Music festivals are not a time to be precious. They are a time to don your nan's warmest handknitted jumper, make a rock horn gesture with your fingers and forget the outside world for a couple of days. And what a couple of days they were. Following a spontaneous hail storm early on the first day, Splendour's temporary home at Byron Bay's Belongil Fields turned into the life-sized equivalent of a Slip 'n' Slide. After the initial shock (and lesson learned following wearing a pair of sneakers on the first day), it turned this year's Splendour In The Grass into an alternate reality where it was normal to swing dance with people in unicorn suits and soak your dance-addled feet into New South Wales' cool, salty beach water.
The starts of the days brought not only heat and a brief relief from slushing around, but also a slew of great local and international acts. Chet Faker (whom we featured in issue 48) opened the festival by filling out the GW McLennan tent to the same capacity as a headliner, local lass Gossling's soaring voice could be heard from hundreds of metres away, Electric Guest repped the neo-soul vibe and Django Django turned their audience into psychedelic dreamers.
Despite not exactly bringing her A-game to a series of televised performances last year, the lovely Lana Del Ray stunned the crowd into a glorious stupor. Showing off an incredible operatic voice that we hadn't heard in her performances to date, she also managed to pull off a Nirvana cover, which only the gutsy ever attempt, nonetheless pull off.
Rocky notable mentions included a tight, powerful set by English three piece Band Of Skulls, ex-Fleet Foxes drummer Father John Misty turning into a possessed Jarvis Cocker/Mick Jagger fusion on stage, and, of course, the splendiferous Jack White. Swapping to an all-lady cohort of band members halfway through his set, he solidified the fact that he is the current king of rock, and no one is set to take that title away from him.
Monday brought around a lot of scratchy voices following an inspiring set by Gossip. So much energy and self-affirming positivity seeped into the crowd through Beth Ditto's vocal chords that you felt like you could high-kick life in the face afterwards. And what better way to finish one of the muddiest yet raddest Splendours to date with thousands of people hugging, swaying, and singing "We Are The Champions"?
Splendour, you rocked our sludge-soaked socks right off. Same time next year?