Extraordinary, Exceptional and Magical. Three words that I will use to describe the beautiful weekend I have just had out in the midst of the Redcastle State forest in Heathcote. Yemaya Festival, an ethereal level of attention to detail from the music, to the decor, people and all round atmosphere. It was a bit of a wet one, but who doesn’t love getting a little muddy.

We arrived Friday afternoon and were already greatly surprised about the amount of patrons had been through the gate already compared to previous year, and finding a spot to camp was the first mission on our agenda. With some more friends heading up to join our campsite later on in the day after they had finished work and some more coming up the following morning – we had to ensure we left enough space for the extra entourage somewhere between the trees.

The one thing that I absolutely love about this festival is how dense the forest is and how much nature you are constantly surrounded by compared to some of the other festivals I have worked or played at over the last few years. Once we had found home base and assembled the fort, we made our way down through to where the main area of the festival had been compiled. The sun was out and shining bright with smiles being thrown left right and centre, everybody was full of such happiness and vibes were at an all time high.

The production and setup had evidently grown in size, the second stage, amount of stalls and space for people to get down. Another thing I really love about this time of year is the cooler weather and slight showers whilst you’re mid boogie at the stage. Rugging up in extra layers for comfort and sitting around the campfire with a blanket, conversing with friends both new and old, with the tunes still being heard quite clearly – something also different to the hot scorching weather and dust you get elsewhere.

Once the sun went down, the darkness transformed into a canvas for the lights and lasers to run free throughout the forest – the vibration from the music travelled far, and there was a constant buzz in the air.

One of my highlights of the whole weekend would have been Grouch on the last night before the music finished. We were front and centre majority of his set and loved every single bit of it. You could tell he wanted to keep on playing, and it didn’t seem like the people wanted to stop dancing anytime soon – but like all good things, they must come to an end at some stage. The memory of when he dropped Billie Jean after everybody was chanting “one more song” still lives on. What a way to wrap up such an amazing weekend.

Until next time hey, hopefully see you again next year x

Photography: Micah Dunshea
Words: Jiay Mills