Sun, cider and outrageous dancing, coupled with some damn good quality music, basically sums up Splendour 2016. As festival-goers nation wide begin to experience the post Splendour blues, I thought it would be best to recap the highlights and the hilarious life lessons learnt throughout the weekend.
Day 1// Can I pay you in magic?
Day one was top quality to say the least. Armed with falafel chips, staminade and vodka concealed in pringle packets, I joined thousands of enthusiastic punters making their way to SITG16. Thankfully the unspeakable mud-quandary-of-2015 quickly became an ancient memory, as the sun worked it’s magic and kicked off the weekend with nothing but blue skies all round. By the time we wrestled with our tents and got our lives in order, we headed in to see the timeless Aussie greats, the DMAs. As always they managed to fill the amphitheatre despite their early set time and didn’t disappoint. To the crowds delight Tommy O’Dell smashed out their ultimate jewel ‘Delete’ early on, followed by ‘Lay Down’, which even managed to get the hill dwellers up and grooving. Basically, the dorky dad like group lived up to expectations. The day rolled on with several highlights including Hayden James and Melbourne’s electronic quintet Total Giovanni, who got the entire crowd into an energetic dance fest. But it was the end of the night that made the day for me, with Brisbane’s Violent Soho cramming so many party-goers into the amphitheatre that security had to close entrances. The night ended on an ultimate high courtesy of The Strokes, who although started over 20 minutes late, performed a noteworthy set. Their last song ‘Last nite’ left us breathless and showed that these guys really are the cream of the crop.
Day 2 // It’s a bottle of white to start the night, a bottle of red to get to bed.
Waking up on day two, we were faced with difficult life decisions – whether to cue for showers for 2 hours or choose the ‘optional’ hygiene mindset of our fellow splendour goers. Thankfully we chose the latter, as we were able to experience an unforgettable performance by In loving memory of Szymon. An incredibly emotional and heartfelt performance was delivered from this tribute band to the late Australian singer-song writer, Szymon. Heartbreakingly, Szymon took his own life at the young age of 23 and in a move to keep his loving memory alive, his friends and family came together to create this beautiful music that entranced the entire crowd- it was truly special. As a polar opposite, we next went to King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard who pulled one of the most energetic crowds of the entire festival. Watching from the hill, we witnessed dust whirlwinds spiralling out of control as fans formed an outlandish dance ring as ‘Robot Stop’ played out. It was Gang of Youths who really stole the show, with their lively performance, crowd surfing and sea of confetti. Lead singer Le’aupepe’s characteristic dance moves, struts across stage and refined vocals made you fall in love all over again with Australia’s favourite indie rock band.
The only comment I have on Ball Park Music – absolute perfection, I think I actually lost a few kg’s from all the dancing.
Although they couldn’t completely fill the 3-hour time allocation, The Cure solidified the night with their 30 song playlist. It became pretty apparent early on that this was going to be a marathon of a night, mixing classics with new material like ‘it can never be the same.’ Although I did find myself struggling to keep my energy up towards the end of the night, these Brit indie greats highlighted what pure legends they’ve become.
Day 3 // I am having fun. I am having a lot of fun.
Last but not least by any means, Day 3 was my favourite of the whole festival. I was happily introduced to a new artist Lapsley, whose vocals were through the roof and made blokes around the nation melt with her Bristish accent. At one point she commented, ‘I heard you can domesticate wombats, I think I’d like one.’ There’s a particular magic about being entranced and surprised by new artists and Lapsely’s chilled electronic vibes made a huge impression. Another new act for me was the Melbourne SKA orchestra, who were an orchestra with a difference. This 18 piece band displayed some of Australia’s finest musicians and the crowd reacted to them in waves. They had the entire mosh turning and waving at dwellers on the hill, with conductor Nicky Bomba directing the crowd ‘to turn on the count of four and dance like you’ve never danced before.’ Also of note, The Preatures delivered a heartfelt set, sending off their guitarist Gideon Bensen in true style.
Last the act we were all waiting for: Flume. “I just have to stop the music for a second,” he told the absolutely sardine-packed crowd in the amphitheatre. “This is just too surreal for me! I watched the pixies headline here in 2010 and now I’m here. Let’s fucking do this Splendour!” Basically from that point on, his set was flawless with multiple first class guest singers and his sneaky “Fuck Pauline Hanson, GOODNIGHT,” topping off one of the most diverse and impressive festivals in Australia’s calendar.
To recap, Splendour in The Grass 2016 was a weekend jam packed with the finest artists from across the globe, highlighting a diverse range of genres, ages and cultures. My only complaint? Our generation will now have severe hearing issues for the rest of our lives – something I’m certainly willing to sacrifice for such an epic weekend.
Thanks Splendour, until next time.