The Petting Zoo is a game changer and has established itself as the staple summer-starter for the vibrant Victoria festival scene. I’m just left wondering how the Zoo Crew managed to sweet talk officials into playing along.
4000 people descended on Docklands, yes Docklands; shopping centers and busy city streets, for a unique event that can be best described as the illegitimate child of the bush doof and techno underground scene. True to its branding, herds of beat-hungry animals, dressed in glittering jungle attire arrived early in the cloudless heat and stayed late into the night. The vibe was electric and the set up impeccable. Volunteers trolleyed around free drinking water whilst staggered sound systems allowed patrons to boogie to the thumping music from all corners of the two-street setup.
The main stage, “The Enclosure”, built like a safari outpost, housed the big names for the day such as Camelphat, Finnebassen and Format: B. Not skimping on the details, The Enclosure also had 2 human-sized, wooden zoo cages frequented by animal dancers and the occasional over-confident punter, for the entirety of the event. Bars were ideally speckled about the venue and a glitter station, Glitter On, allowed the brave to reach new levels of shine.
As the early-afternoon sun beat down, the herds sheltered under the few roadside trees and the skyline was saturated with vivid parasols, beach balls and the ever-present Melbourne Star. Artists Buff Diss and Heesco added their talent to the backdrop with multiple pieces and a huge live-painted mural, respectively. Local legend BOOG$ and Belgian tech-whiz Kolombo carried the mid-afternoon at The Enclosure and got the day-party into full swing.
As the sun dipped lower in the sky more animals came out to play and Camelphat’s chunky, unapologetic, tech-house began the evening session with serious gusto, their chart-topper Cola causing a (fitting) stampede.
You could almost hear the collective exhale as we rolled into the evening and Norwegian Finnebassen’s self-proclaimed dirty, melancholic house had the crowd moving in unison. His diverse sound and flawless set composition awards him best of the day in my books. Headliners and classically trained, tech-house, MotorFunk legends Format: B, delivered a closing set that brought the house down and called the curtains on the huge line-up with a bang of confetti and pyrotechnics.
Big thanks to The Zoo Crew who nailed this truly unique event with the successful transformation of Melbourne city streets into one hell of a summer party.
I’ll be back next year.
Written By: David Marcuson