The best electronic festivals and bush doofs in Melbourne and regional Victoria
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11.07.2024

The best electronic festivals and bush doofs in Melbourne and regional Victoria

bush doof
Credit: Esoteric
Words by Staff Writer

Here's a constantly updated list of electronic festivals - from dark techno to bouncy EDM - and wild bush doofs in Melbourne and across Victoria.

While Victoria has lost so many of its incredible bush doofs over the years (remember Maitreya, Yemaya, Earthcore?) and plenty of electronic festivals as well (Stereosonic might be better forgotten), they’re a bit like Hydra’s heads.

This list proves that we still boast one of the more flourishing electronic music cultures in the world, so read on, you might discover that hidden gem that becomes a new highlight on your social calendar.

There are plenty of amazing festivals with bush doof vibes that mainly focus on other genres, so for the master list of every fantastic festival across Victoria, head to our festival calendar here.

Keep up with the latest music news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

January

Let Them Eat Cake

  • Werribee Mansion

Serving up delicious lineups since 2013, Let Them Eat Cake has been the tastiest way to welcome in the new year for the last decade. Inviting punters to dance their way into the new year, Werribee Mansion’s beloved New Years Day music festival Let Them Eat Cake has been an NYE saviour for many.

Sun Cycle

  • Coburg Velodrome

As the sun beats down on Naarm on the first day of the new year, get ready to kick off the New Year in style as Sun Cycle NYD returns to the iconic Coburg Velodrome. With previous lineups featuring the enchanting Erika de Casier, the boundary-pushing Overmono, the techno-wizard Objekt, the infectious Jayda G, the genre-blending Mildlife, and many more, there’s no better place to usher in the new year. Easily one of the best northern Melbourne festivals.

Festival 23

  • Macedon Ranges

The most notable shift in the past 20 years has been the gradual shift away from nightclubs as the main purveyors of electronic music, as day parties and festivals shone daylight on the diversity the genre can offer. The next shift – and this is across the entire music industry – has been away from large-scale camping festivals in featureless paddocks towards boutique, smaller and increasingly luxurious events.

Rolling hills overlooking vineyards, an infinity pool overlooking a large swimmable dam, multiple stages set inside the rather pristine hotel itself, lush grass and yoga and air conditioning and reiki healing tents…mark our words, Festival 23 is the future of Melbourne festivals.

February

For The Love

  • St Kilda’s Catani Gardens

The festival seeks to capture the essence of late summer: beautiful locations, laid-back vibes, and upbeat music. It has been making its rounds through the country and has already done events on the Gold Coast and in Wollongong, with plans to head over to Perth after its feature as one of the best Melbourne festivals.

For The Love is exactly what it says on the box; palm trees, grassy fields and highly palatable electro-pop, for the love of the party vibes. If you can throw in a brand activation without hurting anyone, all the better for your strobe budget.

FTL has been around the block a few times, throwing events across Australia and popping up at stunning locations in Bali and California with a tried and true methodology that ticks a lot of boxes. As far as mainstream electronic festivals go, this is a mature, even distinguished event.

Piknic Electronik

  • Sidney Myer Music Bowl

It’s that time of the year again when the best performers in the world of electronic music grace the iconic Sidney Myer Music Bowl for a months-long celebration of the genre. Think Boris Brejcha, Ben Klock, Thomas Schumacher, Victor Ruiz and plenty more techno favourites on the sunny grass lawns of the Bowl each year. Melbourne festivals are renowned for its strong feature of electronic music, and this one is no exception.

Chi Wow Wah Town

  • Winton Wetlands

Since 2013, the electronic music festival Chi Wow Wah Town has been held in Victoria in the stunning surrounds of Winton Wetlands, offering one of the best intimate festivals (read: techno-focused bush doofs) on the Australian calendar.

Gaytimes

  • Gembrook

Is it just us, or is the local festival scene crying out for more light-hearted, up tempo camping festivals in lush, forested areas, within a couple of hour radius of Melbourne?

Gaytimes is Australia’s queer camping music and arts festival, features an eclectic lineup of music, performers, visual arts, food trucks, yoga, and workshops, with a strong electronic music focus across three stages.

The Dandenong Ranges are the perfect location for a festival. While the likes of Pitch and Rainbow Serpent (both beautiful, highly-recommended electronic doofs) are stuck in featureless paddocks, the Dandenongs are an oasis. They even make the beautiful bush surrounding Strawberry Fields look dry.

March

Electric Gardens

  • St Kilda Beach

At the heart of Electric Gardens is a commitment to showcasing the pinnacle of electronic music talent, curating a lineup that pushes boundaries and electrifies crowds. Each year’s roster features a stellar array of house and progressive DJs and producers, promising an immersive journey through the sounds of the global dance scene.

Dekmantel Festival

  • Footscray Park

In an electrifying turn of events for techno enthusiasts in Melbourne, the cult-favourite Dutch techno festival, Dekmantel, has returned to the list of Melbourne festivals for a four-day party. Known for pushing the boundaries of electronic music and curating cutting-edge lineups, Dekmantel has become a global beacon for techno heads.

Dekmantel, originating in Amsterdam, has gained a reputation for to showcasing the best in underground electronic music. As one of the most coveted contemporary techno festivals in the world, it only makes sense for it to be part of the growing list of Melbourne festivals.

Sonder Festival

  • Tallarook

The word Sonder, for those of you wondering, is a term that refers to the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. Sonder Festival, meanwhile, is an independent three-day electronic music and arts festival taking place over the Easter weekend. Featuring left-field dance, electronic, and percussive musicians and DJs from both around the world and locally.

It’s being organised by 188naarm, who regularly throw parties at The Third Day. Sonder is a place of connection through music, in an intimate setting of Victorian/Taungurung bushland, the old Boogie festival spot. Previous lineups featured the likes of Moktar, C.Frim, Ajak Kwai and more.

Pitch Music and Arts

  • Moyston

Pitch Music and Arts is back with a bang, featuring music from electronic icons from across the world. On top of that, there’ll be many other events and installations on the site, so there’s more than music.

Pitch Festival has grown renowned over its relatively short lifetime for showcasing a dazzling array of international electronic talent, often boasting the premier techno showcase of the year among Australian festivals.

An ode to self-discovery, creativity and inclusion; the People of Pitch will once again reunite and embrace meaningful connection over four indulgent days of music, arts & camping.

Surrounded by the prodigy of nature, the festival is humble to be able to call the open fields at the foothills of the Grampian Mountain Range home.

Touch Bass

  • Melbourne Pavilion

Get ready for bass you can feel in your bones, because Australia’s annual bass showdown Touch Bass is now apart of the list of Melbourne festivals. It’s previously featured the likes of Flowdan, Kanine and Wilkinson. Still setting the pace on all things low-end, some of the key subgenres of bass music include dubstep, drum and bass, trap, future bass, bass house and grime, to varying extents.

Esoteric

  • Donald

Over 105 talented international and local artists across seven stages cause chaos throughout the Esoverse with many beats, blends and drops to suit all sonus tastes.

Expect jaw-dropping visuals, art, forest lighting, décor, food and market stalls, lifestyle workshops, exciting secret areas and most importantly bigger and badder banging tunes in the thumping temples of stomping, featuring cutting-edge acts.

April

Rainbow Spirit (previously Rainbow Serpent)

  • Lexton

Each year, people travel from all corners of the globe to join thousands of other like-minded groovers in the dusty hills of the annual Rainbow Spirit Festival. The epic open-air music and arts festival is known for its exciting electronic music acts. Rainbow Reunion has also regularly happened as a one-day party in January.

The festival regularly hosts niche eclectic lineups of underground and international artists, performing all types of music along the whole gamut of the electronic genre. Focusing on providing a space for people to experience an alternative way of life, the sense of escapism engulfs this euphoric event, situated far away from the anxieties and negativity that often plague our everyday lives.

Ultra Australia

  • Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne

Recognised as one of the most internationally-reaching music festival brands in the world, curating diverse lineups of award-winning DJs and globe-trotting talent, ULTRA Worldwide has cemented itself as the leader in the electronic music arena for live events, making the Australian iteration of the festival one you can’t miss.

In past years, over 40,000 Australian fans have witnessed impeccably produced events with stand-out performances by high-profile artists who have dominated the international music charts such as The Chainsmokers, Martin Garrix and Marshmello.

Every year, this festival continues to deliver an unforgettable experience.

September

Transmission Festival

  • Flemington Showgrounds

If you’re an electronic fan, this is the festival for you. Transmission Festival is home to some of the most mind-boggling audio-visual shows that will leave you speechless. Many Melbourne festivals take place at the Flemington Showgrounds, but Transmission possibly utilises the large open space to its full potential.

Previous acts include Marlo, Rank 1, Vini Vinci, and plenty more, which is a testament to the show’s organiser’s consistent ability to draw in huge headliners.

This festival build anticipation each year with an exclusive theme that sets the stage for a captivating storyline and immersive journey through the night.

A truly innovative and revolutionary festival experience, Transmission Festival also introduce each artist with custom intros, adding extra layers of excitement and expression as each artist’s personal identity is evoked through these personalised moments.

October

Interstellar Groove

  • Ngambie

Interstellar Groove Festival is Victoria’s annual celebration of music, art, love, light, and cosmic delight. In its permanent Nagambie home, the three-day electronic camping festival promises and promises renowned international DJs and a packed roster of local talent.

Nestled in the beautiful Victorian countryside, enjoy three days of meticulously curated immersive experiences, workshops, and immense dance floor sessions to keep your feet moving and your smiles wide. Though Melbourne festivals are normally located in the city’s centre, this rural retreat promises a break from the bustling culture of Melbourne.

Aside from the continuous stream of electronic music, this festival also offers some great food and drink options, meaning you can eat well while you camp out in your tent, awaiting the next set.

Mode Festival

  • Port Melbourne

Springtime electronic music and arts festival Mode brings acclaimed DJs and producers from around the world to Melbourne and Sydney, turning the Port Melbourne Industrial Centre for the Arts into a thundering venue.

The list of acts and festivals that have been at PICA in its relatively short history range from major rock bands like Smashing Pumpkins to beloved hip hop festivals like Homegrown, all the way to rave-culture staples like Boiler Room.

Mode is the latest in a series of electronic festivals and events that have made Port Melbourne one of the thriving centres of Melbourne’s electronic music scene.

November

A3 Festival

  • West Gippsland Region

A3 Festival is major techno festival in Victoria set upon the pastoral plains of the West Gippsland Region. Cultivating an electronic music, design and art haven, A3 festival will be carefully curated over three days just 75 minutes, making this festival a fleeting, transient event not to be missed.

This electrifying techno festival has previously featured Amelie Lens, Adam Beyer, X CLUB., Patrick Topping and more, so you can be sure to catch some of techno’s biggest names at this event.

Plus, A3 offers three days of carefully fractious and rewarding programming as a conduit to open artistic expression, cross-cultural collaboration and boundless connection. At both its centre and its periphery, a series of innovations across aural, visual and spatial disciplines culminate – all as vital to the festival, as music itself.

Festival X

  • Flemington Racecourse

Festival X kickstarts the summer with a huge event, boasting some crazy lineups featuring a number of the best artists who have graced the hip hop and dance worlds over the last decade.

What’s more is this event’s long list of accomplished alumni. Previously featured artists include Calvin Harris, Don Toliver and Luude. Bolstering the lineup are an expertly curated selection of homegrown Aussie artists who are ready to make the leap onto the big stage, showcasing the extraordinary talent this country has to offer.

If big-time industry players and huge stage setups tickle your fancy, then Festival X is one you must catch.

Strawberry Fields

  • Tocumwal

Okay, it’s in New South Wales, but if your inflatable raft floats far enough across the Murray then you’re enjoying it from Victorian territory and we’re claiming it.

Even before you consider all of the music, art, performances, workshops and food, just on the basic levels of design, scale and location, Strawberry Fields is just nuts. Like any festival worth its weight, it has a distinctive vibe, a combination of the expansive, beautiful setting on Yorta Yorta bushland on the banks of the Murray River, and the way that its layout has been designed to complement those natural surroundings.

An annual celebration of art, sound and creative expression across three days in the wildlands of Tocumwal, Strawberry Fields has been ranked among the world’s greatest music festivals for a good reason.

On top of all this, Strawberry Fields aims at being accessible for everyone with its affordable discounts for punters who can prove they can’t afford a standard entry ticket. If you’re considering to go to a bush doof, this is the one to attend.

December

Palm Tree Music Festival

  • Sidney Myer Music Bowl

Palm Tree Music Festival returns to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in December with an EDM heavy lineup. The inaugural Aussie edition, headlined by Tiësto and Kygo in 2023, was a slam dunk for this universal brand, with Australia joining the fray alongside Hawaii, the Hamptons, Mexico, Croatia, and more.

Developed by Kygo, lineups have also featured the likes of Chainsmokers and Alesso, among others.

Beyond The Valley

  • Barunah Plains

Beyond The Valley is another one of Australia’s highly anticipated festivals, set in the beautiful landscapes of the Barunah Plains.

Think the type of homestead you would see on a postcard, fully decked out with a sparkling dam, cottage and shearing shed – reinvented to host thousands of eager festival goers. It’s like a country getaway paired with a heaving summer party.

BTV is also home to the exciting and highly mysterious Schmall Klub – a hidden party with spontaneous sets that you have to discover.

Nothing beats the freedom of gathering your mates, hopping in the car and heading west to a huge NYE festival.

Wild Horses

  • Carapooee West

The Wild Horses Festival is a celebration of music, arts and nature. It’s a three-day festival set to be an experience – with limited tickets, you’ll be sure you can get up close and personal to the music.

The electronic music event doesn’t shy away from its generosity. It prides itself as an event that is ‘from the people – to the people.’ This event marks itself as an inclusive, safe event for all.

With an overarching sprawling rooftop and gigantic dancefloor, you can expect to boogie until you drop. But be sure to get your tickets as soon as they’re available, as this event is only limited to 2000 people.

Tanglewood

  • Thornton

Tanglewood Music & Arts Festival brings over 30 hours of artists found in your own backyards and bands of a wide range of musical styles. All supported by amazing art galleries and installations, roving performers, dance troupe, workshops, bar market and street food.

It prides itself on providing punters with the opportunity to have a safe and affordable New Year’s bash away from the chaos of the city. It offers a more intimate festival experience.

It’s also curated by volunteers, and all the money raised goes straight back into the event. This event doesn’t discriminate on genres either. Highlighting Victoria’s amazing musical talent with a versatile lineup including blues, metal, hip hop, reggae and good old fashioned rock’n’roll, Tanglewood promises an experience that fans of any genre can enjoy.

For the most comprehensive list of Victorian festivals, head to our festival calendar here