Vicious Presents: Paradise Music 2014

As Australians, we thrive on the excitement of music festivals. Well, most of us do anyway. Escaping reality for anything from a full day to an entire week can be just what the doctor ordered. And no amount of dirt under the fingernails, baby wipe showers or horrendous hangovers can take away from that. We’re true Ozzie battlahz and we know how to hustle. For some of us, it’s a life source. It’s what keeps us from going insane; those few days in paradise…Paradise Music, that is.

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Speaking with creator of the festival and all-round good guy, Andre Hillas, it is evident that a lot of hard work and common sense has gone into the creation of the festival, which will see its second birthday next month.

“You’re doing BYO for the festival. Talk to me,” I insist of Andre.
He, amused, replies with this: “A couple of years ago we’d never run a festival, but we went to heaps. And then when we began running one, we were like ‘Well, what do we like in a festival?’ And BYO was probably right up there as number one. BYO and the vibe and the line-up and the crowd. We’re really fortunate that Lake Mountain has a licence, so we can bring our own alcohol up there.”

“We’re not going to do that thing where we force you to drink just our drinks for three days because that would be the worst for you. Because why do you want to pay a few hundred dollars for drinks just to have fun when you can…not?”

See that? Common sense.

Headed to its home of Lake Mountain Alpine Resort for the second year running, Paradise Music is treating its punters to a delicious line-up of good vibes and local talent including the likes of Kirin J Callinan, Oscar Key Sung, Banoffee, I’lls, UV Boi and Lucianblomkamp. The festivities kick off at the beautiful destination on Friday November 28, and will last the entire weekend – wrapping up on Sunday November 30. And from what Andre tells me, it’s not really going to be much like any other festival that you’ve been to. Well, it will. But, it won’t at the same time.

“We ended up [deciding on Lake Mountain Alpine Resort], and we were just like ‘This is ridiculously good.’ It’s funny, because at first we were like ‘Oh, this doesn’t really work for us…There are buildings, what do we do? People want to feel like they’re getting away from the city and stuff.’ But then we were like ‘Hang on, no. Let’s embrace this and really make it a thing; celebrate the showers and the toilets and the electricity, and all the good things that actually are good and people like to have them in their life.’ And people responded well to it.”

He laughs, “A few people like to do it tough, but at the end of the day, you still can if you want to. You don’t have to have a shower, it’s up to you. We’re using that location…[because] the area is just so beautiful, and really unique to what a festival looks like. And, following that, it’s got great facilities and amenities, and the staff there were just so welcoming of us so it’s an all-round great deal.”

Real showers and real toilets at a camping festival? Who would’ve thought?

Nothing excites me more than the prospect of being surrounded by a beautiful landscape, with likeminded individuals, supporting on-point local talent. And BYO goon sack? I’m sorry, did I just die and go to heaven?

Focusing on the line-up, it’s hard to not be in awe of the calibre of local talent that graces it; from those that are more on the “well known” spectrum to those that are just starting out. As aptly described on the official Paradise Music Facebook page, the festival is “a weekend-long celebration of contemporary music and art.”

“There are heaps of good musicians, and there are a lot of internationals playing the same kind of music and they’re getting heaps of airplay, but not as many locals do. Not to say that they don’t get airplay – they definitely do, but it can be overlooked and it’s just the nature of the beast; whatever’s popular is going to get a mention. But, you know, we’re small and we don’t have a whole lot of money to spend on acts, so we’re just booking the sick dudes that we can afford to book from Australia. And I stand by every single booking that we make because, when you’ve got a whole year to think about who’s going to be on the line-up, you really take your time to think about who’s going to make the line-up…It’s just good.”

“Prior to running this festival, I’d done another festival with a friend called Inca Road, which is a great event but, unfortunately, it’s actually not happening this year…I ran that for two years. The first year was just a massive party, like so many people do on a farm – had like 100, 150 people come to it…it wasn’t much of a festival. You know, one of those white carport marquee things with the shittest little stage that we built. We did the whole thing for a couple of thousand dollars donations and whatever, and it was great. The second year round, we thought ‘Let’s do it for real.’ So Daniel and I put in the effort to turn it into a proper event, and it was great. We went from 100, 150 people to…400 the next year. We had to legitimise everything, pick the structure. It was a non-profit event, so we formed a non-profit club – like a social club kind of thing. Following that I [decided that] I was going to go do Paradise by myself. I’d finished my four years of uni and was like ‘What the fuck am I going to do with my life? I’ve got nothing’, except for these shit jobs that I had been working at, and am still doing currently to fund the whole thing because, you know, if everything doesn’t go to plan…”

“So yeah, I started [Paradise] last year and put in probably more effort than the prior year, got a bit of a team around me…Paradise started last year and it was quite a…big effort. And it went well! So now we’re doing it again. [Starting it] was a pretty organic road from the beginning. But you decide every decision along the way – how much you want to increase the scale and the size and all of that.”

“I think, ideally, the point of the festival is not as big as we’d like it to be because of the space of Lake Mountain. We want to grow it for the next two years, but it’s gonna hit a point where it starts to saturate and it’s going to feel much like a typical festival, and we don’t want that for Paradise. At that point, we’d just have to decide what we do – if we have an off-shoot event, or if we have a touring event or multiple things. I’m not sure.”

“[For the time being] we’re really just focusing on putting on a sick one for the next couple of years…at this point, we don’t even really know the interest from people yet. Like, we get a lot of feedback, but until the weekend happens – like, in my mind, it’s still a fairly small budding festival. It’s not to say that we haven’t thought about [the future of Paradise]. We know that we want to grow the event, and we want to grow an events company based around it, and then that can be the flagship event. For me, that’s the answer to that. We want to start to, you know, have more gigs and manage a few more acts and have a bit more of a role in the music industry.”

Listen, I could go on and on. But no amount of written context will perfectly portray the sheer wonderment I hold for Andre Hillas; that is, until you speak to him in person. At just 24-years-old, and of course with the help of a dedicated team, he has put together a boutique festival that celebrates the Australian music festival culture perfectly.

Paradise Music will be held next month at the majestic Lake Mountain Alpine Resort from November 28-30.

For more information and ticket sales, head to the official Paradise Music website and Facebook page.

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