Rainbow Serpent Festival

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Rainbow Serpent Festival
Rainbow Serpent Festival.jpg
The Market Stage at Rainbow Serpent 2013
Genre Electronic music, art and lifestyle
Dates Australia Day long weekend
Location(s) Victoria, Australia
Years active 1997– present
Official site

The Rainbow Serpent Festival is a large electronic music, art and lifestyle festival, located in Victoria, Australia.[1] The festival is mainly known for Psychedelic trance and Minimal Techno music, but also features other genres of electronic music and non-electronic music on the smaller stages. The festival also has many art installations, workshops and other attractions. Recent years have seen the festival expand from a solely music event to one that places an emphasis on sustainability, well-being, performance and art. The festival has attracted praise from revellers and criticism from authorities in equal measures, with its ongoing future questioned by police after one in 250 drivers leaving the festival site failed a drugs test in 2016.[2]


The festival occurs on the Australia Day long weekend. The first festival was in 1997. The more recent festivals have been held on farmland in the vicinity of Beaufort, Victoria.

In 2008 the Rainbow Serpent Festival won the FasterLouder Festival Award for Value for Money.[3]

The name Rainbow Serpent comes from the Aboriginal dreamtime creation myth of the Rainbow Serpent.


Rainbow Serpent Festival is known largely for its music, featuring styles from chillout, to tech house, psytrance, and many variants of these styles. Mostly electronic-based, Rainbow Serpent has seen DJ's, producers, and live bands. The music runs 24 hours per day usually for over four days.


Many people dress up in costumes throughout the course of the weekend, often featuring colourful numbers with lots of glitter and beads. Some of the days have unspoken (or spoken through events on Facebook) themes, in 2016 these included different colour parties and a Safari day.


Rainbow serpent collaborates and funds various visual and performance arts projects.


Market stalls, healing arts and multi-cultural foods are all parts of the festival experience and 'lifestyle'. A lifestyle village hosts a variety of activities to promote, encourage and inspire.


Performer at Rainbow Serpent Festival 2006

Main Stage[edit]

The Main Stage at Rainbow Serpent is not in any way supposed to be the 'best' stage. While it does boast the highest production values, it focuses on harder music such as Psytrance. Usually, the stage begins with an ambient act and progressively increases in energy throughout the night. The Main Stage runs for 20 hours, starting at 8:00 pm Saturday night, and finishes 4:00 pm Sunday afternoon.

Market Stage[edit]

The Market Stage plays a large variety of music ranging from ambient, glitch hop, and tech house to psytrance. The Market Stage is the longest running stage at the festival, starting on the Friday night, and finishing early on Monday evening, it runs for about 72 hours continuously with no breaks except for one hour for the Main Stage opening ceremony. Many of the headliner acts actually play on the Market Stage, rather than on the Main Stage depending on their music style. The Monday afternoon on the Market Stage is widely regarded as one of the highlights of the festival, much like Saturday night on the Main Stage is.

Sunset Stage[edit]

The Sunset Stage plays a variety of music throughout the festival, however, it closes for the 24-hour duration of the Main Stage opening. The Sunset Stage has more acts and genres than the Market Stage and the Main Stage provide.

Chillout Stage[edit]

The Chillout Stage runs throughout the festival.

Playground Stage[edit]

The Playground Stage, introduced to the festival in 2009, focuses on live music. The genres covered include dub, reggae, hip-hop, funk, folk, Balkan, electro-swing, cumbia and jazz. This stage gives a lot of opportunity for Melbourne's independent music scene to partake in the festival, and for people looking for a break from the more traditional electronic music of the other stages. It also showcases non-musical performers ranging from magicians to comedians, mimes, and fire twirlers.

Notable Acts[edit]

2010 - Robert Babicz and Dave Tipper did several sets, including market stage and chill-out stage sets.

2011 - Shpongle performed at Rainbow Serpent in 2011. Many consider this to be the biggest act that the festival has secured to date. Alex Grey painted live on the Main Stage during Shpongle's performance.

2014 - The Orb

Deaths and crime at festival[edit]

In 2012 a 34-year-old man Daniel Buccianti died during the festival due to an LSD overdose. According to Victoria Police the death was not suspicious. In the same year, a 25-year-old man suffered a cardiac arrest, also due to a drug overdose. He was hospitalised, but survived.[4]

In 2014, a man was charged with 210 counts of 'upskirting', and there were numerous other assaults and drug offences, along with ten people being hospitalised for drug overdoses.[5]

In 2015, a sexual assault was reported to have occurred at the festival, as well as numerous drug offences and an assault on police.[6]

In 2016, there were reported to have been four sexual assaults at the festival, along with very large numbers of drug offences.[7]

In 2017, a 22-year-old man died during the festival due to an overdose of the drug Amyl nitrite. Police also reported two sexual assaults, and numerous assaults, including assaults on police, and drug offences.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://festivalessentials.net/rainbow-serpent-festival/
  2. ^ "Rainbow Serpent Festival's future questioned after 40 drug drivers caught". ABC. Retrieved 17 August 2016. 
  3. ^ FasterLouder Festival Awards: 2008
  4. ^ Choahan, Neelima. "'Everything is very odd here': Daniel dials mum as music festival turns to tragedy". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 17 August 2016. 
  5. ^ AFFLICK, KARA IRVING AND RACHEL (2014-01-28). "Man charged with upskirting after Rainbow Serpent". The Courier. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Rainbow Serpent Festival Ends With Drug And Assault Charges - Music Feeds". Music Feeds. 2015-01-28. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  7. ^ Francis, Hannah (2016-12-20). "Rainbow Serpent festival tackles sexual assault". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  8. ^ McVeigh, Journalist Sarah (2017-01-31). "Man who died at Rainbow Serpent drank amyl nitrite 'poppers', sources say". triple j. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 

External links[edit]