Festival Review: Splendour in the Grass 2016

Actor Ewan McGregor once said, “Love is a many splendid thing. All you need is love.” No truer words were spoken. This statement speaks of many things, but when it comes to our weekend away at Splendour in the Grass, by golly love was all around in all of its splendid form.

Now, we must preface this by saying we experienced this much-loved festival 100% sober. Yes, that’s right you heard us – sober! No alcohol. No drugs. Why you ask? Because it’s time we let our bodies experience such moments of euphoria in our natural state of being. We can assure you, our time at Splendour was fulfilling for the mind, body and soul, and we really can’t stress enough how much you missed out!!!!

A camping music festival is something we think everyone must experience at least once in their life. This was a first for some of us and it was great getting out of the city and connecting with mother nature in all of her glory, and by glory we mean the ray of sunshine that kissed our skin everyday injecting us with that Vitamin D we’d been missing thanks to the winter blues.

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Good vibes were all around the North Byron Parklands as tents, food stalls, market boutiques and teepees became our village for what was to be an outstanding festival. Doing a trip like this with your bestie or a big group of mates is a pretty special thing because you go through all the highs and lows (mostly highs) together. Camping is one of those things that brings you closer together and making friends with your neighbours is the icing on the cake. Being open to making new friends is we think, what this festival experience is all about. Of course we’re all there for the music but think about it: the common thread that binds us together is our openness to meet new people and understand the power of music together.

Right, enough spiritual talk. Let’s talk music. Well, Jack Garratt ruined it for us all. Who does he think he is? How dare he be the most outstanding musical experience of the festival on day one at 4pm. U wot mate! Garratt set the bar so high and no one, not even The Avalanches or The Strokes, came close. More on those guys in a sec. Back to Garratt. The guy is a musical genius. What he gave of himself was more than we could have ever asked for, and his humility is something we will never forget. The fact he stopped mid way through a song to video it so he could show his mum and dad exactly what was going on brought tears to our eyes. Mr Garratt, we pick you for the top spot next year.

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Now, the headliners. Ugh, BORING. There was so much hype for these legendary bands but, we hate to say it; they were really disappointing. The Avalanches didn’t transcend and The Strokes came on a near 30 minutes late and were just too self-involved. We do however give mad props to Flume for closing out the festival; the boy sure knows how to pack out an amphitheatre. What we loved most about his set was the inclusion of young Aussie artists who are pretty much the future of our industry, artists like Remi, Vera Blue, Kucka, Ngaiire, Jess Kent and Baro. So much hope was on that stage and it gave us all the feels, as each Flume banger was injected with that Aussie flare.

We love a festival where we can catch a bit of everyone; a taste-test if you will. Years & Years absolutely slayed yet again; they really can do no wrong, Golden Features was intense AF, What So Not lived up to the hype and had George Maple grace the stage with him (seriously love these guys together), Remi was lit as always, Kacy Hill was as cute as a button as she made her debut festival appearance #bless, Ngaiire just knows how to bring it every time (costume and all), and Slum Sociable were fucking mad dogs. That tambourine action though; phwoooar so good!

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Geez, who else did we see?

We caught the start of the Gang of Youths set and far out, talk about rockstars! We can’t remember why we didn’t stay for that one? Doughnuts maybe? Lol. Oh, Matt Corby. Look, we were totally ready to experience Australia’s blue-eyed sweetheart but that moshpit was out of control. We legit couldn’t move. The guy should have been on the amphitheatre stage for real. James Blake was an absolute pleasure for our ears however we don’t think his music was necessarily right for a festival environment; it deserves to be heard in a much more intimate setting but hey, we loved it all the same. Plus, all the DJ sets in between the artists were bang on. That’s when we really got to cut loose and unleash our inner dance diva. Just quietly, we may have busted out a full on Broadway inspired jazz routine to The Nanny theme song, and got applauded #BroadwayStarInTheMaking

So we had a real problem with the fashion this year, or should we say lack thereof. Sorry ladies, but when did it become fashionable to be titty naked? Tits were literally out for the boys. There were boobs everywhere – nothing was left to the imagination at all. Oh and the orange tan. When will it stop? We did embrace the braids however; we liked them a lot. Guys and girls alike were sporting them. The glitter! There can never be enough glitter at a festival. It may sound cliche but we don’t think anyone would disagree with us when we say glitter should be worn all the time. It just makes you feel good, don’t you think?

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Like we said, Splendour isn’t just about the music; it’s about the people you meet. Well have we got some stories for you. We met a guy named Callum who managed to buy some weed off Craigslist – u wot mate! Then we met Tom, a guy who liked to pee in the mosh pit, and yes, we totally saw his dick #Eek and of course our amazing neighbours Bronte, Brandie, Corey AKA Callum, Ham, Jono, Seb and Mark – you were all legends and made the campsite banter all the more amazing. Here’s to many more shared mornings with Allbran, prunes and coffee #LookAfterYourBowelsPeople.

A little piece of advice too, the next you’re thinking of attending a camping music festival: have a festival fling! People are feeling it and the energy is palpable, so just roll with it. We could see love blossoming all around. You never know who you’re going to meet where.

Splendour, you were everything we had hoped for and more. Until next year.

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Images by Leila Maulen

Kara Bertoncini

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