Mushroom Valley: More than just a party in the bush
HOW DID 2000 people of different backrounds, classes, occupations, races and beliefs come together to celebrate, dance, camp, learn and love for four days?
With the help of Ben Irving, Natalie Barnes and their festival Mushroom Valley of course.
Thousands of people from around Australia poured into Cathus State Forest to celebrate Mackay’s only musicial alternative culture festival for four days - and celebrate they did.
International acts like Rinkadink, Serial Killerz and Fungus Funk were on site from as far abroad as Russia and the UK.
Mackay region artists Synoptic and Discord also made their debut at the event, impressing the crowd at Friday’s Drum’n’Bass night.
Mr Irving and Ms Barnes were responsible for pulling off the epic event, but they agreed it wouldn not be possible without their team.
“The event was a huge success. We couldn’t be happier. We have the most amazing crew, artist, performers, market stalls, food stalls, production team and punters that come and help us continue this amazing journey,” Mr Irving said.
The duo put in a stellar effort this year to introduce fresh aspects including new festival site features, acts and a mind-bending light show — which Mr Irving said was one of the most memorable parts of the whole weekend.
Mr Irving said each year, a huge effort was put into designing a new and fresh stage design, and the international artist worked on the designs for months.
“We have a very talented French artist Toraki (Maureen Barbette) who has been with us for two years now,” he said.
“Her wild mind and undivided devotion to the stage is the driving power for the amazing creation. We allow her to go with what she feels and let her create what comes to her.
“She has the support of another artist (Electros) Jonny Avocado from Townsville who is by her side painting and creating the awe-inspiring stage that you saw.”
The duo always hoped the event would grow to be such a professional production and were excited to see where the event would go in the future.
“We are stoked and overwhelmed at how far the event has come. We have so many amazing people who help to create this festival with us and we are ever so appreciative of everyone involved,” Mr Irving said.
“They are the driving force and the reason we are still doing this, they give us the motivation to do better and better every year.”
While the pair hates to play favourites out of respect for each artist, Mr Irving said there was a pretty special performance after the closing ceremony.
“On the Sunday evening after the indigenous closing ceremony, Kodiak Kid did a mind-blowing gangsta whomp set that was accompanied by some epic visuals,” he said.
“It was pretty amazing and had the crowd in non-stop movement. Rinkadink was also a favourite and a crowd-pleaser … and those Mood Swing and Chevy Bass boys always manage to get a massive booty bopping dancefloor.”
The crew is already gearing up for the next event, Underground Safari, with New Zealand’s funkiest export Grouch. The event will be held at Mama Africa on November 1 from 9pm.