Australia’s Picture Perfect 'Pitch Festival'

By Clare Blakebrough

Following its debut in 2017, Pitch returned for its second year with a lineup equally as impressive. The four day, three stage, camping festival, set at the foot of the Grampians National Park, was eagerly awaited by all those who had attended it’s spectacular inception. 

Minimal decor`was the flavor of the day. The stages featured striking grey faux-concrete pillars sculpted into geometric patterns with plain white shade cloths creating the perfect canvas for the visual displays on offer. Funktion One sound was the order of the day over on the main stage which played host to the biggest acts, and largest dance floor. 
 

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The first live act to grace this spectacular stage was Rodriguez Jr. Treating us to an hour of his own melodic, uplifting jams. “Radian”, his recent release from the 2017 ‘Baobab’ EP, as well as the classic “Pandora” were followed up by the much-loved Stephan Bodzin remix of “Mistral”. The French producer created an energy that was deep, driving and progressive. 

Saturday night saw Kentucky-born DJ and producer The Black Madonna take to the stage and live up to her name as one of the finest selectors in the world. Opening with Blaze’s  “Do You Remember House” (Bob Sinclar Club Mix), she seamlessly transitioned between pumping techno, vocal house and disco throughout her set. Highlights were tracks from KiNK, Joy Kitikonti and special mention to Donna Summer's disco classic I Feel Love which absolutely brought the house down. A sheer weapon behind the decks, The Black Madonna has more than lived up to her reputation as 2016's Mixmag DJ of the year.

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On Sunday, Mano Le Tough brought the party with his melodic house and techno selections, producing what many believe to be the set of the festival. With bombs like Marco Faraone’s “Voices From The Sea” and the more housey track from Matt Karmil “Meg”, the ever reliable Irish producer did not disappoint.

Later that evening Berghain god Marcel Dettmann packed a powerful punch with some deep, dark pumping techno laced with some surprising lyrical numbers, the highlight being the driving Carl Craig remix/slam remake of “Relevee” and his closing track Vitalic's seminal “La Rock 01”.

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The second stage ‘Vanish Point’ was smaller with a rusted industrial design featuring an eclectic mix of bands and electronic acts which leaned towards a more instrumental style. Local duo, The Journey played a brilliant set on opening night and drew many of their local contingent of home-grown fans away from the main stage. They rocked out their twisted, melodic remix of “Daydream” by Breky and their darker remix of “Dispatch” by highly-fancied Australian rising star, Made in Paris.

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Octo Octa was without a doubt the hidden gem of the festival. Performing a wonderful live set as dusk turned to night on Saturday evening, the producer from Brooklyn entertained the crowd with her retro-leaning vocal house. She played her floaty track “Dresses” and the funky “Fleeting Moments Of Freedom (Wooo)”. Full of light, optimism and energy, she was an astonishing surprise and a definite favorite.

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On Sunday afternoon Austrian duo, HVOB played a mesmerising live set accompanied by a drummer. It was warm, dreamy and ethereal with Anna Müller’s vocals stirring up feelings of nostalgia for a time you could hardly remember.

The third and smallest stage ‘Electrum’ was adorned with a black triangular shade cloth and featured a good proportion of the local artists punctuated by a select few international acts.
Mimi Love played a blissful set during sunset on Sunday evening pulling out Jimi Jules’  “Paul” while miming the lyrics and grooving on stage with an infectious smile.

Monday saw the ‘Beton Brut’ stage opened by local superstar, Boogs, followed by a standout set by DJ Tennis. While people set up a net and played a game of tennis over the dense crowd, the Italian lay down four hours of pure genius tech-house laced with elements of disco. Highlights included Marcello Giordani’s  “O Superman (Disco Spacer Mix)” and a remix of Daft Punk’s “Make Love” which we would love get our hands on.

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Rounding out the exceptional music side of things, the market area functioned as a pit-stop for food, alcohol and accessories complete with a roller skating rink for the more coordinated revelers.  

After nearly doubling the attendance of last year, Pitch Music & Arts Festival has cemented itself as one of the biggest events on the Australian calendar and we can’t wait to see what next year brings.

Photos by Duncographic