Review: Pitch Music Festival 2017

If there is anything better than the amount of public holidays we are served up here in Victoria, it would have to be the range of options we are given to celebrate it with. However, for the rest of the 6AM crew and myself, the inaugural year of Pitch Music & Arts Festival stood out above the rest.

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A pairing of industry heavyweights and a combination of forces akin to Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed, Novel and Beyond The Valley blessed punters with the greatest underground electronic lineup Australia has ever seen. However, getting the lineup of a lifetime and delivering the weekend of a lifetime are completely different things.

I could have rattled off a long list of which big name DJ’s played marginally better than the superstar before or after them. However, I knew you would get bored, close the tab and then lie to us about reading it. So I decided to stick with what I know and do a review of the festival based on various types of baseball slang and different types of pitches (NOTE: I know nothing about baseball or its jargon, but baseballtips.com does).

Room service — a standard pitch that comes right to a batter, without any deviation.

As far as meeting and not deviating from my expectations go, Pitch delivered on the logistical front. Many would have gone in expecting some teething issues for the first year. However, I have had enough experiences with both Beyond The Valley and Novel to know that the weekend would be run like clockwork. Everything was meticulously planned to make sure everyone else could relax and have an amazing weekend. From the more serious aspects of security and campsite logistics to the equally as impressive range of half sizes that they offered in their makeshift roller-skating rink, all bases were covered (just as I had expected).

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Gopher ball — A pitch destined to be hit for a home run; one that will “go for” a run.

Many festivals fall victim to placing more focus on either the sun-soaked revelry of the day or the later shifts of nocturnal weirdness. To the credit of the team behind Pitch, there wasn’t a minute to be wasted at the campsites with the programming suiting both. Before even mixing their first tracks, many of the Saturday night bookings had already been justified by the fandom and hilarious getups on display. Rødhåd may consider a future political career after seeing his face on a Vote 1 campaign doof stick, whilst an army of Donato Dozzy look-a-likes dug their trench front and centre for the entirety of the Italian maestro’s set. Where Saturday night was a well-crafted journey from the atmospheric into the more relentless ends of techno. Sunday gave little respite for the tired fists as the Innervisions crew and their extended family attracted the biggest crowds all weekend and pure dance floor anarchy followed.

With the kind of lineup they had, you always have to expect some clashing and running between stages. However, the structure of the entire weekend spoiled punters with some very diverse options. I was blown away and knew they had hit the programming out of the park once I abandoned my musical itinerary (yes I am a loser and do this at every festival) and found myself loosening limbs to artists that I would never have expected to even see. The flow was consistent and it made light work of decisions over the weekend, so some serious gold stars are deserved for the brainchildren of the programming.

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Lollipop — A soft pitch or weak throw.

As I mentioned earlier there was a general expectation that there may be some teething issues on the first outing. As a whole, this was not the case. However, the best festivals are experiences. They are experiences that are tweaked and crafted over many years. The community and (for lack of a better word) vibe you get from these festivals don’t appear overnight carried in by a stork. With this in mind, I think the one thing that may have missed the mark in terms of my expectations was the art. This is purely due to the fact that its namesake set it out to be a festival that nicely balanced Art and Music. However, with a lineup resembling a deck of Celebrity Heads (Underground Electronic Deluxe Edition), it wasn’t hard to tell which of the two received more attention. Standing alone the installations, decor and audio-visual offerings were great. However personally, I feel that the 2018 edition of Pitch could really benefit from one connecting theme or style. I believe that would help connect the work and give the experience with it some more consistency.

As a punter who witnessed the rise and demise of the bigger festivals in Australia and is now happily riding the current boutique wave, Pitch is far more than another player in the game. The festival symbolises the pinnacle thus far of what has become of the present day dance scene in Australia. Although it was only its first year sat at the foot of The Grampians, a standard has been set and I am certain it will climb higher over the many years to come.

📷: Ryan Sauer Media

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