The term “doof stick” doesn’t appear in the Oxford Dictionary, but one day it will and it’ll be explained something like this:
Doof Stick: A tall, decorated stick carried around at a bush doof that’s used to find friends and affirm artistic spirit.
And used in a sentence:
Jack lost all his mates at the festival because he was too cooked. Luckily his friends had a doof stick and he spotted them front left of stage.
In any case, it’s summer and that means it’s doof season—and that means doof sticks are out in force. Some of them will be the product of months of preparation. Others will have come together in a spur of the moment crafternoon. But in both cases doof sticks provoke the same question. And that's: how did you even think of that?
We asked a bunch of people at a Melbourne doof to explain their sticks.
Clancy’s stick is adorned with an image of an old lady on the decks and the words, “Here’s some techno that tastes like real techno.”
VICE: That’s a cool doof stick, Clancy. What is the meaning behind the old woman?
Clancy: So in the early 2000s, there was an Australian milk ad by Paul’s Milk. The ad featured a guy walking into a corner store to purchase a bottle of milk. He asks the old lady behind the counter for a “bottle of milk, thanks!” She replies in monotone, “low fat, no fat, full cream, soy, light, skim, omega 3, high calcium, folate or extra dollop.” The guy is dumbfounded by the options and says, “ah… I just want milk that tastes like real milk!”
Now, every Australian has seen this ad growing up and so they all know it deep in the recess of their brains. But it was actually our friend Ed who coined the phrase: “I want techno that tastes like real techno.”
When was it coined and why?
It was coined on the side of an Indonesian mountain for the 2016 Eclipse Festival and it was in the early hours of the morning when Ed dropped the quote on us as we were walking to the techno stage. We were in stitches. We were all fucked from the humidity in the Indonesian jungle.
Why did you decide to put it on a doof stick?
Well you need a doof stick at big festivals because there could be 5,000 people on a dance floor and you can really struggle to find your friends. It’s also a really good way of establishing where your home base is. But doof sticks are more than just that. You can use them to attract people. If you put a witty, funny joke or meme on them, you will have people come out of the crowd and strike up a conversation with you. People love it when you put effort into something and if you put effort into your doof stick, it will pay dividends.
The way we saw it was that you can put some lights on a doof stick and make it look really pretty, but everyone remembers that time they were cooked as fuck and looked up and were brought back to a moment in their childhood with a milk related pun.
(It turns out that Clancy is also one of the founding pioneers behind the Facebook group, Doofstick Appreciation Society)
John is rocking an inflatable Sriracha bottle on a stick
Hey John, why did you decide to make a Sriracha Doof Stick?
Well, we’ve got this thing at work where all the boys are trying to out-spice the next guy.
How do the boys try to out-spice each other?
Everyone is always trying to bring in the hottest sauce and prove who can indulge better in hotter sauce than anyone else. So we’ve figured out that between all of us, we can all take it pretty well, and also it’s like, fucking hell! How good is hot sauce!
So everyone is trying to out-macho each other with spiciness?
Yeah it’s very entertaining! Until someone brought in the Carolina Reaper.
What’s the Carolina Reaper?
Oh man, Carolina Reaper is about 20 out of 10 on the spice scale and could kill you.
What does it taste like?
It tastes like you chewed your fingernail off and then you ate it—that kind of pain. But Sriracha is all good. It’s the go-to hot sauce.
So why did you suddenly decide that you need to put Sriracha on a doof stick?
I decided a few months ago actually and I tried to keep it quiet, but my brother was trying to get some shit off Amazon and I said I had to make an order. My brother said, “What for?” And I said I needed to buy an inflatable Sriracha bottle and he was like, “What the fuck!” This is actually an inflatable pool toy and I measured it and went to Bunnings with measuring tape and this bottom bit is a bucket. It took a while to make it but I’m happy with it!
How have you been using it at this festival?
We’ve got three different work mates in different spots and you know what it’s like at a music festival, it’s kind of hard to meet up with people and you lose them.
So have you used this as an identifier so that you work mates can find you?
Yeah! And it fucking worked! My mate came over here and goes, "Mate! It worked a fucking treat!" And it’s hot sauce! Everyone loves hot sauce.
Chad has built a boomerang and a bag of marbles doof stick
What’s the meaning behind your doof stick Chad?
This doof stick has some serious legacy. It was actually gifted to my best mate a few years ago by a fellow doofer at Strawberry Fields Festival. You can see that the timber has a naturally twisted handle and the remainder of it is in perfect doof stick condition. It has now been passed down to me and I can assure you that it’s being put to good use. Although, I lost it for a day and a half at this festival but then someone brought it back to me, so that was lucky!
Can you tell us about what’s on the doof stick?
The props on this particular stick changes from time to time. It always begins with a trip to the $2 store before a festival. I’ve got a full bag of marbles which is absolutely essential and a Boomerang, because, you know, STRAYA! I’ve tied it to my doof stick so that it always comes back to me.
What’s the significance in the bag of marbles joined to your stick?
Well I love getting a bit silly at festivals and there’s never any doubt I won’t lose my marbles while doing it. This bag of marbles is the best that I can do in terms of trying to retain the plot and keep it all together.
What is a doof stick to you, Chad?
A doof stick is your boogie partner and your best mate. It’s a way to express yourself with what you wish and which appeals to you, the beholder. It’s also a way to stand out so the crew can stay together throughout the festivities.
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