Take a Ride on the Rainbow Serpent
Long before Australia Day weekend was a thing, the indigenous people of Australia followed a spiritual framework referred to in the West as Dreamtime. These beliefs were made of stories passed down from generation to generation, one of which is an aboriginal creation myth about the Rainbow Serpent.
This spiritual figure is said to have shaped the world by rising from the earth’s water holes, creating mountains, ridges and riverbeds while controlling rain and water. Though aboriginal culture unfortunately declined with colonization, the figure’s transformational nature and connection to the environment is a clear influence on the Australian people, inspiring a group of them to create the Rainbow Serpent Festival, a music and arts gathering in Victoria, Australia.
The inaugural event was held in 1998, but was nothing like its modern incarnation. Rainbow Serpent was originally a psytrance and techno festival, but has since grown to become something more strongly resembling Burning Man. Electronic music is still the foundation of the festival, with performances running 24 hours a day across five stages, though not all of it is for dance.
The main stage has the most elaborate production, and is usually dedicated for high-energy dance music. Other venues like the intimate Sunset Stage cater to everything from ambient music to glitch hop, while the Playground Stage showcases independent acts and live bands, in addition to comedians, cabaret, magicians and circus performers. Art is another huge component of this festival, with a variety of paintings, sculptures and digital art appearing during the four days, many of which are at the Evolve Gallery, located in Lifestyle Village.