REVIEW | Origin Festival returns in 2020 and sets the bar higher than we ever have seen it before

Image taken during Headroom's set at Origin Festival 2020

All words: Luke Stroebel
All images: Brent Photography
Cover image: Headroom

If you asked my closest friends, and mainly girlfriend, they would confirm that I had been looking forward to Origin for months. Safe to say that all my excitement was starting to annoy the hell out of them. Could you blame me? For any psytrance lover, the line up was a holy relic, the Rosetta Stone of psychedelic music. For any techno enthusiast, it was pure sex. For a lover of both genres, well, it provided enough gees to euthanize a herd of elephants.

The worst thing about Origin is definitely the tough choices one must make. To come up on Friday and risk potential death on Sunday? Or to be wise, and make the trip up on Saturday. Little did I know the outcome would be the same.

We arrived at a reasonable hour on Saturday morning and threw ourselves straight in. The Helderstroom heat was unrelenting, the sun, a mortal foe in the quest to prevent skin from resembling a lizard’s come Sunday afternoon.

The beats floor was the order of the day. Shift Mawelele was setting the tone with some groovy selections and despite the earliness of the hour, things were in full swing. A canopy of messianic shade provided equally shady people with some much-needed defence against the rays. The afternoon progressed effortlessly, my bottle of tequila, now warm from the incubating sand blanket, would normally have sent me over the edge, but we were racing towards the precipice to the sounds of Toby2Shoes. A name that would serve as comeuppance as I started to feel the pain of not wearing mine.

Before we knew it, the sun was at its low point and was going home after a good shift. I spent most of the early evening wondering if they did, in fact, sell confectionery at “The Bakery” and how I might contemplate writing a strongly worded letter to management if they didn’t. Turns out, no cronuts.

In the distance, the sound of psychedelic space goats grazing on dusty pastures beckoned us to the Origin floor. We were welcomed by the visage of one of the best stage setups my beady eyes had ever seen. Petals of cut wood fused with pillars of gradated colour were really something to behold. I felt like an explorer in a parallel universe discovering an archaeological mystery. Geometric Flux & Itone were doing their thing, lubricating an already slippery slope with crunchy numbers. It was all downhill from here.

I made my way back to the Beats Floor, where Maximilian was at the helm. Welcome to Geesville. Population: Shitloads. The night flew by in familiar fashion. Stab Virus played a great set as usual, and it was up to B_type and Lady M to keep the momentum going. They did not disappoint.

By midnight Noir was playing the soundtrack to the revolution while the floor’s inhabitants raved to their heart’s content. Hearing him slam one of my personal favourite tracks of all time – Radio Slave – Grindhouse (Dubfire Terror Planet Remix) made my night all the sweeter. The hallmark of a great DJ – playing music I had never heard but including older anthems at the exact right time. A characteristic I had come to associate with Origin’s marquee bookings. I was expecting something tamer from Noir, but my god, did he flippen send it! 

Abstract Method did not disappoint either, these boys have become a staple at any rave worth its weight in sweat, and for valid reason.

I spent the rest of the witching hours walking from stage to stage. Something my bare feet would hate me for in the coming hours. How do you spirit children do it? Clearly my feet weren’t calloused enough. 

My goal was to save a bit of gas in the tank for the Sunday festivities, so the car became a sight for sore eyes, and refuge to my weary soul.

The deceptive morning chill was short-lived and by 8 am the heat was back. This time, with a vengeance, and claiming victims. Some breakfast beats were enjoyed in the forest, still no croissants from the bakery. By elevensies, Tristan was bossing the dancefloor. This is what the people came to see.

I would love to say I had energy, but the previous night’s antics had left me wounded and feeling my age – which really isn’t that old so that was worrying.

We spent the day on the water’s edge with great tunes and fine people. Lapping up the chill and watching the industry of the slackliners. A question to those who slack the line, how do you protect your twig and berries?

To cut a long story short, Origin simply never disappoints. People often say the “scene” has changed, and it is not the same as it used to be. While some seasoned veteran may have a point. Origin seems to preserve the secret art in maintaining the ethos of what we have come to love about these gatherings. A sense of community shared by like-minded individuals and positive intent that permeates through every aspect of the weekend.

A word from the big boss:

Like it? Share with your friends!