pictured above, 9.30PM) and local hero Katie Drover (12.30AM Saturday-close).
The Friday session on the Sunset Stage has grown from an intimate gathering to one of the best and most anticipated nights of the festival. A perfect place to meet friends and shake it out before the party really steps it up a notch, Sunset Fridays is where the yes feeling really starts with the who’s who of Australian electronic music and a couple of international luminaries thrown in for good measure.
Kicking off at 4pm and taking you all the way through until Saturday, the massive run includes Louis McCoy, Uone, Rampue, Thankyou City (pictured), Luke Chable & Danni Bonicci, Guy Mantzur, Jamie Stevens, Chiara Kickdrum, Andrew Till, Lateral, Draso, Augmented and Bec Grenfell.
If you’re keen to check out some of the tunes we’ve got coming, Thankyou City (8.30PM) will no doubt be dropping plenty of fresh material on Open including their new release Desert Fathers, plus Lateral (6AM Saturday) has just completed a pounding remix of Ord Rede‘s Alkaline for us as well.
If you need a break from the beats on the Sunset (see what we did there), Opiuo will be doing his thing over at the Market on Friday night (6.30PM) and our main man Interpulse (10PM) will also been taking us on an intergalactic voyage into hyperspace.
If you heeded the guide’s advice on Friday you’re actually already here, so it’s time to get it together and head over to the Market Stage for arguably the best run of tunes for the whole weekend. Melbourne stalwart Simon Murphy (9.30AM) and fast-rising Bassic Records talent Kase Kochen (11AM) kick it off nicely, before our boy FunkForm takes to the stage for his live show (12.30PM).
FunkForm is packing a wealth of new material ensuring melodic lushness in the hottest part of the day, followed by another one of our longest-standing collaborators GMJ (2PM), who counts himself as one of the most successful Aussie producers of the past 12 months and is one of the most experienced of all on the Rainbow stage.
By this stage the Market will be heaving, with festival favourites D-Nox & Beckers live (3.30PM), New Zealand masters Antix/Fiord (pictured above, 5PM), Aussie export Late Nite Tuff Guy (6.30PM) and Melbourne heroes Rollin Connection & Dave Juric (9PM) seeing out the daylight hours.
From here it’s really a question of where do you sleep (if at all!), because no matter what you’re going to miss some action if you leave the d-floor. The Main Stage is all psychedelic and trance during the nighttime, so stick at the Market for Patrice Baumel (10.30PM), ANNA (12.30AM Sunday) and Wehbba (2.30AM Sunday).
Saturday and Sunday have now blurred into one, so you’re either asleep or keeping the dream alive on the market stage at sunrise with Steve Ward (4AM), Mike Callander (6AM) and MSG (7.30AM). But don’t even think about crashing, with the Sunday a very special day in Open Records’ history!
It was at Rainbow Serpent Festival 10 years ago where we sold the first copies of our now infamous compilation Slow-Release, kick starting a decade of our own history. Rainbow is an intrinsic part of the inspiration behind the label, so make sure you head down and check out Jesse Kuch (9AM), before the legend that is Beckers (10.30AM).
While it will no doubt be hard to drag yourself away from the Market session, we highly recommend heading over to the Main Stage for the return of the great Aussie hope SunControlSpecies (pictured above, 11.30AM), who hasn’t performed at Rainbow (or anywhere else much at all) for the past five years.
SCS was an integral part of the original Open Records roster and we can’t wait to see him bring down the proverbial house through the big rig to celebrate 20 years of Rainbow. It’s sure to be the set of the party, followed by another one of our good friends and longtime collaborators Perfect Stranger (1PM).
For the techno and house purists, you basically won’t have to leave the Market Stage for the rest of the party so settle into the groove with Boog$ (2PM), Andhim (4.30PM), James Munro (6.30PM), Mathew Jonson (8PM), Extrawelt live (9.30PM) and Shlomo (11PM). Phew!
Mad Mondays is hallowed ground in Australia, with the Market Stage crowd swelling on the last day of the best weekend of the year. Techno fans can expect some of the best tunes of the festival in the early hours of the morning, with Adriana Lopez (1AM), Dean Benson (3AM) and Simon Slieker (5AM), before progressive hero Matter (6.30AM) takes over to bring up the sunrise. If you’d prefer it a bit deeper, there’s also some really nice music over on the chill stage from MOONTIDE (12.30AM) and Tahl (1.30AM).
Progressive fans will be in their element on the Market during the daytime this year, with Eelke Kleijn (8AM) and Pena (10AM) carrying us through the morning, before Dusty Kid (12PM) and Nanoplex (1.30PM) take things up a notch. Then it slides back into melodic progressive goodness with Cid Inc (3PM) and Guy J (4.30PM) closing out the day, wrapping up the official music program and the 20th edition of Australia’s most beloved outdoor festival. Go find a renegade, head back to your camp or just wander until something (or the sun) comes up – the choice is yours!
For full Rainbow Serpent Festival set times, click here.
Rainbow Serpent Festival photos: James Gillot