Melbourne’s Novel crew has been bringing the world’s biggest electronic artists and cutting-edge newcomers to the city for six years. So, when they decided to throw their first multi-day camping festival (on the fringe of the state of Victoria’s picturesque Grampians mountain range, no less), about three hours’ drive west of the capital, there was no shortage of A-grade connections and artists to call on.
Linking up with the guys behind rapidly rising New Year’s festival Beyond The Valley, held in eastern Victoria, the collectives saw an opening at the end of Australian summer and moved in with arguably the biggest dance music line-up the country has ever seen on one bill.
From the likes of Âme, Dixon, Ben Klock and Donato Dozzy, to Francesca Lombardo, Paula Temple, John Talabot, DJ Tennis, Mike Servito, Fatima Yamaha, Gold Panda, Red Axes and Kiasmos, diverse tastes had a huge selection of sounds to savour as they sipped BYO or on-site concoctions from one of the festival’s stage-side bars.
Stretching across four days from Friday afternoon on the state’s March Labour Day long weekend, there was time for each artist to breathe in the fresh early autumn air with a stack of three and four hour sets from big names taking the crowd through till Monday night.
Three main stages served up top-shelf quality house, techno, disco and ambient electronic DJ and live performances against a backdrop of ancient Red Gums and dusty fields stretching far into the distance.
Béton Brut, the largest, was characterised during the day by its striking grey concrete-look brutalist design and at night by its amazing light shows that aligned perfectly with raised rectangular blocks that formed a pyramidal shape jutting out above the decks.
A masterpiece from acclaimed stage designer Dave Dinger (who also put in a heaving Saturday afternoon set) and lighting maestro Florian Walther, this was without a doubt the event’s main weapon.
Béton Brut also had the best soundsystem and it was as good as it gets (we’ll be looking at our home set up with disappointment for weeks). Pitch was the first festival in the southern hemisphere to use Funktion-One 32 inch vero subs and the quality was incredible whether in the thick of it, at the back, or chilling under the trees.