SPLENDOUR GETS HEATED!

by

Splendour in the grass 2010

4ZZZ headed up to the annual music festival in style this year, Wicked Camper style! The lovely people at Wicked let us take the 4ZZZ camper for our sojourn in Woodfordia. All decked out with mini kitchenette and sleeping room a plenty, Giordana and Michelle tell their tales of weekend adventures.

On the trail to Woodford we thought we’d be cheeky and take the cross country back route through Beerwah, well adventurous it was what with the dirt road littered with giant potholes! The Zed Wicked Camper barely noticed though and it was actually a very pretty and interesting way to start our weekend, the vehicle line up to get into the main festival entrance was not however. Finally making it through to the camping grounds we set up on a luscious hillside overlooking the Glass House Mountains.

wicked camper 1

Unfortunately we missed Yeosayer, the first band on our agenda, due to the traffic congestion but we quickly made it in to the festival grounds to check out the Gold Bar and get the lay of the land, which proved to be very comfortable and accessible on the Friday before the majority of the punters turned up.

First band we caught was Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and their heady garage rock filled the Amphitheatre like a fuzzy haze descending on the crowd. Next stop was the GW McLennan Tent and indie folk rock Texan’s, Midlake. With over 7 members onstage, their sound was amazing and very fitting for our first night in Woodfordia.

We wandered back over to the Gold Bar to quench our thirst and skip the bar lines that the plebs had to encounter. The only other band we ended up checking out on the Friday was Grizzly Bear and in this reviewers opinion, boring as batshit! I can’t see where the hype has come from and nor can my companions. After a few more thirst quenchers we head back to camp and enjoy the lovely evening air and night sky.

wicked camper 2

Saturday ends up being a scorcher and not what we all expected for this winter festival, gone are the jackets and leggings with everyone scavenging or wishing they had packed cooler clothes. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of ‘cool’ outfits and we discussed the fact that out of the 30,000 or so attendees at least 20,000 were fashionable and great looking, Splendour really is the indie cute people’s festival!

With more bands than you can poke a stick at, we ended up catching a few throughout the day. Standouts included Jonathan Boulet, who seemed to have a huge following with the large crowd enjoying the Sydneysider and band, Tame Impala, who’s cover of Remember Me by Blueboy reverberated throughout the Amphitheatre with the crowd joining in on the chorus.

Throughout the Saturday there was a creeping feeling of anticipation that seemed to be building, it basically climaxed when The Strokes walked on stage late that night. We caught most of Florence & The Machine but not really my cup of tea so I’ll continue with The Strokes, who didn’t’ disappoint! They took the stage with all the expected rock n roll swagger and quickly churned out hit after hit much to the crowds delight. Julian Casablancas seemed to be blown away by the size of the crowd and it really was the majority of the 30,000 plus festival goers packed into Woodfordia’s Amphitheatre. A great way to end a steamy day, The Strokes were definitely one of the focal points of the entire festival.

Michelle Brown

Years and years of toil by the Queensland Folk Federation and countless dedicated volunteers have made Woodfordia the premiere festival site in Queensland. It’s picturesque, pristine and actually feels kind of magical when thousands of people come together there to celebrate music and life. With Splendour in the Grass decamping from the alt-culture-mecca that is Byron Bay one had to wonder how things were going to go down north of the border. Would the site be ruined by a sea of fluorescent shorts and skinny singlets or would the rest of the world finally see why over 50,000 people make the pilgrimage to Woodford every year?

Things definitely felt different upon entering the site, no hand-made signs and lots and lots of security guards with defensive attitudes ready to search and destroy any DIY fun you might be packing. There were fences and crowd control barriers galore and absolutely no getting anywhere near the man-made dams that are usually focal points for basking in the sun. The beauty of the site was still evident though, the vast views from amphitheatre and the shaded hillsides allowed thousands to enjoy the music without being fenced in. Moving around the site was another matter, Splendour crowds move in packs and with half the usual routes cut-off by mini-malls and giant burrito bars there was only one direction for you and 20,000 other people to go. It was a real shame that the site’s natural crowd control features were abandoned for cattle stocks and hessian walls.

The overt commercialism of Splendour in the Grass came as a reality check after years of seeing only minimal branding at the Folk Festival. Those annoying Js were everywhere and mobile phone recharge stations were about as popular as the headline acts, funny for a place where mobile reception was nearly non-existent until recently. The very small-mall was kinda gross, but the inclusion of a mini-Nine Lives Gallery, Sea Shepherd spruikers, Eco-cops and the intellectual banter at the Forum stage almost balanced things out. The other gross things was the rubbish, Emu Parade anyone?

I openly admit to being in love with Woodfordia, and I really hope that despite the crowds and the traffic and the incredibly steep hills to the reserved campsite, the Splendour crowd fell in love with it too. The beach might be 40 minutes away and there’s no deluxe off-site accommodation, but there’s paddymelons and gum-tree forests and the unstoppable spirit of The People’s Republic of Woodford.

Giordana Caputo

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2 Responses to “SPLENDOUR GETS HEATED!”

  1. TWeeEny BoOpper No. 9 Says:

    oMg Yu GuyZZz!

    Dis ReView is TotAlLy AWeSum!!!

    I WisHh I CulD RiGht LiKe Yu’Z SumDAi

    I’M SoO COMing tO SpLEnDour WiF yoUZ neXt YeEr

    LovE Yhuz

    ZEd 4 lYf

  2. Jake Hazzard Says:

    You guys pretty much nailed it. Being a Woodford stalwart since it’s inception I was curious to see 30 000 gen Y’ers in the valley. And it really was like the BDO at Woodford. The fences were ridiculous, you literally felt like a dirty sheep being herded around the place, the organisers obviously left all the Woodfordia knowledge back at camp when they set the place up.

    The sound on the Mix-Up stage left a lot to be desired. We got there about 11am Saturday to catch Zennith, the poor didge player literally could not play throughout the whole set because of feedback issues. I was hoping this was an anomoly but later at Fat Freddies Drop, more terrible feedback squeals.

    Another whinge I need to get off my chest was the lack of MC’s…talk about a corporate rock gig, even the bands were treated like sheep as they finished their set and a big curtain was quickly drawn while they did the change over, no acknowledgement of the music we had just witnessed, where’s the love?

    I am so glad I did not pay the $450 the “plebs” as you so fondly call them, had to fork out, only to sit in a traffic jam for 5 hours while every car was apparently searched for grog. I mean seriously, no drinking at camp? You have to be joking. My cousin did indeed have five bottles of liquor confiscated (is that even legal?) and I just wonder where it all ended up…probably the staff after party.

    The saving grace of Blender in the Machine was, of course, the bands. Zennith, Fat Freddies Drop, Tame Impala, The Magic Numbers all put on brilliant performances.

    You just have to wonder where Splendour would be without the almighty J on its side…The powers of radio people!

    This jaded gen X’er had a great time, but it had everything to do with the people he was with, and the music we witnessed.

    I’m just glad we snuck in.

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