Cheer Up, Slow Down, Chill Out at Splendour in the Grass
They say laughter is the best medicine, but I can’t quite agree.
Sure, everyone loves a good chuckle. A bit of a giggle here and there…but for me, it’s music. Music gets the best of me. Thrumming through my bones, drowning out the world, reaching into my soul with bass and harmonies and lyrics that I could only dream of creating. I can’t really describe the euphoria of hearing a song for the first time and being instantly hooked. A song can transport you through time and space, bringing memories so strong that it stops you in your tracks. It can instantly lift or break your heart. Music is my medicine.
I’ve been a bit quiet lately, not quite myself and definitely not in any frame of mind to share my life in a public forum. I’ve started so many posts and then just not known how to say what I wanted to say and given up. A lot of stuff going down in my head, and the slow process of getting it back on track.
But you know what? That’s life. I’m getting through it. I had big plans tonight to do a whole list of things, none of which got done. I went for a run and then I sat on the couch, and I wrote, and I listened to music. I’m still not having a great week. But it could be worse.
Last weekend, I had a massive dose of medicine – I went to Splendour in the Grass. Just for one day, but still. It was enough.
Splendour in the Grass has a special place in my heart. Sure, it’s dirty. Sure, it’s got some people from some of the not so nice walks of life. But it’s also a wonderland full of art and craft, food, friends and most importantly, some of the best live music I have ever heard or seen in my life.
This year was my 4th time, and it did not disappoint. A last minute, unexpected Sunday ticket, some excellent company, and I was set.
If you’ve never been to Splendour, let me set the scene for you.
You walk through the Byron Bay Parkland, trekking the 1.5km journey from the car to the festival entrance. You get your bag checked, get sniffed by some friendly doggies, and you’re in. The world is your oyster – do you head to one of the numerous stages, the hundreds of food stands, the market stalls, silent disco, tepee forest, panel presentations, bars, craft tent, games…? Ok, hopefully you’re getting the picture.
For the first timer, I would definitely recommend numerous days to explore. There is so much to see and do that if you really want to enjoy yourself, you need to take your time. This time around however, I was there purely for the music.
Unfortunately, a lot of my favourite artists were on the few days before, but I still managed to see an amazing array of sets – The Preatures, The Jungle Giants, James Blake, Duke Dumont, Golden Features, Jagwar Ma, Slumberjack, just to name a few…and the most epic of all, Flume.
Now you may say ‘meh’ but I saw Flume at his first ever Splendour back in 2012. His tent was one of the smaller ones, the front of the stage was quite easily accessible, and (having been enamoured with his first album) I almost feel a little bit proud of how far he’s come. Sunday night, he closed the festival with an amazing set – I, along with 20,000 other people, watched him own the natural amphitheatre that the Byron Bay Parklands is famous for. On top of this, he was joined on stage by Remi, Ngaiire, and a host of other Aussie talent. This wasn’t the pinnacle of the night though – I think what cemented it for me was when one of my favourite artists, Vera Blue, joined him for an amazing collaboration. I’m already going to see her in September, and now I’m even more excited!
I had been feeling pretty crappy for a lot of the day – I’d had a few too many drinks the night before, a far too short night’s sleep, and then backing it up in the cold, dusty festival was a bit of a struggle. But I was rejuvenated the moment the music started. That’s what music does to me.
According to Google, the word ‘Splendour’ means magnificent and splendid appearance, grandeur. Not exactly what comes to mind when thinking about a music festival. But it’s not about the outward appearance. It’s about the feeling. Splendour is an institution. It’s the namesake of this blog. It’s a place where people of all demographics, musical tastes, desires and interests can come together and just enjoy themselves. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty damn good to me. I can think of no better way to enjoy my medicine.