I fulfilled a somewhat lifelong dream of attending Splendour in the Grass recently, and needless to say, I had the time of my life.
Warning: she’s a long read.
Making the long 17 hour road trip up to Byron Bay from Melbourne may have been tedious, but it was well worth every $1.49 per litre we spent on petrol (way to break the bank).
I could spend years talking about the ~vibe~, how cold it was at night, and how steep the hill to the ampitheatre was, but instead I’ll kick it straight to the music.
We caught the beginning of Triple J Unearthed winner, Kwame, who made me feel unfit just watching him. I’ll never know how artists can perform and dance around on stage at the same time without passing out. My personal fitness levels aside, Kwame set Splendour off to a cracking start with his high energy and spicy beats, and was a great way to open the festival and welcome everyone into the notoriously beautiful ampitheatre.
Next up was Riton & Kah-Lo in the Mix Up tent. I hadn’t actually intended on seeing this set, but was carried along with a group of friends, to which I am very glad because it was one of the most pumping and jumping crowds I’ve been in. ‘Fake ID’ and ‘Ginger’ were real crowd pleasers, and I was even happy to have drinks spilt all over me due to high voltage crankin’ in the crowd.
After a bit of a break, DMAs were next on my list. I’d seen these guys live 6 times already, but they just get better every time. They created a historical moment by playing their cover of ‘Believe’ live for the first and last time to a packed out ampitheatre, and had every single person singing it back at them with as much enthusiasm as the people of France after winning the World Cup.
Then the Lorde/Miguel clash occurred. One that will haunt me til my very last day. I decided to see Lorde despite telling myself I’d regret my entrie life if I didn’t see Miguel, however, given my circumstances, I was super glad to have seen Lorde, and I’d be lying if I said I don’t get a little emotional thinking about her set sometimes. She really knows how to get the crowd on her side, and her acoustic cover of ‘My Happiness’ by Powderfinger was one of the best things I’ve ever experienced (and also the reason I cry about her performance). Shoutout to Miguel regardless, I still love you and I’m sorry.
We started the day off cruising into the sunny ampitheatre to watch The Babe Rainbow. If you get the chance, see this band, because they’ll make you happy and relaxed and you’ll drift off into a nice little world of psych rock.
Fast forward a few hours to the best moment of my life where I get to see my favourite band in the entire world playing at a festival I’ve always dreamed of going to – Gang of Youths.
Side note: I have a sad memory of sitting in my room streaming their set live from Splendour in 2016 whilst crying, so that’s nice :).
Anyway, tears were shed yet again this year, except they were tears of joy. I don’t even need to explain it, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 2 years, because Gang of Youths are currently taking over this country. If this isn’t the most exciting time for Australian music then I don’t know what is; we have so much incredible music and crazy talented artists, it’s a genuine blessing to get to experience it all live. I have a lot of emotions to express.
Now we get to the #1 highlight of Megan’s Splendour experience. Surprisingly it wasn’t Gang of Youths, albeit a very close second, it was none other than Vampire Weekend. Having accidentally missed their set at Big Day Out in 2013, I was stoked to see these guys on the lineup, and even more stoked when they slipped in a funky verison of ‘New Dorp, New York’ by SBTRKT which features Ezra Koenig’s vocals. Words simply cannot do their set justice, so I’ll leave you with this video instead.
I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again; Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever are really really good. I saw their set by myself, as my friends wanted to see Middle Kids instead, and truth be told I had one of the funnest times and didn’t stop bopping the entire time. As I wrote in my album review for Hope Downs, these guys write the catchiest riffs and intros, and their extended jams will give you that little zap of energy you need on the last day of a 3 day (or 5, if you were camping) festival.
The next run of sets was intense, so we prepared to set up camp at the ampitheatre from 6pm-12am while we watched PNAU, MGMT, The Wombats and Kendrick Lamar.
PNAU had an excellent energy, and everywhere I looked I saw people having the time of their lives, particularly during ‘Go Bang’ and ‘Chameleon.’
MGMT opened with ‘Time To Pretend’ which insantly had me feeling nice things. Tracks from their new album were well received, but not as well as classics ‘Kids’ and ‘Electric Feel’. Despite playing a really solid set list, their sound needed to be cranked up a few notches, which left a few people feeling disappointed.
Next: The Wombats, who are just such a great festival band. Even if you didn’t know many of their songs, I think you’d still have a blast seeing them live. ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’ and ‘Lemon To A Knife Fight’ were highlights for me, with particular appreciation for the dancing wombats that were brought out on stage.
I’d write about Kendrick Lamar, but he was 15 minutes late to his set which was disappointing. No hate tho.
All in all, if you want to have the best quality live music and festival experience, get yourself to Splendour in the Grass. Regardless of where you stood in the crowd, you could see the artist performing, the sound quality is perfect (slight exception to MGMT), the people are amazing, there is food from every part of the world, it’s set in a beautiful part of Australia, and most importantly, the camping is on flat ground!! (v important for a good campsite setup).