Inner Varnika 2017 showed it wasn’t just another bush doof

The first thing you notice driving into INNER VARNIKA is the sheer natural beauty of the site. For as far as the eye can see, stretches wide open plains punctuated by the tall rocky hills of regional Victoria.

Sadly, the second thing you notice is the ongoing authoritarian approach of Victoria Police towards dance music festivals. Searching every one in five cars, they conduct invasive sniffer dog searches, literally taking apart peoples cars. For a festival with a limited capacity of 1,700 attendees, it seems unnecessary and unwarranted.

The tragic drug related deaths are fresh in the mind of our community. There is so much we can do to protect our young people, yet it is ignored time and time again by our Government. In contrast, Inner Varnika provided a safe place to party. They provided easily accessible free drinking water, chill areas with tea and coffee, security, medical help, drug information and drug and alcohol testing on exit, giving people an informed decision about when it is safe to drive.

Inner Varnika isn’t just anther bush doof. Its culture, intimacy and variation of music sets it aside from other events. It felt laid back and positive, lacking the intensity of some doofs that can sometimes be too much. Although not completely devoid of the dreaded techno bros, the crowd overall was relatively dickhead free.

Highlight sets included DJ Sprinkles kicking off Saturday night with pure euphoria, and Peter Van Hosen closing the stage delivering thunderous deep techno till 5am. Sleep D sparked some antics of Suit Sunday bright and early with a huge turn out, and in true IV tradition, Sex Tags closed Sunday night with an albeit slow start, building up to a huge dub infused set.

Although understandably extremely subjective, the music did – at certain points – feel too ambient or slow. I got the feeling people were ready to dance, but it wasn’t quite being delivered. Based on pure anecdote of an admittedly small part portion of the festival, I wasn’t alone in this feeling. I do however understand IV‘s organisers desire to create something different to what is already on offer.

Overall however, IV proved itself as one the best boutique electronic dance music festivals in Victoria. The combination of the beautiful environment, quality focused music and a crowd united in the desire for a good time creates something truly special.

Words & Photos by Sonny Thomas 

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