28 Oct Strawberry Fields 2017: Our Top Picks
Photo by Bodhi Bailey
With each consecutive year, it seems more and more boutique festivals emerge onto the Victorian market — each with a unique flavour or musical niche trying to set themselves apart. But one undoubtedly pioneering festival that many of these new players have drawn inspiration from is Strawberry Fields. Its established place in the summer calendar has long been, and remains, a standout date with festival goers — largely due to its consistent quality and continued innovation. This is proved by this year’s stellar lineup, that acts as an example of how the festival continues to keep its finger on Australia’s musical pulse and draw the attention of music fans once more.
Located on the beautiful banks of the Murray River, Strawberry Fields is truly a meeting of art and music. While many festivals claim this moniker, few actually deliver more than a few token installations and a poorly attended workshop. The stage design and visual art of Strawberry is, in many ways, its defining feature. Ambitious, intricate stage designs and sweeping large-scale projections help to define the ambience of Strawberry’s various music spaces, creating an experience that truly combines both audio and aesthetic.
As the festival has continued to grow and its lineups and developed, 2017 is no different. Here are some of our top picks (in no particular order).
One of the biggest names on the line up for good reason, Daniel Avery has been on a relentless touring schedule since the release of his break out album ‘Drone Sounds’. The success of these shows is one of the reasons he is consistently placed in the Resident Advisor top 100. His music combines traditional dance and techno sounds with more unconventional elements and vocals perhaps more at home in psychedelic releases. These experimental moments should make for an engaging performance
Expat Mall Grab has been making big waves since moving across to be based in London. His 2017 release ‘Pool Party Music’ is unique blend of garage, house, disco sounds and even a little hip-hop, that come together perfectly to create a polished, finished album that breaks many of the conventions associated with its respective parts.
The evolution of his releases shows a clear growth in his music appreciation and a drawing of inspiration from his new surroundings — recent live sets reflect this, too. What ever plays out at Strawberry, this’ll certainly be feel good hour or more of music.
Sampa The Great
Sampa is a local talent that continues to grow and impress with each successive release. Her unique style of rap breaks the mould for what has come to be expected from many female MCs and even Australian hip-hop in general. Putting a label on her music is hard to do but her renowned live set is certainly going to be one of the more unique in an otherwise largely tech-heavy set list.
Tall Black Guy
Vibe bringer Tall Black Guy’s Detroit origins are evident in his sets and productions. Jazz, Motown and hip-hop all form a strong foundation for the more modern, subtle layers of techno and house on his own music and the carefully crafted extended sets that fill soundcloud and youtube. If these sets, and reports from his Australian shows earlier in the year, are anything to go by this will be an act to absolutely not miss for fans of hip-hop and lounge instrumentals.
French producer Oxia has had a massive 2017 so far. The re-release of his techno classic ‘Domino’ along with a suite of remixes saw it enter back into the dance charts, along with his brooding take on Moby’s 1999 ‘Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?’. His brand of melodic deep house is both approachable and engaging and sure to be worth checking out.