It’s Rainbow Serpent week and the excitement is palpable in the Australian electronic music and festival culture as the mighty beast prepares for its 21st year in the bush.
As has become customary in recent years, we’ve put together a huge guide of the artists we think you need to see from the progressive, techno and house spectrum to help you start planning the biggest weekend of the year.
With the growth of theme camps and Rainbow itself, we can’t hope to get every single act we’d like in here, but we’d like to think we gave it a red hot go.
Full disclosure – we’re not advocating for much sleep during this guide, so please attempt the whole thing at your own risk!
In all seriousness, we do highly recommend packing the best sun protection and cooling gear as you can, with temperatures set to soar to 41C for much of the weekend.
With conditions this brutal, make sure you get proper rest, drink plenty of water and eat regularly – Mother Nature can be pretty harsh this time of year.
Now the disclaimers are out of the way, strap on your sparklepants and lets dive into what is sure to be another epic year at Lexton in the official Open Records guide to Rainbow Serpent Festival 2018.
We always start our Rainbow weekend at the Sunset Stage. It’s intimate vibe and killer Friday techno and house line-up make it the perfect place to meet with friends and get warmed up for the weekend.
Sleep D will kick off things nicely from 4pm, followed by Kids Table (5.30pm) and Bec Grenfell (7pm), before the first international on the Sunset in the shape of Dutch duo Mononoid at 8.30pm.
Our good friend Dylan Griffin from AU Underground then picks up the torch at 10.30pm in what is sure to be one of the sets of the night, taking us out of Friday in style with his trademark brand of techno.
What better way to start Saturday than with Spanish master Edu Imbernón at midnight? A true veteran of the global house and techno scene, he kicks off a big Saturday morning session including Charles Oliver (2am) and Willaris K (3.30am), Bloody Mary (4.30am), Qualé (6.30am), Wilson (8am) and Lola Heart (9.30am).
By this stage of proceedings, there is worthy stuff starting to happen across the rest of the festival. We highly recommend checking out Aaron Smiles (1.30am), MOONTIDE (4.30am) and Simon Murphy (8.30am) for some wicked vibes on the Chill, while COOKie (9.30am) on the Market is also well worthy.
It doesn’t matter where you are, make sure you’re at the Market at 11am for the Rainbow Serpent debut of man-of-the-moment Doppel.
If you’re not on the Doppel train yet, we think the Canberra wizard’s live show through the pornographic soundsystem of the Market will be all the convincing you need.
You could stay put for the rest of the afternoon on the Market (or for the rest of the weekend, really), with Marcotix (12.30pm), Tara Brooks (2pm), Third Son (4pm) and Boog$ (6pm) sure to deliver a truly memorable session.
While that’s absolutely stellar, it’s definitely worth doing the dash over to the Sunset Stage as well, with Melbourne progressive legend Matter (3.30pm) and Israeli techno lord Sheff (5pm) both bringing the A-game in the afternoon.
At 8pm it’s time to take a break from the beats for an hour to honour the traditional owners of the land and attend the official opening ceremony on the Main Stage. Always a humbling moment and powerful spectacle at the same time, it’s a nice grounding as the festival kicks into top gear!
Speaking of top gear, waste no time running to see Thankyou City (pictured above) make their long-awaited return to the Market Stage at 9pm as soon as the ceremony is over.
The Melbourne brothers always deliver and we’re stoked to to see them picked with an absolutely huge timeslot before one of their biggest influences, Germany’s Thomas Schumacher (10.30pm).
If you ended up staying at the Main Stage, Opiuo (10pm) and Vitalic live (11pm) will no doubt blow the proverbial roof off the place.
The action on the Market continues well into the darkest hours with a huge session of Microtrauma (12.30am), Alex Stein (2.30am), Orpheyo Dragon (4.30am), Chiara Kickdrum (5.30am) and MAXVEGAS (6.30am), ensuring techno heads will be well taken care of (we also wouldn’t mind a sneaky look at The Oddness at midnight on the chill, too).
If you did end up crashing out at any stage, make sure you make it back to the Market for breakfast with Moodmachine at 8am. His warm, groovy sound is the perfect way to start one of the biggest days of tunes of the year!
You’ve got options galore on Sunday, with Amháin (9.30), Spacey Space (11am) and Brian Fantana (12.30pm) taking us through the morning and early afternoon on the Market, while there is a really good run of techno and house DJs showing us their more downbeat side on the chill as well, including U-Khan (8am), Dave Juric (9.30am), JonnyMac (11am) and J-Slyde (12.30pm).
If you did want to go check some of the Sunday Main Stage action, we can highly recommend Interpulse at midday in what is sure to be one of the biggest dancefloors of the party, before Swedish trance legend Atmos on close.
Do yourself a favour and check out Germany’s Switchbox at 2pm on the Market Stage and start saddling up for the session of all sessions, because it just keeps getting bigger from here!
While Mad Mondays has been part of the Rainbow lore for a long time, the Sunday night techno session has become another big highlight of the party and in 2018, we have full confidence it’s going to be one for the books.
Gabriel Ananda (4pm) absolutely smashed his last Rainbow outing and we’re sure this year will be no different, followed by another international innovator who blew the Market away only 12 months ago, Patrice Baumel (6pm).
Kompact boss Michael Mayer (8.30pm) then takes the controls for a full 3-hour journey at the last hours of light before Petar Dundov and his epic live show at 11.30pm to take us through the last minutes of Saturday and into Sunday (if you need a little break, head over and check out Tahl on the chill at 11pm, he always delivers).
As we welcome to hallowed Monday, prepare for a full techon onslaught with Shlømo & AWB presents EYSSENAH (12.45am), Shlømo B2B AWB (1.45am) and Claire Morgan (3.30am), before Melbourne stalwart Mike Callandar (5.30am) brings in the sunrise.
Pow! Like that Mad Monday is here, bringing with it what could be an all-time session to close the party out. Acid Safari (7am) and Thad Lester (8.30am) will ensure the day gets off to a cracking start, before the return of GMJ to a classic slot at 10am to ensure the morning lushness is in full effect.
Amsterdam’s Miss Melera will take us through the sun’s peak from 11.30am before a triplet of legends that could well go down as one of the best Monday closing sessions in many years.
German pioneer Robert Babicz returns to the Market in what could be the perfect timeslot, with his warm, analogue grooves sure to hum from that big F1.
Fellow German Solee (3.30pm) continues the goodness with his powerful yet melodic sound, before prog don Quivver (5pm) makes a very welcome return to the Market to close it out.
If that’s not a Mad Monday, we don’t know what is! From here, the world is your oyster … congratulations through making it through another year of the Open Records guide to Rainbow Serpent Festival, we hope catch as many of the acts as possible. See you out there!
Download the full Rainbow Serpent Festival 2018 set times and survival guide.