Psytrance culture is still strong in Australia, but the recent years have seen the scene’s taste diversify a lot more. Along with the strong psy, progressive and downbeat/ambient scene, there are also many exciting techno, minimal, dubstep, experimental, house, breaks, glitch hop and IDM artists, meaning the parties always have a great variety of tunes to please anyone’s tastes. Australia’s bush doof scene doesn’t attract your regular bachelor and spinster crew. Bush doofers dance in the dirt and slap the air with laughter and groans that are guttural and free-sounding. These individuals have escaped the picket fences and computer screens… at least for the weekend. There’s a tinge of tribal protest in their dress – scruffy dreadlocks and free-flowing music. And of course, some might be under the influence of psychedelic drugs. Strong ones. In Australia, the trend has gained popular and mainstream notoriety in the last two decades with the advent of youth-focused festivals. Walk onto a certain Victorian proprietor’s land towards the end of January, and you won’t spot cattle grazing behind rusting fences. Instead, you’ll see a half-built pirate ship, rainbow-coloured tents and festival-goers dressed up as mermaids and fairies. There’ll might also be nymphs running around.
In NSW, there are festivals such as psy-trance extravaganza New Psycle, Earth Frequency Festival, Spring Equinox & Indigo Evolution NYE, in the ACT, Dragon Dreaming makes an annual appearance outside of Canberra; in central Australia, Wide Open Space brings bush doof grandeur to Alice Springs, with an opening ceremony involving electronica, indigenous performances and a heavy metal stage. These festivals attract people searching for something new — they combine the light and art shows festival-goers are used to with the most cutting edge DJ sets complete with 3D speakers and kinetic technology. They also keep a focus on the indigenous cultures of Australia and psychedelic expression.
Doofs often rely on word of mouth and social networking to get invitations out, and reviews and photographs of them rarely appear on major websites. Instead, a mixture of veteran and amateur journalists and photographers document the events through their own blogs and websites. There’s an intimate feeling of community and safety, especially at these smaller events, which sets them apart from mainstream music festivals such as Soundwave or Big Day Out.