The highs and lows of Pitch Festival 2018

The dust has finally settled across the dry, golden plains of the Victorian countryside. Tents are packed, beers have been consumed and bodies’ are now back in clothes that cover more than a few square centimetres of skin. In other words, the widely anticipated and hugely successful Pitch Music and Arts Festival has come to an end for another year.

Spanning over four sun-filled days the festival showcased some of the globes finest underground acts, showing us all that electronic music does not just hide in the dingy, darkness of late night clubs. In saying this, here are the highs and lows of Pitch 2018.

HIGH PITCH: A JUDGEMENT FREE FESTIVAL = A SAFE FESTIVAL

Helpful volunteers, friendly authorities and enthusiastic crowds, Pitch festival proved that the people play a huge part in creating a great and safe atmosphere. What was truly impressive, however, was the nature in which the masses accepted the nonstandard codes of dress that allowed for self-expression. Moreover, what was even more impressive was the respect that surfaced for each other’s personal body. Incidents of indecent or inappropriate behaviour were few and far between.

As well as this, Pitch organisers did well in emphasising the safe consumption of illegal substances. And while at Purple Sneakers we do not condone drug use, we do condone safety. The drug and alcohol-testing tent, which saw hundreds of festival goers leave the premise sober and without criminalisation, was a hit. And so were the various water stations, safety initiatives and rest spaces, including the rejuvenation tent (my personal favourite). These all worked towards creating a secure environment where all could feel safe without external pressure from unnecessary forces.

LOW PITCH: WHERE WAS THE ART?

For a Music and Arts Festival, the art portion was certainly lacking. I’d heard that the year before, the art sites were a prominent part of the surrounding location and many were disappointed to not experience the same kind of gusto in 2018. In saying this, the artworks that were present, especially the stage architecture and light shows, were executed well and created otherworldly and immersive environments.

 HIGH PITCH: THE ACTS BLEW EVERYONE OUT OF THE DUST

Set across three stages – The Bétron Brut, Vanish Point and Electrum – Pitch played host to an array of gifted electronic acts, from the likes of local talents Fantastic Man, Onepuf, Tornado Wallace and CC:DISCO! to international artists like Bicep, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Booka Shade and Marcel Dettmann. Whether through the day or at night, all blew the dust from everyone’s eyes, as set after set of heavy bass, disco, house and techno filled the air.

Though there were many outstanding acts, there were a few, in my opinion, that outshone the rest. Octo Octa, with her deep house beats and tribal style tracks played against a dusty sunset to a growing crowd. Following this was The Black Madonna, with her lively set attracting one of the rowdiest and largest crowds of the festival as she switched from track to track so smoothly that it was hard to differentiate any type of genre. From grungy house to spacey techno, her drops were insane and mixes masterful.

Finally Sven Vath aka Papi Sven, who a friend and I managed to get on stage with and whose 30-year experience outweighed any of the youngsters there, played a signature set. The ocean of fairy-light covered doof sticks created an sea of speckled red, green and blue and were the perfect facade for his energetic techno performance.

LOW PITCH: WE COULD HAVE ALL DONE BETTER….

We were one of the last to leave Tuesday afternoon and like it seems to unfold with almost every festival, shit was left everywhere. Tents, Gazebos, Food scraps, plastic bags, clothes, glitter, balloons, hundreds and hundreds of nang canisters. It was as if a hundred spoilt teenagers had waltzed in, said a huge “Fuck you” to the environment and waltzed off. Obviously there were hundreds that did help out by placing their bags of rubbish in neat piles by their campsites but the majority did not.

HIGH PITCH: …BUT PITCH DID ITS BEST

From the outset, Pitch placed great emphasis on rubbish collection and being environmentally friendly by providing hundreds of bins and dumpsites around the area and specifying expectations in its festival guide. The volunteers, as well, moved through the audiences’ after every act scouring for rubbish, morning and night. Pitch also encourage reusable bottles. It’s not a big deal to some, but given the vast impact festivals have on their environments, it’s an important gesture to give back a little and by leading by example, they did their best to try and love Mother Nature a little more.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS
The view of the Grampians
The tent axed by a mini-tornado
The hammocks
The ‘Bundy’ Irwin Doof Stick

DISHONOURABLE MENTIONS
The dust
The wind
The sound of nangs every 30-seconds

Overall Pitch Festival 2018 was a definitive success and, though a big shout, one of the best festivals I have been to in the past few years. What really impressed me was the patience, friendliness and excitement generated not only by the crowds but also by the organisers, acts and volunteers. This allowed for a safe, secure and ultimately successful festival. Bring on Pitch 2019.

WORDS BY JULIE FENWICK
PHOTOS BY DUNCOGRAPHIC

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THE BEST BITS OF SECRET GARDEN 2018
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Just doing her best to survive in the Melbourne jungle