Writer: Adam Alloy
Photo Credit: Deep Forest Photography and Ticky Photography
The first annual Pranava Street Festival gathered some of Australia’s top talent and a fantastic selection of international DJs to Ballarat, a small town in rural Australia. Ballarat has no music scene of it’s own, so the Audio Habitat crew decided they would make magic happen in their own backstreets. The event has this DIY ethos at its core and Audio Habitat knew if they built a phenomenal event that people all over Central Victoria would be drawn to it like moths to a flame. It was no small mission to get to the Ballarat venue but I was greeted with an absolute spectacle. Ben Dickerson is the brains behind the operation and Dominic Stinchcombe is the beating heart. The main stage was a neon paradise complete with troops of florescent mushrooms, glowing bush plants, and a military grade lighting rig. The upstairs lounge was a sprawling prime social space complete with incredible DJs complimentary to the main stage. If killer psytrance was playing downstairs you could just hop to the techno stage if you wanted a less energy intensive vibe. If ever you needed a some eye candy there was a pop up art gallery full of mind bending visionary art from gifted Australian painters.
Everyone at Pranava was felt so blessed to be there. There was such palpable joy and excitement at Pranava, everyone was ecstatic it was happening. There aren’t that many events of its caliber around Ballarat so this was a night that parents hired a sitter and people drove hours to celebrate. Everyone was so friendly, I wasn’t there for ten minutes before someone offered me a place to stay. Dominic was in full host mode passing out spiced pineapple with a smile. As the sun started setting fire spinners cracked their whips as people climbed on anything they could do get their body grooving elevated.
Here are the top sets of the evening.
Fabio Leal sounds like nighttime. He is the energy of possibilities that lurk in the dark. Do not take this to mean that he is ominous, his brand of Brazilian psytrance is enticing and exciting. It is the sound of freedom that draws you from your home into his curated place full of opportunity. As Fabio played the sun began to set and the shade structures cast deep shadows over the dancefloor. The day had been full of the blazing heat you would expect of country Australia and the change in scenery was the perfect transition into night.
Delivering the most danceable set of the evening, veteran DJ Ozzy left my heart racing at 140 BMP, every pore of my body sweating and crying out for more. This was classic, no holds barred psytrance and the crowd dug every single juicy beat. Ozzy sets a fire inside of his listeners, a burning that can only be expressed through a movement of limbs and a spreading of smiles. My only complaint is that his only online set is from 2017 and his style has evolved so much since then.
Fanciful, immersive and highly orchestrated soundscapes filled the upper deck of Pravana at the witching hour. Whenever one was ready to take a break from the energizing and unyielding psytrance downstairs Codablack provided the perfect reprieve. The combination of DJ Coskum Coskum interstellar experimental style and Kimberley Little’s animalistic, other dimensional Valkyrie vocals blends into a sound that’s both chill and challenging, groovy and relaxing. It was an easy groove to slip into yet allowed for the fully social vibe of the upstairs lounge to roar into full swing. Despite technical issues on the decks this was one of the best sets of the night.
Gorgeous like the moon, Lunar’s set eclipses the entire evening. Manning behind the decks beneath a lighting rig aimed like a Tesla Death Ray, Lunar channeled sounds from beyond the known universe into her performance. She understands the interplay of music dynamics and crowd emotion, how to mix fast high energy sections in with slow sonic succulence to achieve a perfect union. Her psytrance sets are as refreshing as a sip of water on the dance floor. Keep an eye out for Lunar as she spins across Australia in 2019.
To wrap it all up Audio Habitat threw a phenomenal event that was a perfect demonstration of people creating the change they want to see in the world. It was an example of community building, of people coming together to share what they love, and proof that Audio Habitat is just getting started building more culture in and around Ballarat. I’m excited to see what they have in store next. Catch the videos below for more information.