REVIEW: Paradise Music Festival | Lake Mountain Alpine Resort, Victoria

Written By Rei Barker on 12/04/2015

Describing perfection is always difficult. Lucky I’m a fucking genius so providing a thorough and riveting guide to Australia’s finest festival will be a cakewalk for me. Get this in your eyeholes.

Paradise is more aptly described as an experience than a music festival. From driving up Lake Mountain through the Namatjira-esque burnt out gums surrounded by the last five years of lush arboreal progress, to the internal contrast of the site itself. Its ocean of campsites and caravans juxtaposed against the mainstage, clubland, and all the amenities, bars and food dispensaries one could want make for an orgy of the senses. Add to that the constant flow of excellent Australian music coming out of every speaker and the fact that every single person is there to have a good time and ensure others do too; and you have a utopian mountain environment. There was ONE white guy with cornrows kicking shit and being a dick, but we don’t talk about it him much. People even felt comfortable enough to consume record amounts of whipped cream. I saw so many bulbs lying around on Sunday morning. I guess people just love apple pie.

The word being used to describe Paradise and its contemporaries is boutique, and having being to quite a few, I can confidently say that Paradise fits the model to a tee. Calling it ‘the best’ would be arbitrary, but this festival is defined by its uniqueness, and comparing it to other festivals is a wholly fruitless endeavour as Paradise plays by its own rules. Hashtag hashtag journalistic copout - here’s a listicle of what makes Paradise so special to me.

  • BYO as well as very affordable drinks onsite. $5 beers affordable.
  • While I don’t think that guitar bands add to Paradise and it’s always felt electronic-oriented to me, the small number of guitar bands they do pick are tolerable. It’s important to note that I hate guitars. Most people would probably love it.
  • Kind people everywhere. No matter what state people are in, the #humansofparadise are kind, courteous, beautiful folks. Being able to relate to or engage with anyone should you both find yourselves temporarily without company gives it a ‘house party on a mountain’ feel that can’t be matched. You can do and be whatever you want in a safe space free of judgment.
  • If you set up correctly, you can retreat to your own tent to do as you please if you feel like some timeout. X 3 if you camp far enough away to not hear the music(which I didn’t, but whatever.)
  • Awesome music from woah to go. Standouts were HABITS, JAALA, BLACK VANILLA, DEER, MARCUS WHALE, ANDREI EREMIN, and a bunch more whose names I didn’t catch, including *a white guy with dreads and a hemp anklet playing wonderwall at his campsite. Paradise pulls off a cohesive lineup without being homogenous. Four thumbs up.
  • The First Aid staff and security. Consummate professionals, but so very chill. I had animated late night chats with most of them and they humoured me very gracefully, while tending to any matters that arose swiftly.

When you do go to Paradise next year (and you should), be very, very certain to check the forecast. Mountain weather can be cruel to a disorganised piece of city filth like me, and having a ruthless cold while your skin peels off from sunburn is unpleasant to say the least. the only other stuff you need to bring is whatever the hell you want. I’d start with money, booze and clothes, but people’s setups range from the luddite and spartan one-person swag to complex tent cities, complete with speakers, tables, chairs, futuristic eskies and pretty much any other creature comfort you can think of.

To reiterate, there is no finer ‘music festival’ experience to be had. This is not a contrived pilgrimage for pseudo-spiritual twenty somethings or a violent pingerfest with wall to wall fuckwits. It’s a gorgeous event done right, populated with wonderful people that you’re totally allowed to come to, and in the words of Edward Packard, you can ‘choose your own adventure.’ Just go. Buy a ticket to paradise and don’t look back. **Thank me later. #paradise4eva

*Did not actually happen. Fuck that guy.
**Thank me now, actually. Donations via paypal at [email protected]. 8)

All photos by Jabyn Masters.