BTV 2018/19: Review
As the Valley regains its vacancy, we reflect on what was likely the most successful instalment of Beyond the Valley to date.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how this festival continues to raise the bar – one area to acknowledge is the production aspects. Both the Dance Tent and Main Stage designs were absolutely on-point and the sound at both stages was flawless, with Funktion-Ones spread out to reach every corner of the crowd. Word has it even people living a good 15 minutes of hill-covered country-side away, enjoyed a lil NYE boogie in their backyard to the pulsating bass.
My first venture to the Dance Tent was in anticipation of Melbourne’s rapidly-rising Casettes for Kids. I think most people walking away from this set would coin him the surprise package of the festival – a disco-focused performance worthy of any festival’s sunset-slot. A memorable moment was the track ‘I Still Want You’ by Mange Le Funk, before finishing his set off with the powerful vocals of Jasper Street Co.’s ‘Reach’. Expecting a huge spike in interest in 2019.
After a half hour delay due to a generator malfunction, Joey Bada$$ was the second headliner to grace the main stage. I was pleasantly surprised with the crowd turnout to the rappers set, in a lineup heavily dominated by DJ powerhouses. With Kölsch clashing in the Dance tent, it was great to see attendees still appreciate and not shy away from the main stage. The 23 year-old’s perfect mix of ‘1999’ and the more recent tracks from ‘ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$’, delivered on all fronts. When one moshpit wasn’t enough, Joey ordered three more. Closing out the Main stage for the night was Willaris. K. Staying true to his unique and unpredictable style, he was joined on stage with Odesza-esque dancers covered entirely in black cloth and bright red lighting striped across their faces. He proceeded to play a set full of long build-ups accompanied by some of his most well-received tracks.
The next day, the Dance Tent hosted two of Figaro’s highlights from the festival – Italy’s own DJ Tennis delivered one hell of a set. Manfredi showcased his genre diversity as always, touching on techno and all aspects of disco. As the night rolled on, the crowds techno tastebuds were craving something heavier – this prayer was answered by Brazilian techno export ANNA. I don’t classify myself as a lover of techno, but this set made me question why. ANNA fuelled the crowd with a wide selection of dark, ambient and even dub-techno. This was seriously some impressive work – the crowd didn’t have a chance to rest. Figaro’s vote for most impressive Dance Tent set over the course of the festival: Obrigada ANNA.
It was interesting to see Bonobo’s DJ set pull only half the crowd that we were used to seeing at the main stage for the festival. Nonetheless, the UK legend made sure he wouldn’t be forgotten among the Peggy Gous of the Dance Tent. With the sun setting for the final time in 2018, Bonobo treated the Valley to some crowd-favourites, amping them up with heavier-hitting drops and bass to really get the party started. A really special moment for the crowd.
The entire set-up of the festival has to be commended – most importantly, the lack of bottleneck areas that Australian festival goers are all too familiar with, which leave sardine-can crowds in a dangerous push to the stage. It’s fair to say this will never be an issue under BTV’s watch. There was impressive variety with the food stalls, it was great to see many catering for allergies, vegan and other dietary requirements. The drinks were affordable – when you’re paying $9 for a tinnie these days it’s reason to celebrate, and free water all over the site. BTV continue to improve on previous years, and for a festival with only 5 years under its belt, the future is looking bloody bright.
Photog: Alexandra Drewniak