In what should be regarded as a move to unite those two positives, Party In The Paddock [PITP] is one of Australia’s best up-and-coming music and culture festivals. The vibrant festival takes place over three days in February, and is housed in the lush natural environment of Launceston’s White Hills.
Though an interstate trip may seem daunting, PITP’s founding Creative Director Jesse Higgs maintains that it’s a much easier trip than you’d think.
“From Melbourne, it’s about a 45-minute flight and a 20-minute drive. In reality, it’s probably easier to get to the Paddock than it is to drive across the city in peak hour.”
And you can bet that the festival is determined to make the trip worth it. If a rubix cube were a festival, this one would be it. There’s a plethora of acts making the trip from the local area, interstate, and international airports to head down to Launceston for a slice of the action. Though now an internationally recognised drawcard Down Under, PITP had humble beginnings as just another local get-together. Higgs explains it all started as a literal party in a paddock.
The emphasis placed on the arts and culture aspect of the festival has grown this year, with the management team intent on “bolstering” this section of punter engagement and enthusiasm. The central village of the festival, named ‘Vibestown’, has been revamped with the hope that punters will be able to spend more time and energy exploring the less boog-intensive aspects of the PITP lineup.
“We have this thing called the ‘Vibestown March’ each year, which is a special annual occasion,” Higgs laughs. “We have about 400 people – including a lot of the festival’s original family – and we have this procession that goes from the middle of Vibestown and ends at the main amphitheatre in the existing moshpit.
“We also have the guys from The Good Church coming over from Canada; they’re non-religious and deliver provocative sermons about living positively. They’re going to be the unofficial MCs of that specific area of the festival.”
What’s more, Higgs also lets slip some new information on the PITP art sphere, which is set to reach new heights in 2019. He announces that a certain internationally-renowned artist will be collaborating with the festival to produce an installation that celebrates the motto of the whole event.
“We have a feature art installation that’s gonna go around the whole festival; there’ll be a big announcement in early January for that one,” Higgs explains.
“Aside from that, we’ve got a few Tasmanian feature artists who are always keen to jump on board and get together to make these huge installations. Like, one time we had this huge wedge-tailed eagle hanging in one of the tents and, you know, we’re really focusing on our ‘Tassie wilderness’ theme this year.”
2019 marks PITP’s seventh anniversary, and Higgs is unexpectedly casual about the stacked lineup he’s curated.
“On the management team, we’re all music lovers ourselves, and we grew up going to music festivals. Coming from that, we really get a kick out of exposing artists that are on the rise and also creating that real Easter egg hunt for our punters. We actually want them to be exposed to music they might not have heard yet, or stuff that they otherwise could have missed. It’s become my full-time job now, to sort of keep my year out and constantly scope for new bands and acts that we can bring back to [PITP].”
So essentially, Higgs has the best job in the world?
“I’m sure there are other jobs that are just as good, like hosting for triple j or something,” he says. “But yeah, I count myself pretty lucky, I’m very stoked. It’s a good time.”