Meet Return to the Source: the psytrance bush doof of your dreams

Meet Return to the Source: the psytrance bush doof of your dreams

Words by Annie-Mei Forster

Warmer weather means festival season is fast approaching and psytrance bush doof Return to the Source is happening in November to get you partying before summer enters full swing.

Now in its second year, Return to the Source promises more artists and a bigger location. Director Matthew Chalmers says the scale of the event means around 1,500 punters will be able to attend this year’s doof.

2019’s event sees a massive push to include more women, not only is this reflected on the lineup, but many of the market stalls are run by females and duo Ravendesc will be in control of design and décor for the festival. Amongst the women performing, the stellar program includes Mexican-born, Paris-based DJ Pollyfonika, Megapixel, Sonic Butterfly, Miss Jade, Cyan, Violet Eve and many more.

Chalmers says what sets this bush doof apart from others is that they try to push a lot of emerging and up-and-coming artists, some of which have never been to Australia. Hinap, Altered State and Audiosonic are all heading Down Under for the first time, which is particularly exciting for psytrance fans. Last year Jilax and Night Flow came to Oz for the first time to DJ at Return to the Source’s maiden doof.

Compared to other festivals that have different stages, Return to the Source has only one stage which Chalmers says is about returning to how doofs started about 25 years ago in the early ‘90s.

“One family. One vibe. One stage,” Chalmers says. The idea is to have everyone on the same dancefloor enjoying themselves and feeling the music.

Although the location is yet to be revealed, Return to the Source will be a camping festival. There will also be food stalls available to keep punters happily fed and
watered, including Soundfood, Le Crepes, Juice Pig and others.

If you don’t manage to sort out your festival outfits in time, there will also be stalls selling handcrafted clothing and jewellery as well as LED lights to pimp up your tent. In addition to the music, there will also be art displayed around the festival.

This year sees three exciting stage takeovers during the course of Return to the Source. Friday night kicks off with psy-co takeover starting at 9pm and going well into Saturday, with progression sessions taking over Saturday arvo and finishing on Sunday before the techno takeover on Sunday night, kicking on well into Monday. Make sure you take a few days off after the festival to recover before you show your face at work.

Last year all the international acts stayed onsite rather than heading back into town to crash at a hotel. Staying onsite meant there was a lot of interaction between the patrons and the artists.

“The international DJs were on the dancefloor. Everyone was talking together and it created a really great atmosphere,” Chalmers says.

Chalmers himself is a doof veteran and a progressive psytrance DJ, known as Mattiecee for the label Blue Tunes Records. He went to his first bush doof back in 1993 where godfathers of psytrance Fred Disko and Ray Castle made Chalmers fall in love with the genre. Since then, he’s been hooked on psytrance and has been to every festival under the sun, including Earthcore, Transelements, and Rainbow Serpent.

He started to become a regular at events and got to know many DJs and producers. He’s run various events in Western Australia where he relocated in 2013. Now he’s back in Melbourne running Return to the Source and flying overseas artists to Australia to party.

Return to the Source is happening from Friday November 22 to Monday November 25. The event location and the final lineup is set to be announced on Thursday October 10. Head to for tickets and future announcements.