Splendour in the Grass. This was my big festival for the year.
3 full days jam packed with acts. 1 main stage, 2 tents, and seven other smaller venues all pumping out a constant stream of music. Food stalls and nick nacks on sale galore. Acts like OutKast, The Presets, Spiderbait, The Hoodoo Gurus, Angus and Julia Stone, Childish Gambino, Peking Duk and Kelis (remember ‘my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard’?) and that was only the first day. They had comedians, an arts and crafts section in a kombi, a gumboots stall, Grill’d burgers, a chai shop with it’s own stage. It was everything a music festival should be and I loved every moment of it and I want to share it with you.
I went to Splendour with a good friend of mine, Ellen (on the right of the above photo). We left on Thursday the 24th of July at about 5pm to Byron Bay with a rough start. We had only really started packing that morning and jumped into my car when it was all done. We didn’t really think ahead which meant we had to drive through peak hour traffic from the Brisbane to the Gold Coast. My feet were rejoicing and I ceased cursing my manual car when we finally reached the Gold Coast. We then had a clear run down to Byron Bay.
We camped in a caravan park in a neighboring town, Brunswick, packed to the brim with other Splendour goers. Once we arrived (at about 9pm) I set up our tent in the pitch black. Ellen had the important torch holding job as, of course, we did not bring sufficient lighting. It also turned out that the mattress I brought couldn’t hold in air so we made a makeshift mattress with all of our clothes and blankets. The makeshift mattress didn’t last very long as it was the middle of winter and our blankets were a part of this mattress so we climbed underneath it all to get warm, and tried to get comfortable on the floor. Splendour in the Grass officially started on Friday, the day after we arrived, but they did have some smaller acts playing on Thursday to get everyone excited. We didn’t go to these as we didn’t know where the bus left, We were tired and my feet were too sore, and it was probably too late for it to be worthwhile.
We woke up quite early and had a bit of a hike into town (did I mention that we were at the furthest end of the caravan park so we had a little way to walk into town).
We stretched our sore backs and legs and gulped down some coffee. Our next mission was to locate and purchase a mattress so we drove into a neighbouring town and got one. When we returned we met our neighbours, Beau, Elise, Khye, Blake and Ash, who flew up from Sydney. Beau was singing Hey Ya! and we started singing with him. Then while we were setting up the mattress he was joking that they were the best neighbours anyone could have, so me being me I stuck my head up and said ‘eh, you guys are aight’ which they found hilarious. We then went over and sat on their mat and all started drinking. We passed around all of our alcohol, goon, vodka and my mums homemade limenchello.
They showed us where the bus was to the festival, because we really had no idea. That was really lucky because it would have taken us a while to figure out where to go.
We got to Splendour at around 3:30pm and had a quick look around. We first went to the main stage where Ball Park Music were playing where we only stayed for a few songs. At this point I had not heard of Ball Park Music and went on the neighbours recommendation. Whilst we did not stay for very long, I enjoyed them immensely. The lead singers voice and the really jaunty guitar rigts really stood out for me. I also really enjoyed their stage presence, and everyone in the crowd was really getting into them. After Splendour I really started getting into them, some of my favourite songs being It’s Nice to be Alive and She Only Loves Me When I’m There.
Ellen and I then ran off to then see Peking Duk in one of the undercover tents. I really love the atmosphere of seeing bands in the undercovered tents, it’s so much darker and I feel that the crowd gets a little crazier. It also feels a bit more personal as though it’s you and the band as it’s such a smaller space. Whilst a big open space is nicer to dance in (especially in the heat) it makes you and the band seem so small compared to the rest of the world. Peking Duk were quite packed when we got there, so we ran in and probably got halfway in. Their special guest was 360 which made everyone go even crazier. I left feeling exhilerated, they had put on an amazing show. They had the stage smoke (which I usually hate as it means I cannot breathe) but it just added an extra element to their lightshow which complimented their music. My favourite song is by Peking is High, and when it came on the whole crowd went mental.
We then had a bit of time to spare so we explored some more and found ourselves back at the main stage. On the right of the main stage was a massive hill, it was huge. We somehow managed to walk up there to get a view and I started to feel extremely sick. The sun was setting as Spiderbait came on stage, and at this point I had a huge headache, had thrown up and was in just a really poor mood. The music was too loud on my ears and just annoyed me. Despite all this I was determined to see Spiderbait live. I’m really glad I did as I never realised I knew so many songs of theres like Calypso and Buy Me a Pony. I obviously had to see Black Betty as I didn’t think I’d ever see it live. Despite my headache and me just lying on a cold and wet hill in a lot of pain I did really enjoy them. I napped in the gap between Spiderbait and the Presets. We got to see 3 songs but I was feeling even worse. Despite the few songs I thought they were great and I’m happy that I can still say I saw them live. I was a little upset I didn’t stay for My People. We then found a little stall filled with pillows and mattresses. I passed out here for some time, it turned out it was near the same stage that Kelis was playing at. I was so happy to see Milkshake as I was not expecting to see her at all and I’ve heard it’s very rare she will play that hit.
After Kelis I got myself up and went and saw the Hoodoo Gurus. I didn’t really mind who Ellen and I went and saw, but I had to see three acts and Hoodoo Gurus was a must. I grew up on the Hoodoo Gurus and I never thought I’d ever see them live. I still felt terrible but I was singing along to every song. They put on an amazing show and sounded the exact same as the CDs we used to listen to in the car. It bought back so many memories and I was so excited when they played 1000 Miles Away. After that we went and saw Childish Gambino, the second act that I just had to see. He put on such an amazing show and the crowd went absolutely wild for him. That was the craziest crowd I have ever seen, there were literally people just stacked on top of each other to try and get close to him. I actually had a friend who went to buy Splendour tickets just for him, he missed out and instead flew down to Sydney for his side show. He said that was amazing as well.
After two bands in a row that I had to see and Ellen taking care of me all night I started to feel really guilty. One of the bands she had to see was Angus and Julia Stone. So they were the next stop. I personally didn’t enjoy them very much, just because I feel that once you’ve heard one song you’ve heard them all. Ellen however really enjoyed seeing them live so it was worth it. That being said, they did put on a great show, they just weren’t for me. We then finished the night off with OutKast. We saw the first 5 songs, and was able to hear Hey Ya! as we were leaving. So whilst I didn’t see them perform it live, I was still in the vicinity. There presence on stage was amazing and the crowd to see them was huge. They had an amazing lightshow and they were crazy on stage. Andre 3000 was dressed in some ridiculous clothing with white blonde hair. I look back sort of wishing we stayed for it all, but we were very tired and cold by the end of the night and we wanted to beat the rush home so we left before it finished.
So that was the end of the first day at Splendour in the Grass. It was a great start to the festival and I have so many more stories I want to tell. I’m currently over in New Zealand where I don’t have the beset internet connection so I will be posting the next two days as soon as I can!
Have you guys seen any of these people live? What did you think?