Pitch Music and Arts Festival emerged on the Australian Techno music scene in 2017 with a jaw-dropping, deeply stacked lineup of local and international talent.
With a focus on House and Techno music, Pitch has succeeded in bringing together bundles of high-profile international acts to Australia, a destination that in the past has often been overlooked as a touring spot for European heavy-hitters. Pitch brings the large-scale European style lineups to the one event, a kind of Dekmantel of down under. The lineup for 2020 has been announced with international contemporary techno fixtures like Marcel Dettmann, Nina Kraviz and the hypnotic melodies of Stephen Bodzin. As well as a ton of local crowd favorites like Moopie, Sleep D and Fantastic man (lineup Figure 1). The visual direction for the festival was developed by agency Builders Club in London and gives a naturalistic look to the festival, displayed with glossy 3D renderings and a modular-style website. The vision for the project is a clash of nature and urban textures, contrasting Australian bushland with the metals and grey of the city.
Builder's Club has created a self-proclaimed world of 'synthetic nature' for Pitch, mixing green shrubbery with carabiners and cable ties. Timber textures and rocks flank crushed cans and rope, a juxtaposition between man-made and mother nature. Builders Club took inspiration for the project from the environment around the festival grounds, splashes of liquid and solid amber are prevalent throughout the pieces and are found in the actual surrounding vegetation of the Grampian Plains festival location in Victoria. The aesthetic is a "fusion of nature and technology" executed in shiny renderings flush with colorful ambient lighting and contrasting textures. Many of the stills featuring plants covered in plastic and bubble wrap, as well as crushed up cans among rocks is an interesting choice given the problems Australian festivals like Maitreya have had with leaving rubbish in the bush in the past. But overthinking aside, it showcases the clash between nature and modernity, one that resonates well with the theme of thumping modern electronic music being blasted out into the wild of the Grampians. The art direction also borrows from Pitch's previous campaigns with the familiar monotype typeface and even a glimpse of the green wristband from the 2017 poster (Figure 2).
The look and feel for 2020 has been re-skinned in a much more interesting way and the website design features clever and engaging UI interactions that make navigating the site refreshing and enjoyable. The grid system rules here, with content across the pages separated out by different containers. There's subtle motion combined with imagery and typography that creates a pleasant balance and symmetry. Discovering the artists in particular, produces the best aspects of the site, with interacting blurred images and bio pages where portraits can be moved around with the user's mouse. There are different viewing options of these pages of 'list', 'grid' and even a clever chart that plots the varying artists characteristic sound against one another (figure 3). Additionally, SoundCloud sets of each artist are linked in easy to reach corners, allowing users to take a deep dive on the lineups previous work. The color palette is gritty and reminiscent of Residents Advisor's website (a sponsor of last years festival), unique hues of each color have been used and there's a bright-ish highlighter-type neon green in use, that has been desaturated just the right amount so as not to assault your eyes. Similarly so, the colors work in tandem with the naturalistic 3D stills and videos providing accents, emphasis and complementing various elements.
The Australian House and Techno scene really struck amber gold with the advent of this festival, which is sure to help solidify Australia as a legit touring destination with amazing crowds, rather than an out of the way pit stop visited by a select few. Builders Club have 'built' upon this momentum with a compelling art direction that looks to capture the essence of the Australian bush doof, an eclectic mix of contemporary techno blasted to 11 out in the Victorian bushland. This is encapsulated with naturalistic objects, mirrored by modernity and urban textures, cleverly weaved together with unique and engaging website design. Here's to hoping the actual festival delivers as well as the aesthetic does, which judging by previous successes it will. You may want to keep the wrist bands for a while if this artwork is
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