A festival created by the former creative director of Let Them Eat Cake, the New Year’s Day dance event at Werribee Mansion, is debuting at another luxury property this weekend.
Festival No.23 is taking over Lancemore Macedon Ranges hotel, and the surrounding 274 acres of bushland.
There are still last-minute one-day and weekend tickets available for the small-scale festival, which offers on-site camping and, more importantly, access to hot showers (glamping upgrades and hotel rooms are booked out).
“The underpinning idea to the festival is ‘leave better than you came,’” says director Matt Bonner. Bonner grew up in the UK during the peak of the ’90s rave scene. As an adult, his love of electronic music followed him to Australia, where he organised club events in Melbourne, then ran Let Them Eat Cake for six years.
Like that event, Festival No.23 is for those who like a good boogie but don’t want to write themselves off.
“It’s still a proper party, but the idea was to put on an event where people had the option of doing another bunch of stuff that’s really relaxing,” Bonner says.
That means workshops and thought-provoking guest speakers, as well as interactive art installations and psychedelic audio-visual stimulation.
The workshop program includes Brunswick Greens MP Tim Read giving a talk on pill testing and the future of climate action, and Monash University medicinal chemistry researcher Dr Martin Williams explaining the medical applications of magic mushrooms.
The arts program mixes includes a dress-up karaoke party run by colourful German duo Fizzyokie, and a virtual-reality space by LA project the Human Exploratorium, where punters can try multisensory experiences supposed to inspire mental states such as creativity or calm.
There’s a mix of international and Australian DJs, including US exports Osunlade and Stacy Pullen, who’ll share a six-hour set on the Saturday night. Melbourne techno veteran Honeysmack and producer and sound artist Christopher Coe will each play a six-hour set in a room with trippy 360-degree visuals projected on the walls.
There’ll be plenty of food on-site too, with options for vegans, vegetarians and those with other dietary requirements. You can eat at the Lancemore restaurant, or grab a bite from Ned’s Pies, Los Hermanos or a number of other food vendors.
The event is limited BYO, so you can bring a slab of beers or a non-glass litre bottle of spirits. But there'll be bars on-site, so you won’t go thirsty.
Festival No.23 is from Friday February 7 to Sunday February 9. It’s $103.40 for a Sunday ticket, $203.69 for a weekend pass (including camping), and $265.01 for a full festival pass (including Friday-night entry and camping).