SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS FESTIVAL
Friday 24th July to Sunday 26th of July 2015, North Byron Parklands, Yelgun, NSW
We arrived to the North Bryon Parklands in the early afternoon and it was evident at the festival grounds that there was a downpour the night before as we trekked from the bus to the festival site through the mud. It was now evident that the grass would be lacking with weekend and the hashtag #SplendouInTheMud was certainly going to be trending.
To get to our campsite we needed to wait for sometime for a tractor pulling a carriage of seats to take us to our new home for the weekend at Tepeelove.
Urban Cone: 1:30-2:15 (Mix Up Stage)
Come Back To Me (with Megan Washington)
An amazing start to the festival from the Swedish indie pop band. The set gave everyone a bit of dancing and singalongs which translated to fun! For ‘Sadness Disease’, the band asked the crowd to make the song’s trademark “dolphin” noise.
Following Urban Cone’s impressive set we ventured off to check out the festival. The Amish farm, the beautiful “green*” amiptheatre (*which turned into a giant mudslide on Day 2), mother and daughter taking some pills together, some photobombing in front of the SITG sign, observing wheelbarrowing rides down one of the few SITG hills were some of the attractions we saw on our walking adventure across the massive festival site.
Dustin Tebbutt: 4:15-5:00 (GW McLennan Tent)
Not quite a notable set
As we walked to see Seekae, we caught a glimpse of #1 Dads who were putting on stellar set at the GW Tent.
Seekae: 6:00-6:50 (Tiny Dancer Stage)
Seekae brought in a not so tiny crowd into the Tiny Dancer Stage, the crowd spilled out into the muddy festival grounds outside the tent. The Sydney act brought the beats to the festival and created a great party atmosphere.
As the sun disappeared trekking from stage to stage now had became quite difficult with the mud!
Everything Everything: 7:15-8:15 (Mix Up Stage)
To The Blade
MY KZ, UR BF
Get To Heaven
Spring / Sun / Winter / Dread
Everything Everything were certainly one of my favourites of the weekend. ‘Kemosabe’ went off and the set kept it’s pace of excitement to the rocking ‘Radiant’ and all the way till their latest hit song ‘Distant Past’.
Porter Robinson: 8:45-9:45 (Mix Up Stage)
Watched: Most of set
The set went off with a bang, confetti flying everywhere and Sad Machine blasting through the speakers. I was very impressed with the performance as I wasn’t too familiar with Mr Robinson prior to SITG.
Of Monsters And Men: 8:45-9:45 (Ampitheatre)
Watched: 20 mins
King and Lionheart
Wolves Without Teeth
We caught the last handful of songs which included the song that put them on the map ‘Little Talks’. The performance was nothing special and the constant rain didn’t help the experience at the time. In hindsight we perhaps should have stayed under cover at the mixup stage for Peking Duk.
The rain went from bad to worse and our old souls opted to head in for the night prior to Mark Ronson’s set.
After the late downpour from the previous night our shoes were admitted defeat and our first thing on our to-do list was not a band, but to find Gumboots! Going into town was a suggested option, but after searching SITG’s facebook feed we struck gold and went off to Beginning Boutique to buy ourselves some gumboots. We were willing to pay any price, so the price of $60 each was nothing to flinch at…although my gumboots were steel cap.
With the sun coming out and our fresh gumboots on we ventured into the festival grounds again as did 30,000 other festival punters, and headed our way to catch Eves The Behavior – but not before some photo opportunities on the hay bales.
Eves The Behavior: 12:15-1:00 (Mix Up Stage)
Our day of music started on a high with Brisbane’s own Eves The Behavior. A great performance by the singer/songwriter with tunes such as ‘Electrical’ and ‘TV’.
We caught a song or two from Elliphant, but were not so into the Swedish singer. So had a walk around the festival grounds, this time viewing Matt & Alex giving away a ‘Tune Rag’ to a punter who dived into the mud to win it. A few Smirnoff Sorbet Cocktails later and a game of Connect 4 at the Captain Morgan bar and we were back checking out bands!
Palma Violets: 3:00-3:45 (GW McLennan Tent)
A good set from the Brits who are two albums in and still young. They have been compared to The Clash and certainly have some groovy tunes that kept the GW McLennan tent dancing. All The Garden Birds, Step Up For The Cool Cats and my favourite Best of Friends were among the tunes performed.
Years and Years: 4:00-4:45 (Mix Up Stage)
Breathe (Blu Cantrell cover)
Not all bands had the smooth entry into the Byron Bay Festival, Years and Years were dealt with one of the tougher hands as not all their equipment made it to the festival. Their limited set was still a blast though and they didn’t let the issues get in the way of the enthusiasm and enjoyment of being at Splendour. ‘King’ had the entire crowd singing along and a good way to end the short and sweet set.
Jarryd James: 5:15-6:15 (Mix Up Stage)
Triple J have been backing James and so did the crowd with the tent packed out for the Brisbane singer. The set was okay, with the only highlights for me coming from his two singles the brilliantly catchy ‘Do You Remember’ and ‘Give Me Something’. The majority of the set featured lesser known material, ‘Giving It Up’ and ‘Sure Love’. Jarryd told the crowd “I’ve never done anything like this before in my whole life”. He later complimented the Splendour punters, “Do you know how good you look?” “Did they pay 10,000 supermodels to come here or something?”.
Purity Ring: 6:45-7:45 (Mix Up Stage)
Stranger Than Earth
Flood on the Floor
Stillness in Woe
One of the bands I was looking forward to the most was Purity Ring – and they smashed their set out of the Parklands! The Canadian duo delivered 15 songs in an hour and won the award for prettiest set of the festival with their flickering streams of lights coming down onto the stage.
Their set begun with clutters of percussion echoing forming the intro of ‘Stranger Than Earth’ and Megan Jones emerged as a thin dark figure on a raised platform. The duo captured the Mix Up in a trance as they nailed ‘Dust Hymn’, ‘Push Pull’ and thumping ‘Bodyache’. ‘Flood On The Floor’ brought some major epicness to the stage to my delight and ‘Begin Again’ brought one of Splendour’s highlight sets to a close.
It was that time of night to grab another layer as the festival grounds were covered in darkness, as we headed back to the tent we caught a slice of The Church‘s biggest head to date ‘Under The Milkyway’.
The Wombats: 9:15-10:15 (Amphitheater)
Your Body Is a Weapon
Jump Into the Fog
Moving to New York
Be Your Shadow
This Is Not a Party
The English Summer
Give Me a Try
Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves)
Let’s Dance to Joy Division
Killing in the Name (Rage Against the Machine cover)
We took a seat on Splendour’s steepest hill as we watched the indiepop Wombats, with a sideshow of many punters struggling to climb up and down the muddy terrain of the hill. As always the Liverpool three-piece put on a catchy solid performance as they performed many of their hits from their latest effort ‘Glitterbug’. Highlights included ‘Body Is A Weapon’, ‘Jump In The Fog’ and ‘Tokyo’. The band finished their set with a few cheeky riffs from ‘Killing in the Name’
I believe it was during this set we saw a punter enter the mosh pit with a 15 foot branch! Hilarious!
Florence + The Machine: 10:45-12:00 (Amphitheater)
What the Water Gave Me
Ship to Wreck
Shake It Out
Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)
Sweet Nothing (Calvin Harris cover)
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Queen of Peace
What Kind of Man
Dog Days Are Over
Not moving much between sets, we remained on the steep hill for Saturday’s headline act, Florence Welch and her machine.The barefooted singer drew the festival’s biggest crowd. Vocals mimicked that of her studio performances and her new tracks (‘Ship To Wreck’ and ‘What Kind Of Man’ – both amazing) held their own against the favourites ‘Sweet Nothing’ and ‘Shake It Out’. When I heard ‘Rabbit Heart’, I forgot how much I loved the track when it first came out in 2009 and it was one of the highlights from the set for me.
Welch brought both her amazing vocals and beaming energy to the Splendour stage. During the headline set she danced with a fan on stage and asked the crowd to kiss each other, touch each others faces and rip off our shirts! She even followed suit with the latter, during the final track ‘Dog Days Are Over’ the songtress tore off her own shirt and running around the stage in her bra.
A great performance and a fantastic way to end the second day of Splendour In The Grass.
On Day Three the sun continued to shine. We made our way past Holy Holy as we then walked to the main stage for our first act of the day.
Wolf Alice: 1:45-2:30 (Amphitheater)
Your Love’s Whore
You’re a Germ
Moaning Lisa Smile
Not a bad set, preferred the tunes on the studio album rather than live.
MØ: 2:45-3:30 (Mix Up Stage)
Waste of Time
Don’t Wanna Dance
One More (Elliphant cover)
New Year’s Eve
Walk This Way
We chilled out on the hay bails as we watched on MØ’s performance. She was certainly the surprise packet of the festival pulling out songs such as ‘Don’t wanna dance’ and ‘One More’, ‘Walk This Way’ was also a highlight, but it was ‘Lean On’ that proved to be a festival future classic.
Next we headed to the Global Village to watch the ‘Gyuto Monks Sand Mandala Dissolution’ which featured Monks throat singing along with their traditional Sand Manala which is the creation and destruction of mandalas made from colored sand.
The Vaccines: 4:30-5:30 (Amphitheater)
Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)
All in White
Post Break-Up Sex
Give Me a Sign
I Always Knew
If You Wanna
Nothing special from the English Indie Rockers.
Jamie T: 6:00-7:00 (Amphitheater)
The Man’s Machine
Don’t You Find
Back in the Game
If You Got the Money
Sticks ‘N’ Stones
Solid set from the Brit, we stayed up until Emily’s Heart and early favourites were ‘Don’t You Find’ and ‘Back In The Game’. Punters enjoyed a bit of dress up on night three, as a fully decorated Christmas Tree entered the moshpit with a fan dressed as Santa. There were also inflatable couches with fans riding high atop of them, as well as rakes during the set.
MS MR: 6:45-7:45 (Mix Up Stage)
The NY duo put on a decent set with songs including ‘How Does It Feel’, ‘Painted’, ‘Fantasy’ and ‘Criminals’. The set only turned to the top notch on the set-closer ‘Hurricane’ which is still there best song to date.
Tame Impala: 9:00-10:00 (Amphitheater)
Let It Happen
The Moment (Live Debut)
The Less I Know the Better (Live Debut)
Why Won’t They Talk to Me?
Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
A week after dropping their new album ‘Current’, Tame Impala performed the main stage’s penultimate set. A psychedelic affair as always with Elephant and Let It Happen. The masses sang as one during Feels Like We Only Go Backwards and the band played out new songs ‘The Moment’ and ‘The Less I Know The Better’, while strangely omitting my favourite track (and first single from the new album) ‘Eventually’.
Blur: 10:30-12:00 (Amphitheater)
There’s No Other Way
Coffee & TV
Out of Time
Trouble in the Message Centre
To the End
This Is a Low
Girls & Boys
Following Tame Impala and as the roadies begin to set up mirrorballs for the Blur set, the punters sadly empty the Amphitheater, possibly heading over to see Earl Sweatshirt, Xavier Rudd or Carmada. Those left would be in for a real treat by the British veterans, who last graced our land 15 years ago – despite being booked for Big Day Out the previous year.
Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Roundtree showcased amazing chemistry from beginning to end. The 90 minute set started with The Magic Whip’s ‘Go Out’ which I think hold’s it own within the set of classics. The new material is great, but it is really the signature sounds that rise the hands of the fans as expected. ‘Coffee & TV’, ‘Out Of Time’ and ‘Parklife’ are delivered with longless energy and the mature crowd love every second of it.
The moshpit thickens with younger fans as soon as ‘Song 2’ blasts out of the speakers. ‘Girls & Boys’ has the crowd bouncing around like it is 1994. The festival comes to a close with the beautiful ‘The Universal’ which is a fitting ending to memorable Splendour In The Grass festival.
We head back to our campsite for a shorter than usual sleep to get ready for a 6am bus ride….which we nearly miss! We dump our shoes at the airport and return back to Melbourne!
BY DAY THREE