Words by Zane Dean. Photos sourced via Beyond The Valley’s Facebook.

I tend to find New Year’s Eve pretty average. Generally speaking, I usually end up at a house party with a bunch of mates like any other Saturday night, but you can hear fireworks in the distance. And for one brief moment at midnight, every couple I know makes out in unison, leaving me and a few other sad-sacks to play twenty-seventh wheel. So, when the chance to head to Beyond The Valley came up, I absolutely jumped at the opportunity.

This was the inaugural Beyond The Valley, a two-night camping festival on Philip Island in Victoria. You should go to the next one, trust me. It’s worth the roadtrip. It was an extremely well-organised festival in a great location with a brilliant line-up.

The general structure of the festival seemed to be “bands during the day, DJs at night”, which is a pretty logical way of going about it. The Preatures and Ball Park Music delivered tight, fun sets to warm up the crowd as the sun went down on the first night. It was after that that things really kicked into gear, though.

Kaytranada was incredible. I’m a huge fan of this guy already, and he absolutely smashed out his set. This guy can go from 70s disco deep cuts to knocking trap tunes and make the transition seem flawless. When he dropped his remix of Janet Jackson’s ‘If’, it was a proper moment. Danny Brown and AlunaGeorge also crushed their live sets; both acts are seasoned performers at this point and had the crowd singing along to every word. I absolutely embarrassed myself dancing in a way no white guy should ever dance when Danny Brown dropped ‘Attak’:

Basenji, Hermitude and Cosmos Midnight also owned their respective DJ sets. Peking Duk were another highlight – these guys know how to do a proper party set, and they were easily having the most fun of anyone at the festival. (They dropped ‘Sandstorm’. Just like they did at Stereosonic. I’m still not sure about the resurgence this track is having lately.)

The second day was equally as brilliant, with a couple of Adelaide acts getting some love. Collarbones were a huge burst of energy quite early in the afternoon, and Allday had the crowd absolutely eating out of his hand.

Bakermat‘s set was pretty on-point, featuring a dude playing saxophone live over the tracks. He went for an impressively long time. I simply couldn’t ever play the saxophone for that long, under any circumstances. Thomas Jack and Indian Summer were other DJ highlights as we approached midnight.

Rufus saw the new year in, and managed to miss the moment 2015 began. They did a countdown at like 12:03am anyway, and nobody seemed to mind.

The party kept going for ages after that. Motez won himself a few new fans, and Golden Features and Friend Within crushed it.

So, musically, Beyond The Valley was pretty on-point. Everything else was handled well, too: the location was amazing (even despite the first night being freezing cold), the food selection was great, the crowd was chilled and well-behaved, and the bar was one of the smoothest and quickest I’ve ever seen at a festival. I met the nicest bartender who reminded me to drink water and told me my jumper was nice. I appreciated that. Wherever you are, really tall blonde woman, I hope you’re having a good day.

The one flaw was that the crew took a weirdly long time setting up between acts and everything ran late. But, that didn’t really get in the way of anyone’s fun.

If you’re looking to get out of Adelaide for New Year’s Eve this year, I’d definitely recommend making the pilgrimage Beyond The Valley. If they pull together something half as good this year as they did the year just gone, you’re set for a pretty rad time.

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