Each year during August, a remote part of south-western New South Wales is transformed.
From a sleepy piece of land normally used for cattle farming, into a mini-community filled with open minded people, music, stages, art & food stalls.
Ohh, and Noisy Chickens. We can’t forget the Noisy Chickens!
This is Psyfari.
It’s not your typical music festival. Not like the ones you see in the papers or the ones you see on the 6PM News.
No, this is for those who actually want to be there for the right reasons. For the music, the location, the community and for the amazing people that make the trek from far and wide every year. Who want to be part of something!
Having done my fair share of music photography in the past, I was lucky enough to be invited to be part of the 2013 festival as one of their music festival photographers. It was my first year there and although I hadn’t been told the address till 2 days before the event…I packed my gear to what I thought I would need. Early on Saturday morning, I made the 3-hour drive out towards the site…
After I found my own little spot in the midst of camper-vans and tents I wandered around the huge cattle farm to get my bearings.
It was huge. And stunningly beautiful! Tree’s reaching into the sky, fields going as far as the eye can see.
Set in a valley in the bush there’s not a single thing to hear except nature’s noises – and the music thumping from 3 stages purposefully set-up for this event!
With music ranging from wobbly beats to psychedelic trance, funky reggae to drum & bass, chill, electroswing, gypsy sounds and so much more, there’s pretty much music going non-stop for 3 days with something to suit everybody, at any time.
As day turned into night, the festival came alive! The music turned up, the fire twirlers came out to mesmerise and the lights lit the dark sky. It really was something special to be in such a remote location but still feel such a great vibe from everyone I spoke to.
A few personal highlights from my 24-hours spent at Psyfari include:
- The smiles & people. Seriously, everyone was smiling, all the time. One of the best vibes I’ve had at a music festival after working at them for almost 10 years!
- The costumes & outfits. People put an insane amount of time and effort into their outfits for this event!
- Even the “neighbours” (who live 20km away!) came by for a visit and the whole town got involved.
- The decor and set-up. With some of the art and decor being worked on by volunteers for well over 6 months and spread all through the bush. There’s always something new to see as you go exploring.
- The night sky! Being in the middle of pretty much nowhere, there is very little light pollution which means you get to see an amazing array of stars!! I even spied the Milky Way Galaxy arching over the festival at one point. Amazing. (photo below)
Things I learnt from Psyfari:
- Baby wipes are your best friend. BEST FRIEND. More valuable than gold.
- Sleeping in the back seat of a hatchback is very uncomfortable.
- The cafe (which is actually a road registered bus/cafe with a rooftop seating area) is amazing. Fresh coffee is a god-send on a cold morning with 4 hours sleep.
With the 2014 Psyfari Festival fast approaching, I’d recommend going to the Psyfari website and purchase tickets while you still can!
I’ll be there again this year and will hopefully capture some more amazing music photography from the artists, people and location!
Below are some of my personal faviourite shots that I captured from the festival!
Here is the 2013 re-cap movie done by the super-talented guys at Webeo Media!
I like to think this gives a little sense of scale to the vast amount of land we had to work and enjoy at Psyfari.
Some of the epic art installations a Psyfari, with the camp ground in the background, dwarfed by the massive valley & hills!
Goa Place. Your one-stop Psyfari camping ground!
Psyfari is an all ages event. Many people bought their children for the event. Even other people from the town came down to check out the 1000+ people!
Main stage at Psyfari Festival 2013
An overview of the main camp site, with the beautiful valley in the background.
Being in a valley, the entire site is surrounded by cliffs and mountains. There was always a spot to get away from everything and relax.
Camp site at sunset.
DJ @ Psyfari
People moving up from the camp site towards the festival.
One of the many artists on the 2nd stage at Psyfari Festival.
Psyfari Festival 2013
Dust rising from the ground as a reveller places a soft toy in the middle of the dance floor.
The owner. This guy owns the land in which Psyfari takes place each year and always makes a point of coming down and talking to all the festival!
The main crew! The owners of the property, plus the amazing people who put so much effort into putting on the event each year.
During the Welcoming Ceremony, it was all hands in the air, feet stomping, dancing good times.
Psyfari, during the Welcoming Ceremony.
Noisy Chickens welcome you to Psyfari!
Singer at Psyfari
Three girls wearing their costumes walk towards the main stage for the Welcoming Ceremony.
Dancers, stompers, jumpers.
The 2nd stage of Psyfari. Where most of the live artists preformed.
As dust rises, and the sun shines through.
The smallest stage of the event, yet still so much detail!
Fire twirlers perform during the 2nd night of Psyfari
Fire twirlers at night at the 2nd stage. The entire stage was assembled and taken down all within 48 hours!
One of the many dancers at the 2nd stage. Plus just a little dust!
Kobra Kai perform on Saturday night.
Main stage at night, with lights reaching into the tree tops
When fire twirling is a little too dangerous – you turn to LED Twirling!
The huge camp fire burns behind the main stage at Psyfari.
The lights and lazes at Psyfari were by far one of the highlights! The colours projected not only onto the décor but the surrounding trees was a sight to be seen!
The main stage décor and setup took over 6 months to create and setup!
Psyfari Festival, with the Milky Way stretching overhead, lights and dust rising from the ground.
The morning after the night before.
This is a photo I’ve wanted to capture for a long time!! Dust, bare feet, dancing. It’s what it’s all about…
One of my main objects of working at Psyfari was photos like this.