8 MUSINGS // Beyond The Valley 2015

Another year done and dusted. And if you went to Beyond The Valley, it was quite literally dusted. As far as festivals go, BTV is a baby. It’s only in its second year, with this year being its first time in Lardner (relocated from last year’s former Pyramid Rock venue). How did it live up?

In a thesaurus, you’ll find “RL Grime” under “Lit”

He brought a show to be proud of. Delicious trap and bass music that collectively blew the entire festivals’ minds. Simply put, he was one of the most anticipated acts and he lived up to the hype.

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, why disappoint me so? 

By far, the one I was looking most forward to. TEED creates some incredible music. Some incredible music that I was hoping to actually hear? Unfortunately, I received a bleak and uninspiring set. Thankfully, Anna Lunoe did a way better job in the dance tent.

A traumatising 18,000

As always, there is a mixture of people, but an unfortunate number of fuckboys/girls and Stereo heads made an unwelcome appearance at BTV. I used to look down on the inauthentic VIP ticket buyers but I’d happily become one of these wankers next year if it means avoiding the crowd and the slums of general camping. General camping is a disturbing experience at the best of times, but this was simply nek level.

In a thesaurus, you’ll find “Jamie xx” under “Swoon”

Jamie xx was another much anticipated act, but one that left a slight bitter taste in many’s mouths with the glaring omission of “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)”. After the flies, this was the second most heard complaint of the festival. I, however, couldn’t get enough of his set. It was creative, had appropriate peaks and troughs, and a good mixture of his own tracks and other pieces. Comparing him to Falls Festival last year, the improvement is outstanding. While he has been around for many years, his 2015 album release In Colour has definitely thrown him into the public domain, which likely helped the crowd go off its head. The Falls crowd was simply not feeling it the year before.

New Years Eve never fails to disappoint

More often than not, the NYE countdown is a letdown. Flight Facilities are Australian music legends and I previously had little doubt in my mind that they wouldn’t do our NYE justice. But it was a rushed affair with zero lead-up and nothing to back it up either. A little more firepower would not have been out of place. Even having the happy-go-lucky San Cisco pumping up the crowd with their pure joy music beforehand, and Tkay Maidza bringing the house down straight after the countdown would have worked better. Speaking of which, Tkay really did bring it. I saw her last at the Northcote Social Club where she didn’t quite nail her set but look at her now! The festival stage is where she belongs. She brought the heat in a fabulously sparkly orange number, and incorporated all-round crowd-pleasers including “Tell Me” by What So Not and had George Maple join her onstage for new track “Ghost”.

Did Owl Eyes turn every single person at Beyond The Valley on? 

She does it again. What an absolute babe.

The all-important set times

Just a tiny little facet of the festival. When the hell are the artists playing? Noise level restrictions (Listen Out round 2 anyone?) was the reason for the extreme delay (released the day before the festival), but the lack of communication was frustrating. Once released, the set time choices were questionable. As discussed, while on paper Flight Facilities is a great New Years choice, they didn’t suit the vibe. Over on the dance stage, Remi was the second New Years option – not 100% sold on that choice either. And why was Jamie xx in the middle of the day? His music is made to dance in the dark to.

With a little more work and experience, Beyond The Valley has the potential to be a player in the circuit

However, at this stage, it was not the most perfectly organised festival. Complaints flew in thick and fast: no ice, no shade, dirty toilets, dusty, lengthy wait times, unhelpful staff…the list ticks on. From my perspective, there was a bit too much nepotism involving the festival directors as well. While some of these critiques most likely arise from inexperience and a lack of legacy, how can the organisers control something like the weather? Running a festival ain’t a joke, it takes some serious guts and hard work. As a normal festival punter, it’s easy to forget all the tiny elements that build an event up. There is a lot you can do it minimise damages, but where is the line drawn on the punters being sensible enough to look after themselves, and the festival itself looking after them? At the end of the day though, you need to provide a festival that supports the punters’ fun and well being. It’s so easy to land in a PR and social media disaster. (Sidenote, if you want some solid entertainment of a poor girl getting absolutely roasted for having a go at BTV, have a read of this.) 2015’s artists were tight but the festival itself struggled to maintain this quality. However, if BTV pulls another excellent lineup next year, the crowds will no doubt still come.

Exclusively hand-picked just for you, by Jane.  

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