Exclusive chat with a Doof organiser: Luke from Elysium Gathering

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A couple of months ago we had the pleasure of connecting with Luke from Elysium Gathering.

We discussed Doof culture at great length, and enjoyed sharing the similar thoughts and values about the scene. Part of that discussion involved talk of one day doing an interview. The team here at Dooftribe brainstormed some questions and we also decided to ask our audience for some (that’s you guys!).

Now, after finally managing to squeeze a spot in our busy schedules – this is how it went down!

Dooftribe: I’m interested to know the story behind the name.  Is it true it’s because you loved the Matt Damon movie?

Luke: Haha, funny you say that! After I’d already chosen the name I’d gone to research the meaning further online and Matt Damon’s head was scattered all over the Google search! Certainly made me second guess using it as the name. But no, I was studying at uni and we were learning where the meaning of English words come from. Many of them are rooted in the Greek language. This sent me down a rabbit hole into greek mythology where I found Elysium. Without going into too much detail, Elysium in this context is a place where the gods sent the heroes and virtuous men after death. A type of heaven. A place of happiness. That’s what Doofin’ has always been for me!

Dooftribe: How did you go about designing the lineup and choosing the artists?

Luke: I like techno, I like psytrance. I like most of their sub-genres too. There has always seemed to be a strong divide in my experience between the lovers of the two genres. So I’ve tried to make a happy medium. If you like techno you can probably listen to progressive psytrance and vice versa. Its a single stage event to keep people connecting to the music and eachother in one place. I’ve always become tired of running from stage to stage at other events having FOMO of deciding between two sets I really want to see. 

Second to that, if the set playing isn’t you’re style go back to camp to chill and rest up! You can come back and absolutely rinse the d-floor when your style tunes are heaving.


Dooftribe: How many years has Elysium Gathering been running?

Luke: Officially, this is the first year. I had a pretty extravagant private 30th birthday last year in the same location around the same time. Friends and friends of friends attended. The feedback was overwhelming to be honest and we had gifted a lot of people an amazing experience. Early in the year, there was no expectation to do it again but I had a really nice experience with a stranger. They thanked me for the “doof” and said it was their first experience and changed the course of their year and potentially life. How could I not want to grant that opportunity to others again? So yea, we are on again. Proper now!


Dooftribe: What type of vibe are you going for?

Luke: We are the VIBE! haha. Take a read of the Ikigai – Japanese philosophy for; what is your purpose? Displayed on our website. Our intentions are to create four pillars equally as strong for the foundations of our event: ART. MUSIC. WORKSHOPS. PERFORMANCE.

Most will attend for the music – lets not deny that, but we want to provide a holistic experience. People can move away from the music and participate in a workshop or watch a theatrical performance that they may not even consider doing so outside of the event. 

Our vibe is connection and openness to experience!


Dooftribe: How have you seen doofs change over the years? There are so many festivals to choose from now, with some going in different directions!

Luke: We could bang on for a while about this one, couldn’t we!!! Surely someone is in the process of writing a thesis on it haha. Opinions will vastly vary but mine is that many events and entertainment companies have capitalized on the term ‘Doof’ and invested in throwing outdoor events in rural locations. No longer are there many grassroots events. By grassroots I mean ordinary people (not business or companies) coming together for a collective purpose. 

And yes there are lots of festivals now, I never really knew until I got so deep into the running of one but you can pretty much travel up the east coast for the entire year in Australia and attend something every week. They have to go in various directions, they all need a point of difference. What’s ours… We’re grassroots, we’re single-stage multi-genre, and we keep the numbers small allow attendees to foster connections with their surroundings, each other, and most importantly themselves. 

Dooftribe: Everyone loves to know the inside goss – and also people like to know more about the events that they’re going to.  I’m interested to hear about some of the difficult things that really took you by surprise when organising a festival. For example, the relationship with the land owner, the local council, the police, the toilets, the artists, insurance, safety services, having people do work up at the site. What can you share here – something regular punters might not appreciate?

Luke: Without boring you with all these details right now I can promise you this. If I wasn’t so naive when I started this, I never would have done it!! Almost all of these things you have mentioned took me by surprise. As a punter myself I went to a doof I won’t name here and thought to myself “this show has poorely been put together, I could do it better myself”… the dream was born. But think carefully about what you wish for. Creating this has come with a lot of work and sacrifice. It is never all as it seems, but I have learnt A LOT!

‘Ask the Audience’ Questions

Andre H. asks “How do you find a venue?”

Luke: A question I’m constantly asked by aspiring event promoters and I always tell them the same thing. People live in the bush for a reason. They like peace and quiet. No one wants to wake up to their serenity with the bassline of doof doof untz untz… And rightly so. We are lucky enough to have our business partners private property located smack bang on the Murray.

Lauren D. asks “What’s involved in the process of selecting the artists and DJs? Is there a panel, a hidden criteria? I’d love to know! 

Luke: “I’m not sure how other events do this but I assume it varies. We had a selection team. As we are single stage and multi-genre selection was very difficult with so many applications. The criteria asked for artists to upload a mix of what they intended to play at the event. Many artists didn’t bother to do this, some did, those that did we placed at the top of the list because of their real effort to be a part of this event. Many of them are playing this year. It’s the small things that are noticed.


Stuart M. asks “How can up and coming artists get booked at festivals?”

Luke: Play at indoor clubs and venues and anywhere you can. Get as much exposure as possible and take the time to introduce yourself to event promoters. Last year before we held the event we had a launch party. During setup a lovely lady entered and introduced herself as an artist and told me a little about herself and her visions as a DJ and producer. When someone goes to this effort you listen to their music. I did and we booked her for the opening set. She was WISER.

 
Adam C. asks “I’m sure discussions around harm reduction, drug policy and involvement with authorities/police would be an interesting discourse”

Luke: This is paramount in the current discourse involving events and festivals and so it should be. The number priority above all else is public safety. Event promoters need to take into consideration and best mitigate all concerns raised by emergency services, even if the likelihood is extremely low. 


Dooftribe: Any final words?

Luke: Sure. Get along to this years event. We are a small event but we have a big heart and a production that will match. If anything I can promise it is this… You will have a good time, connect with old friends and new and when you leave the gates of Elysium back into the world your cup more full then when you arrived. Go and share it!

Wow, wasn’t that a great!?! Every time I go to a Doof I’m blown away at all the thought and effort that must go into them, so it was great experience to be able to do this interview.

Thank you to Luke and the Team at Elysium Gathering. We’re all looking forward to the party!!

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Since trying to sneak into Earthcore back in 1999 with an unconvincing sticky-taped wristband, McDoof has enjoyed a long doofing career spanning 20 years. After experiencing in excess of 60 multi-day, open air Doofs across Australia and Europe and the transformational potential that they have, he aims to share his journey, tales and love of psytrance with the wider doofing community.

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