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A Kaleidoscope of Music and Performance Arts
The first Rainbow Serpent Festival was held in 1998 in Trentham. It was all about the music then, but today the festival is more than just electronic music, it's also a vibrant and colourful celebration of dance, performance, art, nature, community and harmony. Throw in some great speakers and marvellous market stalls and it's all go, go, go. Run annually on the Australia Day weekend this four day festival attracts upwards of 15,000 visitors.
Under the colourful shade sails at the Festival (Image from Rainbow Serpent Festival Facebook Page)
This music and performance extravaganza featuring over 200 artists and playing across five stages assures non-stop entertainment. Come and dance up a storm to Pretty Lights' electro mix of hip-hop and soul or to the music of Germany's Monkey Safari. Emancipator and Bluetech join the US line up. Also among the internationals are Ace Ventura, John Digweed, Ticon, Tripswitch and CelloJoe. What about the local talent? Not to be outdone, Aussie performers will be at the festival in abundance. There's Combat Wombat, Late Nite Tuff Guy, Spoonbill, Mamacita Wonkita, ZOG and so, so many more. Check out the amazing eclectic line up here. An array of performances deliver up psy, techno, house, and glitch music.
A performer at the 2006 Rainbow Serpent Festival (Image by Luis Silva - Own work - Original text self-made - Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
The Rainbow Serpent Festival pushes the technological envelope. LED arrays and projection mapping enhance already superb performances. It's no surprise in a world where drones are all the buzz the festival will also be using live aerial footage from octocopter drones. The Iboga Records 20th Anniversary celebrations will include a 3D hologram and light show. Big days lead into even bigger nights and as dark descends the skies come alive in a spectacular laser and light show.
Fun at the Festival (Image from Rainbow Serpent Festival Facebook Page)
Large scale artworks and stage productions by General Zod, John Horton and Sarah Masson headline the Festival's artworks. RMIT Masters student Katia Honour is exhibiting her paintings exploring transcendental states of consciousness. Also exhibiting are Michael Devine form the US, Australia's Mad Betty and Peru's Luis Tamani. Be sure to check out all the imaginative, bizarre and beautiful works from an impressive line up of artists. As a special treat internationally renowned artist Jake Kobrin will be painting live.
The Rainbow Serpent Festival 2013 (Image by Asher Floyd - Own work - CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
Drop by The Village, the Festival's activity hub. Relax in a massage and healing session. Join a yoga, dance or movement workshop. Listen to Dr Angus Hervey speak on The Politics of Optimism or Jeremiah Welch speak on The Future of Art and Technology. Not your cup of tea? What about body painting, permaculture, meditation, aikido, dance or astrology. So many choices. The little ones have not been forgotten. Children's activities run in the Kids Space at The Village.
Tom Cosm performing at the Rainbow Serpent Festival 2008 (Image by Tomcosm - Own work - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
The Festival is named for the Rainbow Serpent, a Creation Being in the Aboriginal Dreaming Stories, the creator of the land and the source of all life. The traditional owners of the land, the Dja Dja Wurrung and Wadawurrung Peoples will hold a blessing and smoking ceremony on Friday. A Welcome to Country Opening Ceremony on the Main Stage on Saturday will portray the coming together of many tribes. The Aboriginal Peoples continue to share their culture through demonstrations and workshops in the Aboriginal Camp at The Village.
A Blessing and Smoking Ceremony will be held on Friday (Image by Nick8june -Own work - CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
The Welcome to Country Opening Ceremony (Image from Rainbow Serpent Festival Facebook Page)
If you feel your energy flagging head to the Market Village and tempt your taste buds with offerings from a multicultural collection of food stalls. No matter what your culinary delight, meat-eater, vegan or vegetarian, there's a stall for you. Sip on a chai tea, a juice, or a smoothie or revitalise with a good coffee. Grab breakfast at the Mr. Museli Truck or dessert at The Little Pancake Patch. Spoil the kids with some Billy van Creamy gelato.
There'll be food aplenty (Image from Jerry's VegieBurgers Facebook Page)
Shopaholics can safely leave their favourite retail haunts behind, there is many a market stall to tempt and tantalise. What treasures might you find at Global Gypsy, Karma Kornah, Nature's Spirit, or Dog and Fox? Select from Nepalese handmade crafts at Yak Yak Yak. Pick up essentials at the Bootie Call general store. Enhance your health and well-being with some herbs from Happy Herbs. With nearly 80 stalls to choose from you'll be hard pushed to resist a little retail therapy.
The Dog & Fox Market Stall at the 2014 Festival. (Image from Dog & Fox Facebook Page)
The 2016 Rainbow Serpent Festival runs from the 22nd to 25th of January at Jack Smiths Lane, Lexton, north west of Ballarat on the Sunraysia Highway, about one and three quarter hour's drive from the Melbourne CBD. Tickets can be purchased from the website. Tickets for the weekend are $330 plus a $10 booking fee. Vehicle passes are $25. Tickets sold out quickly last year so don't delay. Accommodation is camping so bring your campervan (no powered sites) or tent or book one of the bell tents at the Sleepy Hollow Camp Grounds. A dedicated family camping ground with a communal shaded area and a fenced off zone is set aside near Kids Space. A charter bus will run from Federation Square. More information can be found on the Rainbow Serpent Festival website.