Beyond The Valley 2014/15

So yes, I’ll admit – this Beyond The Valley review is almost three weeks late. Why, you ask? Well, I can blame it on numerous facets of my life. Firstly, the festive season as a whole – one of, if not the busiest time of the year. Secondly, lucky me was fortunate enough to be blessed with a hellish flu that plagued my life for an entire fortnight. The inability to breathe properly, vigorous coughing to the point of yacking, frail muscles, faint spells – delicious! What can I say, my body loves me. And then there’s the whole working-in-retail thing. And that radio station gig. Oh yeah, and did I mention that I have this issue with going out and getting drunk? Because life-prioritising is definitely my strong point.

Yes, my friends. I’ve just gotten over using the excuse of “It’s the start of the year – life is that busy!” In my ideal world, I’d be using that for the entire first half of the year, but in my quarter-century lifespan, I’ve been told to stop making excuses for my tardiness. So I’ll say what most people are expecting – this piece is late because I’ve been a lazy fucker. My sincerest apologies.

Now onto what we actually want to be talking about.

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I won’t lie, I was hell excited for this festival. It would be the first time that my friends and I would celebrate the new year countdown at a music festival, rather than making out with each other at a house party or lying face down, vomiting all over Huntingdale Road only a few hours before having to attend Summadayze (i.e. me during the 2010/11 New Years celebrations). And judging by how the road trip began – downing a slab of Somersby apple ciders at 6.30am (apple cider, apple breakfast juice – much of a muchness, really); I instantly knew that this New Years celebration would be incomparable. The sun hadn’t even risen, I was on a one-way train to Drunkville, and there were good vibes all around.

There were a lot of firsts for this event. As previously mentioned, the first time that my group and I would be spending the countdown with a few other thousand people. It was the first New Years that my cousin (slash favourite person on Earth) and I would be celebrating a New Years together as legal drinking adults. It was the first New Years that I knew someone in a band that was performing. And lastly, and most importantly/cliched, it was the first New Years that I decided to not making any stupid New Years resolutions. There was just no point. On a somewhat serious note, 2014 had been one of the best yet most difficult years of my life for numerous reasons: romance, work, confidence. I was driving through life on the most bipolar freeway, and it wasn’t working for me. I promised myself that I’d leave all that behind me once 2015 rolled around. I promised myself that I wasn’t going to preempt anything, but rather take everything as it comes. And granted this piece is three weeks late, I can happily say that this mantra is working out very well. Everything’s good.

But again, I digress.

Arriving at the Beyond The Valley campsite, we were greeted by everyones favourite duo – Mr Gale Force Winds and Mrs Torrential Rain. They just wanted to join the party, I guess! No matter about the fact that we were trying to set up our campsite and that I was wearing a very heavy shearling jacket. But like many of my comrades who took it upon themselves to take shelter in their cars, those of us whom were out to get shit done, did so with a grain of salt. After all, no amount of whinging about the weather was going to stop it, so there was no point getting our (very wet) panties in a twist. Sure, very expensive tents were ripped in the process due to the heinous weather, and it definitely wasn’t the most ideal festival look. But it’s all part of the story, right?

Within what felt like moments, the showers cleared. The wind disappeared. The sun came out to greet us all. And there we all were, sitting around our shredded campsite, getting ready for the day ahead. Unbeknownst to all of us, what felt like 5pm was nearing close to midday – we still had a very long day ahead of us, and nobody was complaining about that.

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It’s at this moment that I really want to send a massive shout out to the Beyond The Valley crew. I don’t know how they made it happen, or even if they tried to make it happen, but there was a certain undeniable vibe about the entire festival. Whether it was a natural occurrence or not, it was hard to move passed just how wonderful everything felt. Bring that down to everyone having the same mentality about beginning a new year fresh-minded and not so fresh-faced, I don’t know. All I know for certain is that it was just a bunch of disco kids, having their cake and definitely eating it too.

Despite particular weather issues or sound issues (in their defence, it was their first year), everyone was having a good time! The days seemed endless, but at the same time seemed to go too quickly. The sun decided to come out and play. And amongst the crowd, we were all having a great time with one another.

From the likes of Lurch & Chief to POND, Willow Beats to Danny Brown, Kaytranada to Peking Duk, Dillon Francis and Pleasurekraft. It was safe to say that the first day of the festival killed it! It’s also at this point that I want to give another massive shout out to the creators of the festivals. Two stages reasonably close to one another? Genius.

Day one finished as day two was about to begin. One disco nap, a slither of an orange, a few bites of a tuna wrap and litres upon litres of water later, I was finally ready to start day two. Well, by “start day two” I mean have a baby wipe shower, and drink so much Red Bull and vodka that you forget how shit you feel after yesterday. Needless to say that worked.

Where day one saw a distinct urgency of getting into the festival, day two was far more relaxed for multiple reasons – predominantly due to the fact that each one of my friends and I were incredibly hungover. The words ‘hair of the dog’ have never been more useful in any of our lives.

It wasn’t until One Day began playing their set that I got my groove back. I never thought that an Australian hip hop supergroup could tickle my fancy as much as they do, but whatever they’re doing is working well. Much on the same note, I have to admit that I’d never been a massive fan of Allday. Yet on this particular occasion, my mind was 120% changed. That guy definitely knows how to entertain an audience. One of my biggest surprises of the festival. And you know for a fact that if an artist is able to change your mind on them, then they have to be doing something right. Hey Allday, I don’t know if you’ll read this. But whatever you’re doing, man. Keep it up!

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As the sun started going down, it started to dawn on me – holy shit, 2014 is very much coming to a close. Now look, as previously mentioned, I’m not usually one of those people that sets new years resolutions for themselves or anything like that. But where 2014 was concerned, I had to set a few ground rules for myself. So I did. And yeah, I haven’t completely changed my ways, but that’s okay. I wanted to ensure that I was going into the new year happy, focused and having fun. And I was. I was surrounded by a bunch of people that I loved, playing with colourful light sticks (or ‘doinks’ as they became known as/obsessed over) and partying to RÜFÜS. Life couldn’t really have gotten much better. Rather than wondering if a random was going to attack me for a new years hook up, I just remember looking around and thinking “Hell fucking yes.” It’s all happening. It was truly amazing being present in that moment.

So, to summarise? You did a bloody good job, Beyond The Valley. Thanks for the memories – or lack thereof. We’ll see you at the end of this year!

Photography:
© Jim Dawe

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