“Festivals will bounce back:” In conversation with Mushroom Valley Festival founder Ben Irving

With the 13th edition of their beloved festival hotly approaching, we hit up Mushroom Valley Festival’s Ben Irving for an insightful chat.

It’s no secret that it’s been a rough few years for Australian music festivals.  In between COVID-19, increasing weather disruptions and plummeting ticket sales, the once-bustling festival circuit has quickly become scarce, with a slew of buzzy music events either postponed or cancelled as a result.

One festival that has managed to weather the storm is Mushroom Valley Festival, the boutique bush doof held annually in the Whitsundays region of Queensland.

mushroom valley festival

A psychedelic, multi-stage wonderland encouraging revellers to look out for themselves and the environment, Mushroom Valley Festival is home to electronic music of all stripes, offering a range of holistic activities for festival-goers alongside its music lineup. 

Celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2022, Mushroom Valley was able to consistently organise annual editions even amid the uncertainty of the pandemic and the festival scene writ large.

mushroom valley

Ahead of its 2024 edition, slated to take place from September 13 to September 15, we caught up with Mushroom Valley’s Ben Irving to discuss the current festival climate, what it takes to run a festival smoothly, and the importance of a good lineup. 

Catch our full interview with Mushroom Valley festival below, and head here for more ticketing and event details for this year’s edition. 

mushroom valley

HAPPY: Can you tell us about the origins of Mushroom Valley Festival? What inspired you to create it?

MFV: When I moved to the area to be closer to my kids I saw that there was a lack of electronic music festivals in the region.

I had always wanted to create an event that I would want to attend myself, a place where you can grow, connect and express yourself freely in a safe and fun environment. 

HAPPY: With so many festivals out there, what makes the music lineup at Mushroom Valley truly stand out? Are you looking to break new artists or bring in established names?

MFV: To be honest, I never like to base my festival around a line up – the festival is so much more than just a line up, there are too many parts that make it what it is.

In saying that, we are really excited about the line up this year! We try to grab headliners from a variety of different underground genres so there is always something for everyone.

I have been lucky enough to form relationships with some amazing artists, their managers and record labels over the past 13 years of running Mushroom Valley and this has given me the opportunity to continue to bring the best to the Mushroom Valley Stage.

I’m always looking out for up and coming talent as well filling the line up with some of our long time favourites in the scene! 

HAPPY: What do you believe is the key factor that has allowed Mushroom Valley to thrive while other festivals struggle?

MFV: We have been fortunate enough to find an amazing property that runs along a freshwater river and we were able to reinvest all of our profits and purchase it, it is our forever home.

I live on the property with my family and our lives revolve around making the place better every year. Our Mushy Family feel secure, they know we have our permanent home and they know we are here to stay.

HAPPY: What advice would you give to other festivals that are struggling in today’s climate?

MFV: Buy your own land. I see site security as one of the biggest issues for events. 

HAPPY: What are your thoughts on the future of music festivals?

MFV: People will adapt and festivals will bounce back to where they were. People need to congregate and dance and festivals provide that space. I think festivals will become smaller, smarter and more sustainable in the future.

Stay tuned to Mushroom Valley Festival via socials – full line up to be announced.