WAS PARADISE REALLY PARADISE?
Unlike other music festivals, Paradise was held at the Lake Mountain Alpine Resort. Ever been to a festival that’s on top of a freaking mountain, let alone at an alpine resort?
Festival goers camped in their tents along the sprawling ski tracks surrounding the resort, which were of course snowless, as Summer had just blossomed in Australia. There was a natural amphitheatre outdoors, where indie, electronic and folk acts shined. An indoor nightclub bristled with sonic energy, tucked away in the bottom level of the resort. Also inside the heated building was a cafeteria selling hot food, as well as sparkly clean showers and toilets, if you so wished to temporarily withdraw from the regular outdoor festival camping experience.
23-year-old Festival Director Andre Hillas said, “most music festivals are usually held on farms or paddocks, without many facilities, and you usually have to make do for a few days. But I feel like it’s possible to do a festival with showers and clean toilets and bars and buildings, but still do BYO and charge a fair price for things.”
As for music at Paradise, Andre said, “we have an all-Australian lineup of independent and innovative musicians who are doing really sick things in music venues across Australia, and I feel like we care a lot more about that than other festivals that prioritise big international acts.”
The musicians Andre spoke of included up-and-coming Aussie acts Client Liason, Rat & Co, Naysayer and Gilsun (DJ set), Oisima, Elisabeth Rose, Millions, Friendships, Alta, Animaux, Electric Sea Spider, DEJA, Donny Benet, I’lls, Wafia, LUCIANBLOMKAMP, Post Percy, No Zu and many others.
With no crabby neighbours nearby to complain about noise, bands and DJs played until 3am. “It’s cool having bands late at night rather than just electronic music,” Simon Lam, singer of electronic/experimental trio I’lls, said.
And what did I’lls think of Paradise? “I love it. It’s really smart. The location is so different and you don’t have to travel far for it. No other festival has this barren, remote feeling,” Simon said.
One spritely festival-goer said, “Paradise is like a really cool kid; a kid that has style. Like a six-year-old that rocks Doc Martins and chews blue bubblegum. The fucken coolest kid around.” Another girl said, “there is less pretension here. The people actually came here to enjoy the music. They’re not thinking about being part of the scene or getting fucked up.”
Despite a surprisingly frosty first night, Paradise Music Festival beamed incessantly with friendliness and warmth. Most of the gracious and helpful staff were volunteers: friends of the Director, Andre, or friends of friends, or family members. With only 800 attendees in its opening year, the vibe lay somewhere between sunflowers and melted chocolate. “Everyone knows everyone here,” Andre said, while on rubbish duty early Saturday morning. “It’s been a lot of hard work, but when you see it working, and people happy and enjoying themselves, it’s all worth it.”
Find out more about Paradise here.
Words by Iain Excellent
Photos by Chris Le Messurier