The Rainbow Serpent Festival is a large electronic music, art and lifestyle festival, located in Victoria, Australia. The festival is mainly known for Psychedelic trance and Minimal Techno music, but also features other genres of electronic music and non electronic music in the smaller stages. The festival also has many art installations, work shops and other attractions. Recent years have seen the festival expand from a purely music-driven event, to one that places an emphasis on sustainability, well-being, performance and art.
The festival occurs on the Australia Day long weekend. The more recent festivals have been held on farmland in the vicinity of Beaufort, Victoria. The festival provides a source of capital to the Beaufort area and enjoys a positive relationship with the township. In 2008 the Rainbow Serpent Festival won the FasterLouder Festival Award for Value for Money. The name Rainbow Serpent comes from the Aboriginal dreamtime creation myth of the Rainbow Serpent.
Rainbow Serpent Festival is known largely for its music, featuring styles from chillout, to tech house, psytrance, and many variants of these styles. Mostly electronic based Rainbow Serpent has seen DJ’s, producers, and live bands. The music runs 24 hours per day usually for over four days.
The Main Stage at Rainbow Serpent is not in any way supposed to be the ‘best’ stage. While it does boast the highest production values, it focuses on harder music such as Psytrance. Usually the stage begins with an ambient act, and progressively increases in energy throughout the night. The Main Stage runs for 24 hours, starting at 6:00pm Saturday night, and finishes 6:00pm Sunday night.
The Market Stage plays a large variety of music ranging from ambient, glitch hop, and tech house to psytrance. The Market Stage is the longest running stage at the festival, starting on the Friday night, and finishing early on Monday evening, it runs for about 72 hours continuously with no breaks except for one hour for the Main Stage opening ceremony. Many of the headliner acts actually play on the Market Stage, rather than on the Main Stage depending on their music style. The Monday afternoon on the Market Stage is widely regarded as one of the highlights of the festival, much like Saturday night on the Main Stage is.
The Sunset Stage plays a variety of music, and throughout the festival, however, it closes for the 24 hour duration of the Main Stage opening. The Sunset Stage is a favorite of many who prefer smaller crowds and more specifics acts and genres than the Market Stage and the Main Stage provide.
The Chillout Stage runs throughout the festival, and is a place to relax while still enjoying the music. It contains many places to sit, often including bean bags, carpets, and shade cloths. It is not uncommon for acts from the Market Stage or the Main Stage to do sets on the Chillout stage, playing toned down and chilled versions of the tracks they are known for.
The Playground Stage, also known as the Band Stage, caters for mostly non-electronic genres of music involving live instruments. This stage gives a lot of opportunity for Melbourne’s independent music scene to partake in the festival, and for people looking for a break from the electronic genre. Non-musical performers are often featured on the Playground Stage ranging from magicians, to comedians, mimes, and fire twirlers.