Psyfari Debrief #1 Arts Program

Last month I had the great pleasure of programming all the arts content for Psyfari Festival. This festival has been running for about five years in the spectacular Capertee Valley and features a gorgeous array of live and electronic music across three stages, complete with markets, workshops and food. The decor, programming and general vibes all respond to the theme: Steampunk Safari!

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But for a truly magical experience in a forested canyon, you need some strange and wonderful art installations.

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On the Friday night, people were blown away (and probably a little confused) by Vision & Beyond, a group of design students from Enmore Tafe who flaunted sculptural LED body costumes in a surreal fashion parade through the forest.

The following night we had an equally wonderous performance of a full length 40 minute epic of Beowulf saga, played out with a mixture of shadow puppetry, live action vikings and a terrifying Grendel body puppet, twice the size of human, eerily stomping around anbd complete with detachable arm for added gore during the fight scene.

“From the shadows it came. Half man, half beast, a troll like thing from the sea inlet.  Grendel the Man-Wolf the Death-Shadow, sniffed the scent of man fresh and entered the Kings high hall. Beowulf will transport you back 1400 years to a time of heroes and monsters, where the old world battles the new, as seen through the eyes of Norse mythology.”

The whole performance concluded with screams from the audience as a giant fire breathing dragon, operated by five puppeteers emerged from the darkness to sweep through the audience for the final fight scene. Thanks to Ikara Celebratory Events for making it happen.

Psyfari Beowulf puppet dragon

I programmed Mr Munsell, a contortionist to twist and turn onstage during the winding dub world music electronic fusion of Tijuana Cartel.  Traveling all the way from Melbourne and complete in a skin tight moth costume with glowing eyes, he hypnotized onlookers who may, or may not have imbued substances to enhance the experience.

Psyfari Mr Munsell contortion at Tijuana Cartel

Psyfari Mr Munsell contortion

Psyfari Mr Munsell contortion at Tijuana Cartel

If you wandered down to the Zoolu stage after midnight you would have seen sexy Leish pole dancing to dirty dubstep and drum and base on stage. To fit the animal theme and add a darker element, she used a creepy rubber rabbit mask to hide her face.

To add to the total experience, we also featured a roving LED whip cracker Lightning Storm, light and fire troupe Spynferno, gorgeous tribal belly dancers Undulata and pretty hula hoopist Aleira Moon and fire trickster Razed in Flames.

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All pics by AP Photography

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