Illegal ‘doof’ parties in Perth Hills

This is the Perth Hills, best known for its beauty, tourism and quiet lifestyle.

But not this weekend.

More than 2000 people, mostly in their teens and 20s, have gathered for an illegal, two-day doof party.

A popular occurrence in the eastern states, doofs ” similar to rave parties ” have become a staple of the underground music scene in our region too.

The slang term doof refers to an outdoor dance party held down a deserted road in a remote country area.

The ‘Bonkers in the Bush (the Easter extravaganza)’ is being held in a local State Forest, less than an hour’s drive from Midland.

Admittance to a doof is by invitation only. The process usually involves access to a closed, private Facebook site with general directions where to go and when.

The specific doof camp site is often not known to the doofers ” especially when it is in the middle of the bush. They receive directions via text message and follow marked trails on bush tracks.

Turning off the main highway, it is more than 20 minutes of hard driving down a rough, dirt road through thick bush to reach the doof campsite. Organisers collect $30 a head on entry to cover the cost of rig hire, such as speakers, lights and a super-sized amplifier system.

The crowd is large and multicultural. It’s the kind of group willing to travel for hours for a good party ” and drugs.

Recreational drug use is commonplace ” mostly LSD, ecstacy and cannabis. But there is cocaine, speed, MDMA and methylone too.

Nobody wants to talk about where it all comes from.

The doof campsite is huge ” more like a large community or settlement. Everyone seems to know everyone else, with the same groups attending regularly.

Near the campsite is the ‘D floor’ or main stage. It is a large tarped area with colourful, flashing lights, supposedly to enhance the ‘psychedelic experience’. The DJ is high up on scaffolding pounding out the beat.

It is day two of the Easter bash. More than 2000 people attended on day one, but there are just 800 or 900 ‘survivors’ still there on Sunday.

The high-profile DJ and producer, an enigma in the Perth un derground music scene and a veteran of these events, brings passion to his mix of hard-hitting, energetic psychedelic trance ” for a gruelling two-and-a-half hours.

He just turned 22 and is rumoured to be studying for a triple-degree in biomedical science at one of WA’s top universities.

But today he is just king of the night ” lover of all music that is fun, free and fierce.

Like many other doofers, he declines to be identified ” or interviewed.

Doof organiser John (not his real name) is young, but has been staging these doofs for years. What started out as some fun with friends has blossomed into a full-blown doof culture.

Many of John’s doofs are ‘only’ about 300 people, he says. They are much more ‘downsized’ than the events held on the east coast and ‘are more like a party for friends’, he says.

It’s cold. There are campfires springing up all around the site, with a massive bonfire by the main stage. Backpackers and travellers are drawn to the music like moths to a flame.

One says they find it a great way to meet locals, party hard and see some typical Aussie bush at the same time.

Fredrik (not his real name), from Germany, tells me doof culture is huge in Europe.

‘I went to one that lasted for seven days,’ he said.

There are visitors from Italy and France there, too.

The night goes on, with great tunes and great vibes.

Less than 20km away, Perth Hills residents are sleeping, blissfully unaware of the secret army in their midst.

Then the sun comes up ” with the music still going strong.

It’s time for breakfast and morning beers. Everyone starts to pack

By 1pm, there are fewer than 100 people left at the campsite.

John stays on after everyone else to pack up the gear and clean up.

He said he was environmentally conscious and wanted to leave the area in the same state he found it.

He said he even donated some of the doof proceeds to ‘forest conservation’.

‘It’s important to keep the bush clean,’ he said. ‘Who knows, we may want to come back here again one day.’

Read more here.

The Hills Gazette condemns the use of illicit drugs and trespassing on Crown land.

The author of this article did not consume drugs.