// Money buys experience, that’s for sure. $445 for the actual ticket, $188 to have my tent conveniently prepared in Tent City, $160 on alcohol. $9 per vegie burger (x3), $4.50 per organic donut (x4). Fuck me, it’s all worth it (x1000).
Having never even sniffed the entrance of Australia’s staple music festival Big Day Out, I was a touch apprehensive about whether I would appreciate the various elements of Splendour In The Grass, the largest festival to grace our shores (although I did manage to sneak into the Hilton’s main bar after Big Day Out one year, without even attending the actual event – had a cute chat to Bob Evans about pot). Would I despise tent living and stink mercilessly as a result of avoided shower queues? Would I resent the invention of hopps and yeast as an ingredient for which my fellow festival-loving-peers use as juice to invariably turn them from usually just annoying wasps into downright douchy-dickheads? Would I lose my mind and get incredibly lost in a sea of tents and cars and gumboots? Jesus, man, get a grip. And a map.
Given Splendour’s new location in Woodfordia, Queensland (home of the smaller Woodford Folk Festival), majority of the crowd consisted of Gold Coast beach babes + friends. Everywhere I turned, I bared witness to the tiny dresses and big cleavages. Think bleached blonde meter maid, if you will allow me such a generalisation. Having said that, the Melbourne hipster fold was also well and truly accounted for. Let’s face it, Splendour’s a place to see and be seen. And seen dead unbathed or disheveled would have been festival suicide. The electrical space for Tent City residents to charge their mobile phones was mainly a source of power for beforementioned beach babe/hipster to connect her/his GHD and set about straightening her/his long luscious extentions/quiff for forty minutes (note that given the humid weather, curls began to resurface in less than half that time).
But enough about the crowd, who were more often than not quite lovely and honestly in attendance for one thing and one thing only: the music. Because when push comes to shove; when hipster meets beach babe, when bogan meets braun, when skank-slut meets flower child, we are all one when singing in a 20,000-person unison to The Dog Days Are Over. And that’s all that mattered. The music is the only thing that does.
Mumford & Sons (right before the crowd dramatically clear as The Pixies take the stage)
Kate Nash: A cunt is a useful thing.
So, you wake up. You climb out of your balmy, sun filled tent. You stretch in the long, dry grass, sit down with a triple-choc biscuit in one hand and a vodka-orange in the other, and you plan your day. Will it start at the Mix Up tent for Bluejuice, a quick sprint up the hill to the amphitheater to catch The Drums and Tame Impala? Will you grab a quick dippy-dog while walking back over to Mix Up for Kate Nash, before catching the last few minutes of Laura Marling at the GW McLennen Tent and quickly back up to the amphitheater (before a much needed dash to stock up on drink tickets) for Florence and The Machine and The Strokes back to back? Every night wraps in any number of on-site clubs (Ibeefa, anyone?) dancing to an array of local and international DJ’s, or one can opt to chill out back in Tent City and begin the way you started, of course with your carefully stashed vodka. Now, decisions are made factoring in a few annoyingly frustrating clashes, and your always aware that a prime position is not going to be possible for each and every act. But hey – the main amphitheatre is surrounded by a sloped hill which offers optimum visability from even the back corner.
What? This is what a musical festival is like? As above and repeat for three days straight? Where the fuck do I sign up for more and how on earth have I missed out on this festival experience until now?
Dame Florence positively had the crowd in the palm of the perfectly manicured hand. I’ve never seen an audience as captivated.
To be a part of the ‘couldren of humanity’ (as the Splendour crowd was so accurately labeled by The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas) was amazing and delightful and inspiring. Get your priorities in check and get on the Australian festival band wagon. We do it well.
// Dan Z