Splendour in the Grass @ Belongil Fields, Byron Bay (27-29/06/2012)
Finally returning to its spiritual homeland of Byron Bay, after a brief stint up in Queensland’s folk territory, the 2012 Splendour in the Grass festival can easily be hailed as one of the best within its relatively short lifespan. Bulging at the seams with not just todays but also yesteryears more desirable acts, the 12th ‘Splendour Bender’ also delivered one of its wettest weekends to date. That being said, as the event sold out within 45 minutes, camping snatched in under 10, rain hail or shine – the show will always go on.
Leaving a day earlier to beat the crowds and bathe in relaxation, the gorgeous Byron Bay weather once again rekindled my love for this little loveable town. Watching the sun spiral across the sky throughout the day, eventually setting within a sea of purple haze, the cool wind trickled down my back once the moon arrived to the party. In regards to anticipation and excitement for what’s about to follow, no words can ever express the joy felt when things just fall into place so smoothly. With that, Byron slept peacefully.
Understanding that the night can chill even the warmest of souls, all that was packed for day one was a small snack, a jumper and my trusty festival shoes. Oh, how wrong was I.
Being included within one of the first groups let into the grounds, I took this chance to rummage around Belongil Fields early, in hopes of finding any hidden treasures. Besides discovering your favourite food stall for the past four years has increased its price, half the fun is actually what you do find when simply walking around.
Having been to Glastonbury before, it would seem that the big wigs behind Splendour have also. Whilst music is the main component of success, the environment around the festival has been so deliciously designed and wonderfully arranged, with an array of magic and innovation, which at times even helps get you lost inside this unique temporary world. With pop up stores, wandering buskers, momentary art demonstrations, a tent of miracles, drum circles, occasional nudity, marriage ceremonies and much more, it is also the sheer history and culture which is embraced, powered and projected onto and into the crowd. It is with this ‘wow’ factor, we see Splendour in the Grass being hailed as one of the most successful festivals in Australia, if not the world.
Arriving to the half full Mix Up tent to catch the 19-year-old Sydney beat maker Flume, I was amazed to see the crowds he had pulled so early on. Abusing his love of synthetic sounds, vintage samples, and a rather striking chipmunked vocal range, this percussion wonder child somehow manipulated time and the audience with his lush flowing sounds. Not just a DJ, Flume also openly chatted to the audience, explaining what to expect on his debut album and thank all in attendance. Understandably, Sleepless was the set’s highlight; however his remix of Hermitude’s hit HyperParadise saw the most flailing bodies of the day. Flume is defiantly one to watch for the future.