As you guys already know, I regard Splendour In The Grass as Australia’s best music festival so naturally I had high expectations for their 2014 instalment. I also began the festival with some initial hesitation because even though the line-up was strong, for me personally it did not have the same ‘wow factor’ as the previous two years. Despite this, the stellar performances, the unmatched atmosphere and the amazing new site resulted in Splendour In The Grass 2014 being my favourite festival experience to date.
I arrived at the North Byron Bay Parklands on Wednesday the 23rd giving me a full two days to settle in and set up. This meant that by the time the first day of the festival came around I already had my bearings as attendees are given the chance to wander the site the day before the acts start. If you are attending the festival for the entire weekend I highly recommend arriving before Friday as carrying all of your gear from the car lot to the camping area, going through the police search process, then setting up your area is very time consuming. For example, the multiple trips required to move the gear from the vehicles by hand was absolutely exhausting (it was about 1km to the site from the cars on average). The decision to have the cars completely separate this year was a choice I was very surprised about, as I found last years system (checking the cars upon entry then parking close to the campsite) more efficient both in terms of police effectiveness and timeliness. This is largely because carrying all of the items by hand created massive lines at the entry points which consequently overwhelmed security, who ended up just ushering patrons through. It also meant people were standing around and having to hike long distances with very heavy items. Anyway, despite this minor damper on an otherwise exciting arrival, Friday came around and boy did it deliver….
Day 1: Friday Highlights
Ball Park Music
Playing in an unusually early time slot, these guys still managed to draw a huge crowd to the amphitheatre. Their hits such as ‘Nice to Be Alive’ were predictably awesome and I was pleasantly surprised by some of the songs off their new 2014 album, notable mention to ‘Everything Shit Except My Friendship With You’ which was super enjoyable and fun. Two words to sum up their set: quirky and uplifting. Friday was off to a good start.
Now to start off I am going to say I am hugely biased on the matter of Asgeir because I adore his music. As soon as a friend showed me ‘King and Cross’ a few months back I was hooked! His performance however was just on a whole other level. He packed out the GW McLennan Tent and had the crowd mesmerized. Saying a total of five words (yes only five, I counted each adorable ‘thankyou’ haha) and only rarely making eye contact with the crowd, he still managed to be one of the most popular acts of the day. Toward the end of the set you could tell he was just amazed at the response he was getting and smirking, he took out his phone to take a sneaky photo of the crowd. It was lovely to see how much he was enjoying himself and appreciating the people who attended his set. His shyness and genuine talent was extremely refreshing. Keep an eye out on this guy, he is going to be HUGE.
I honestly never thought I would be able to say I have seen ‘Milkshakes’ performed live, and yes, FYI it was brilliant haha.
YACHT CLUB DJ’s
The first time I saw the Yacht Club DJ’s I was 17 years old and was attending the 2011 Splendour In The Grass. Within 5 minutes of their set (which was during the day may I add) they had the tent absolutely pumped and by the time their remixes of ‘I Just Can’t Wait To Be King’ (The Lion King) and ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ (Whitney Houston) came on I knew they were something special. Two years later they remain my favourite (yes favourite!!) DJ set and they performed better than ever at Splendour 2014. These guys have so much fun that it is contagious. You can therefore imagine how devastated I was to find out that 2014 would be the last year of the Yacht Club DJ’s before they set off on their own separate endevours. If you get a chance to see them before the year is out I highly recommend it, they are a blast. I wish them all the best in the future!
I was lucky enough to be in the front section for this performance and the entire set was just insane. It was interesting to see that he changed up some of his older songs to sound more like his new work, the crowd however was loving it! The highlight for me was probably one of my favourite songs of his, ‘Heartbeat’.
Outlandish antics, comical banter with the crowd and a solid performance resulted in Outkast drawing the largest crowd over the entire festival. ‘Hey Ya’, ‘Roses’ and ‘Ms. Jackson’ set the amphitheatre off and whilst not my usual genre of music, I did thoroughly enjoy their set. My favourite part of the performance was the crowd, it was the first night of the festival and to walk over the hill to see the main stage packed to the brim was just ridiculous, even the police and security guards were taking pictures. Ending the first day with a bang, Outkast set the atmosphere for the weekend to come.
Acts I missed that would have been awesome:
Set clashes are the worst…
- The Presets
- Angus and Julia Stone
Day 2: Saturday Highlights
Art vs Science
This set was a lot different to what I was expecting and was a great way to get Saturday night started. Personal favourites included ‘Parlez Vous Francais?’ and ‘Magic Mountain’ however every song was delivered exceptionally, these guys knew how to put on a good show.
Such a cool guy, a Splendour In The Grass veteran too (his 2011 performance was equally memorable). Particularly loved the guest appearance from Gossling again!
City and Colour
Favourite performance on Saturday hands down. Highlights for me included ‘Body In A Box’, ‘The Girl’ and the cover of Pinks ‘Try’. Dallas Green goes to show that you don’t need special effects or crazy antics to draw crowds, his vocals and guitar were enough to pack the amphitheatre and end Saturday night on a high.
Acts I missed that would have been awesome:
- Violent Soho
This is the second time I have missed seeing these guys live at Splendour In The Grass and I hear nothing but amazing things about their sets, hopefully I get another chance to see them in the near future!
- Vance Joy
Chelsie how could you miss Vance Joy?!? In my defence I have seen him live twice already (front row at Laneway 2014 woooo), still disappointing though as there is no such thing as too much Vance Joy.
Day 3: Sunday Highlights
Similar to Asgeir, Sam Smith was the epitome of modesty. He was friendly, upbeat and was genuinely appreciative of the crowd. His vocals were superb and consequently he was added to my already very long ‘must download album after Splendour’ list.
How had I not heard of this guy before!!!! Have I been living under a rock or what?
On Sunday morning whilst I did not recognize the name ‘Illy’ I was assured by my friend that I would know some of his songs and thankfully I decided to come along to the set because it was the best decision made all weekend, I was absolutely blown away by his performance! It turns out I actually did recognise a lot of his music and had just not realized it. Being a Triple J fan I must have downloaded his songs through them and not taken notice of the artist’s name (rookie error). Considering rap is not my usual ‘go to’ genre I was surprised that when reflecting on the entire weekend, Illy took out my favourite performance. He knew how to get the crowd pumped, was super energetic and most importantly, was still humble. In hindsight I am really glad I got to experience the set from the front section (the confetti at the end was great). If you get a chance, check out his latest album ‘Cinematic’, it is worth a listen 🙂
I may currently have his entire discography on repeat as I write this…
Just like their Laneway 2014 performance Chvrches were delightful.
Sidenote: Their accents are super adorable.
I had seen these guys live at Splendour 2011 and once again they delivered an energetic set. My favourite song of theirs ‘Stopping All Stations’ wasn’t played however so that is still on my list of songs to see live.
Foster The People
The lead singer of Foster The People killed it, his dance moves were so smooth! Other than their hit single I did not know many of the songs played but I found the sound of their other tracks really interesting as they are quite different from ‘Pumped Up Kicks’. Foster The People were a fabulous way to end the festival and were also one of the bands added to my ‘must download’ list.
Acts I missed that would have been awesome:
- Lily Allen
Confession, was actually too splendoured out to stay at the amphitheatre for Lily Allen who was the final act on Sunday. The sleep deprivation had got to me and we decided to head back to the campsite to pack up the last of our gear. For what its worth, I could still hear the performance from the campsite and she sounded great!
As usual I brought 99% of my own food along to avoid long lines and pricey meals but I can say once again that Grill’d was a good option for a substantial feed (especially after living off M&M’s, muesli bars and Pringles for five days). Byron Bay Organic Doughnuts were also a godsend on the absolutely freezing Sunday night before the long drive home 🙂
So, my Splendour In The Grass 2014 recap? Insane, exhausting, breathtaking and exhilarating.
Well done, Splendour. Well Done.
Suitcase And I attended Splendour In The Grass 2014 as a volunteer, however my opinion is as always, my own.