There’s something extra magical about Perth’s Camp Doogs music festival. Freezing cold, mud soaked grounds and constant rain – and just somehow, the party’s all the better for it.
2017’s festival was the 5th year of Doogs, the 2nd blessing of the lush Harvey site and this writer’s 1st down and dirty Doogs experience. Held across 6-8th October, it was a non-stop weekend of sweet tunes, activities, sunset rituals, bush cinema, Podcast festival and dips in the dam. 4 small stages set against a sprawling field of daisies and fenced in by forest, Doogs felt like going to a gig in your mate’s backyard with its BYO beers and chill friendly vibes. Catering for those that suffer FOMO, all the stages were conveniently stacked up right next to each other.
As everyone found their camp spaces between the daisies, Doogs became a little city of gazebos and ceremonial circle formations of camp chairs. Local Perth band Debbie Downers launched Friday’s Mane Stage with a rambunctious set of punk tracks. A highlight was their ode to old mate Louis Theroux. Afterwards, their place on stage was replaced by the Egyptian themed, gloriously costumed Solar Barge Big Band, whose orchestral enchantments cast a hypnosis on an audience still trying to find their bearings. From a stage of many to one, 2017 Bigsound Music Prize winner Stella Donnelly played next a humbling and captivating set. Her hard-hitting lyrics sang on the back of sweet melodies, woke our moral consciences as the rain began to gently fall on the first evening of Doogs.
With a bit of rain shelter available at the other stages, it was an opportunity to trek into the Deep Water Greenhouse and its 48 uninterrupted hours of ambient music. The plastic domed stage offered gems such as Perth local Lana Rothnie. Sitting on the ground with microphone in hand, she pumped out bangers of the noise synth variety, sung atop with a soulful rn’b voice.
The rain continued to fall throughout the night to create a spectacularly wet Mane Stage for Osaka’s Yoshitake EXPE. With the astrological power of the full moon in the sky, the psychedelic guitarist warped space and time with his blend of rock and free-form jazz. Broadway Sounds next took to the stage to break the ambient schedule thus far, with their festive jam of afro beats and saxaphoning jive. Party in full swing with the Deep Doogs rave cave stage pumping and electronic darlings PVT to close out the night on the main stage, TBH I retreated back to the solace of my tent to fend off the rain the stifling cold chill.
Thanks for coming Doogs fam, you made this the best Doogs yet! Broadway Sounds absolutely killed it on Friday night!
Posted by Camp Doogs on Sunday, 8 October 2017
Awaking to the steady pulse of the Deep Water Greenhouse stage, Saturday Doogs began with promising sunshine and an improved strategy for keeping warm: a bottle of gin. Through a lens of morning sleep fog, Camp Doogs was already abuzz with activity: blood rushing dips in the freezing dam, yoga at the Mild Doogs stage, and the hums of the Koondarm Choir, a community group keeping alive the local Noongar language.
Pussy Mothers jolted the afternoon Mane Stage with a flurry of energy. A rabid name for the softly spoken duo, their eccentric mix of sardonic vocals and percussive hip hop beats were refreshing in Hannan Bouchemla Jones’ insatiable onstage dance moves. With the audience getting used to the spasmodic changes of mood on the Mane Stage, Melbourne’s folk musician AA Matheson stepped up after the noise onslaught of My Disco guitarist Ben Andrew’s solo drones, Assad. AA Matheson, between minimalist heartfelt songs, made a stern call out to the festival crowd to shun sexual assault at Doogs and beyond. Big ups for the PSA 👌
Thumping across the entire festival-scape was the Deep Doogs stage. Always full of shufflers, I’ve been told that Perth-ites love a good rave. Keeping things fresh, Reef Prince and his trap stylings played a charismatic set. At one point emerging from behind the DJ booths to get into it with the bouncing masses.
Doog’s own boi Reef Prince got real lit in the pit at Deep Doogs at Camp last week.
Posted by Camp Doogs on Sunday, 15 October 2017
It’s no secret that we’re best buddies with the Bedroom Suck crew so it was about time that Terrible Truths came over for their first Doogs, and they did not disappoint at all on Saturday night at the Mane Stage.
Posted by Camp Doogs on Tuesday, 10 October 2017
As the final night fell, indie punk rockers Boat Show turned up the Mane Stage in, as lead singer Ali Flintoff would phrase it, “hell” style. The audience that had gathered for crowd pleasers Boat Show and These New South Whales were parted shortly thereafter by Drowning Horse, as their deluge of doom metal shook the earth, cleansing the grounds of any Triple J listeners. SA-come-Melbourne post-punks Terrible Truths restored the up-tempo spirit with an awesome set full of tribal rhythms and catchy surf twangs. The melodic rap stylings of Baro ushered in the grooves before a downpour unleashed for the final set of the festival. A dedicated crowded huddled in close to brave and rave in the rain to Sydney’s alt-house trio, Holy Balm. On a water-soaked stage with the events crew gatecrashing “Fashion” for a well-deserved shimmy, Holy Balm spun a rapturous conclusion to the main program of Doogs.
HOLY BALM finished off the mane stage on Saturday night at Camp this year. What a treat! Stage invasions were absolutely necessary.
Posted by Camp Doogs on Tuesday, 17 October 2017
A real sonic rollercoaster, Camp Doogs’s un-announced lineup seemed designed to prevent punters from the complacency often found at festivals by people who stay within their comfort zones. You know, those who can only recall the number of drinks or drugs they’ve had from an entire weekend’s music program. The schizophrenic genre changes of the Mane Stage, the array of activities and the closeness of the multiple stages encouraged and rewarded those with curiosity and an open mind to explore – as any well thought out event should do. Vibrant, eclectic, welcoming, inclusive and most of important of all, one helluva rad time, Camp Doogs is clearly assembled by a crew who give a shit and, already, I can’t wait to see what they have in store for the next installment.
Image Credit: All images and videos from Camp Doogs.