About This Festival
Each long weekend during the Australia Day national holiday, the small town of Lexton in regional Victoria swells from its sleepy population of around 150 to over 10,000 as festival-goers from around the world arrive for the annual Rainbow Serpent Festival.
The Rainbow Serpent Festival has come a long way since it started in 1998, from a small gathering in a secluded clearing to an internationally recognized festival. The festival has become an institution to many of its loyal followers.
The festival offers much more than the usual lineup of electronic music. It is a chance to truly escape the commercialism of the modern day world and reconnect with the earth in a way that the aboriginals have done for many thousands of years.
While not a traditional aboriginal ceremony the festival shares many of the spiritual aspects of the aboriginal dreamtime traditions through a combination of music, art, performance, spiritual education, relaxation and healing. The festival name comes from the aboriginal dreamtime – the Rainbow Serpent is an extremely important creation figure in aboriginal beliefs and mythology, with the serpent having said to shape the landscape of the earth. When a rainbow is seen in the sky it is said to be the Rainbow Serpent moving from one waterhole to another. The Rainbow Serpent is a protector of the land and the source of all life. It is one of the oldest continuing religious beliefs in the world and continues to be a major cultural and spiritual influence to the Australian aboriginals to this day.
Rainbow Serpent Festival Is Where The Music Never Stops
The Rainbow Serpent Festival is largely known for its music, featuring genres such as psytrance, chillout, tech house and other variants of these styles. Mostly electronic-based, the music runs 24 hours per day over four days.
There are five stages across the festival – Main Stage, Market Stage, Sunset Stage, Chillout Stage and Playground Stage. The Main Stage is not necessarily the most popular stage, although it boasts the highest production costs, focusing on harder electronic music styles such as psytrance. The Market Stage hosts many of the headline DJs offering a wider variety of styles including tech house, ambient and glitch hop running continuously over a 72-hour period.
For those who prefer a more intimate environment, the Sunset Stage caters to a smaller crowd while the Chillout Stage offers a place to relax and enjoy the chilled vibe while lazing on a beanbag.
Creativity in Abundance
While the music on offer is mostly electronic, the Playground Stage showcases independent bands or live instrumental performances. Here there are other acts ranging from comedians, cabaret and burlesque performances to magicians. The Playground Stage also attracts some of Australia's best circus performers and fire twirlers.
For those needing a break from the music, another major attraction during the festival is the multitude of artwork on display. Artists are encouraged to showcase exhibitions, sculptures, digital art and paintings, many that spontaneously appear throughout the festival weekend. Be sure to experience the various artworks (from the weird and wonderful to the awe-inspiring and animated) at the Evolve Gallery, which is located in the Lifestyle Village.
A Sustainable Soul
The “soul” mission of the Rainbow Serpent Festival is to be as environmentally conscious as possible. Festival goers are encouraged to only bring what they need over the four days, while every car that arrives also receives a bag for campsite recycling in exchange for a deposit, which is refunded at the end of the event when you return the bag with your recyclables. With 70% of the event's carbon footprint related to transport to and from the festival, an alternative mode of transport are shuttle buses that run from the town of Beaufort (approximately 20 minutes away) from Friday to Sunday.
This sustainable spirit of the festival also translates to the Rainbow Serpent Marketplace, an approximately one kilometer-long line of stalls selling a variety of sustainable and ethical products. The marketplace sells anything from handmade clothing and accessories, musical instruments, massage therapies or scrumptious food and drinks.
Tent, Teepee or Yurt at the Rainbow Serpent Festival?
The festival is a camping event so festival goers need to bring everything needed to supply their own campsites. Many people decide to erect their own tents over the four days, but another option is the Sleepy Hollow, which provides premium accommodation – whether it is a Mongolian-style yurt/ger, a Native American-inspired teepee or a bell tent as your home away from home for the next few nights. A clear advantage of this option is that your campsite is set up for you when you arrive and will be taken down by the event organizers once you're set to leave.