Inner Varnika '18: Preview
Coming into its 5th edition the now reasonably well matured Victorian based dance music festival, ‘Inner Varnika’ returns over this year's Easter weekend (30th March - 1st of April).
Situated only a brisk two hours away from Melbourne's West, Inner Varnika looks to strengthen its reputation for delivering a high quality, genuine festival rave experience celebrating the rich Victorian scene. Like former years, the festival organisers have placed an emphasis on maintaining its renowned tight-knit community feel, by ensuring audience capacity is set at a minimum and clashes are avoided through the festivals singular-stage layout.
Despite being in perhaps its more formative years as a festival, Inner Varnika looks to have taken a step towards that of a ripened festival asserting its identity in Melbourne's thriving events landscape with their most ambitious bookings yet. For 2018 Inner Varnika’s endeavour has been rewarded, they have gone above and beyond many people's expectations in assembling a brilliant cast propelling them into the fashionable territory of having a lineup larger than its site capacity. Showcasing some of the finest international dance music trendsetters as well as a host of Melbourne's local staples and up-and-comers, this years edition is one that has attracted plenty of attention (tickets are already on final release, you ought to be quick to secure your spot).
Perhaps the most sought after name on this years line up is a former member of George Clinton's Parliament Funkedelic and now a resident of Moodymanns’ ‘Mahogany’ music label is Detroit native Amp Fiddler. A producer and DJ whose sound is constantly paying homage to his motor city roots whilst challenging and developing the way we listen and produce dance music to this day, Amp Fiddler brings a fresh crop of tracks to Victoria with him having released a new record, 'Amp Dog Knights' last year. A premier name and a real statement from the Inner Varnika promoters.
Canadian DJ and producer RAMZi, will be making her Australian debut at Inner Varnika, RAMZi has built a reputation upon her dynamic sound that draws inspiration from the sounds of the East and warped, inconstant soundscapes. An act not to miss and one that embodies the festival's ethos of constantly pushing musical and artistic boundaries.
Juan Mendez, commonly known as Silent Servant is the third recently announced international guest. A musician who fills a darker void of this year's festival will be quick to satisfy the punters after post-punk inspired melancholic techno beats. The Melbourne music is not without those of the techno persuasion and Silent Servant will satiate this local addiction, but not entirely with a set of traditional bass driven 130 warehouse rave cuts. Silent Servant’s productions are somewhat of a techno curiosity, divergent and wistful - a booking well in line with the festival's personality.
I have a lot of time for a musical scholar who can articulate their musical wisdom into well structured, enjoyable sets. A rare breed, but in Finn Johannsen Inner Varnika have secured one of these canny operators. A selector with a deep library of music, expect to see Johannsen delve into his fascination of 80's garage tracks, both lower BPM relaxed tunes and powerful, driving punchier cuts. A selector with genuine expertise, I suspect we'll all benefit from his study in this particular area.
Inner Varnika has since its inception been a breeding ground for local Victorian talent to cut their teeth, and in an environment where punters are not only open to the experimental and audacious but actively seek it. The festival grounds of Inner Varnika have proved fertile grounds for the seeds of Victorian dance music to sew, lay roots and ultimately, flourish.
Record store residents from Alley Tunes represent a particularly essential community for Melbournian dance music, their booking not only a testament to their ability and varied selections behind the turntables, but also a nod in appreciation to the ground level of dance music - the curators of wax markets. Krakatau, Jnett, Rosa Terenzi, Pjenne & Millu and Toni Yotzi paint a familiar picture I’m sure we have all seen spattered across the events feeds of our Facebook accounts, Inner Varnika is nothing if not an amalgamation of the Melbourne underground. While the names are familiar through the forging of fond dance floor memories in the Boney’s and co of inner Melbourne, the setting for the congregation at Inner Varnika is an annual affair, rather than the every other weekend event we are treated to from the workhorses of the local scene. And with this removal from our regular habitats comes a different, even more tantalising expectation - the names are the same, the experience is drastically altered for both selector and punter and that is a thrilling proposition.
Inner Varnika is now on final release. Secure yours here.
Full line up:
RAMZi [LIVE + DJ] (Total Stasis/Mood Hut/12th Isle)
Silent Servant (Jealous God/Sandwell District)
Amp Fiddler [LIVE] (Mahogani Music)
Jane Fitz (Night Moves/Freerotation)
Touching Bass (Alex Rita & Andwot)
Finn Johannsen (Macro/Hard Wax)
Different Fountains [LIVE] (Meakusma)
Dresvn [LIVE] (Acido Records/Sued)
Fia Fiell [LIVE + DJ]
Freda & Jackson [LIVE]
Pjenné & Millú
Roza Terenzi [LIVE]
Silent Jay & Jace XL [LIVE]
Winters & Lucifer [LIVE]