2019 Splendour In The Grass Review Part Two @ North Byron Parklands

Splendour In The Grass was held at North Byron Parklands 19-21 July, 2019. Splendour In The Grass was held at North Byron Parklands 19-21 July, 2019. Image © Kalem Horn

After a three-year break, and a last-minute shop for campsite essentials, it was time to head to North Byron Parklands once more; this time for my 15th Splendour In The Grass.

With minimal fuss setting up camp, I was once again inside Australia's most sought-after festival adventure. There's something special about Splendour; I've attended thousands of events, hundreds of festivals and had plenty of pinch-me moments the past 20 years.

But when you're at Splendour, you know you've stepped through a portal to a parallel world where your everyday worries and professional anxieties melt away, leaving you in a stupefied state of pure bliss.

With a frosty beverage in hand, my first Splendour 2019 experience was side of stage (yeah, I know, I'm a show-off) for the rocking energy of Fidlar. The LA punks were mesmerising a solid Amphitheatre crowd as the sun slowly dipped below the horizon.

Not that familiar with their back catalogue, this was the ideal beginning for the weekend ahead as the Mom + Pop Music signings soon had me bopping along, my smile ever widening as the realisation of another Splendour bender sunk in.

A trek to the Mix-up tent soon had me dancing with the masses to the tropical funk of Winston Surfshirt. They reeled off what seemed like hit after hit from 'Sponge Cake'. I was in a trance, dancing alongside the kids amazed that a band can transcend such an age gap – but I guess the best pop always has that ability.

SplendourImagine © Kalem Horn

It was then time to sample the indie blues, soul crooning goodness of Meg Mac. I was left in an enchanted spell, swaying side to side as Meg cooed through her microphone, an enthralled GW McLennan tent left weak-kneed.

By the time I managed to find a posse in the packed Gold Bar atop the Amphitheatre for Tame Impala, I'm not going to lie I was in a magical world of gaga as 'Let It Happen' reverberated across the massive crowd.

After 'Mind Mischief', 'Elephant' and 'Feels Like We Only Go Backwards' had been played I slipped into a sub-conscious world of merriment. My memory from this point to the next day is pretty fuzzy; hazy in fact. Thanks Kevin and co.

Click here for more photos.

Day two began with a cappuccino and a seat inside the Science tent for a re-telling of the fabled Moon landing. It was a definite change of pace, but much warranted after the previous night's antics. Plus I heard Dr. Karl utter a single 'f…', much to the amusement of an attentive crowd as the exploits of Apollo 11 played out on a slide-show.

After a lovely stroll around the festival site (you could spend two weekends at Splendour and still only graze on a small percentage of what is actually on offer: from the amazing array of food trucks/ halls/ alleys to plethora of bespoke fashion and craft stalls) it was back to the top Gold Bar and a vantage point to soak up the fuzzy, psych rock of Pond.

Nick Allbrook and crew amazed all with outstanding covers of Madonna classic 'Ray Of Light' as well as Bee Gees 'Jive Talkin''. As they started to play their final track, 'The Weather', the stage that had been soaked in sun from the start of their set was masked in shadow, welcome relief no doubt for the band.

Splendour.2Imagine © Kalem Horn

Shout-outs to both Wolf Alice and Ocean Alley as well… covered here in our part one review of Splendour.

Then it was back to GW McLennnan and the utter craziness of Dope Lemon. The packed crowd was lapping up the antics of Angus Stone and his 'dope' band. New single 'Hey You' featured a crowd sing-along; and by the time set closer, 'Uptown Folks', arrived the stage was littered with giant, dancing cat heads… I'm pretty certain.

Final act of the night was The Streets. I had been apprehensive of this set… the last, and only, time I have seen The Streets was at Livid; it was an utter disaster.

But this time, the original pirate Mike Skinner and The Streets delivered a show so bursting with energy I have goosebumps as I type; banging out a best-of performance featuring mainly from the genre-changing 'Original Pirate Material' 2002 album this was the hardest I would dance all weekend, locked arm-in-arm with one of my best mates as we shouted the lyrics to one of my all-time favourite releases.

Splendour.4Imagine © Kalem Horn

By the time day three emerged, I was glad for the indie-pop bliss that was The Beths. Submerged in the shade of the side of stage seats, and with a cider for subtle company, The Beths huddled together before their set in a cute display of unison. And their music was the perfect tonic to an ailing body that was wailing for rest.

Then it was time for church as Matt Corby's gospel rained down on the Amphitheatre beginning with 'Rainbow Valley' album favourite 'No Ordinary Life', its dazzling strings and indie-pop charm serenading Splendour to near perfection.

When Tina Arena emerged for a gorgeous rendition of 'Chains', my love for Splendour had grown eternal. Then when Matt was joined by Broods, Meg Mac, Joyride and Jarryd James for 'Miracle Love', well my heart was abuzz with unlimited joy.

As last-minute replacements for the ill Chance The Rapper, Hilltop Hoods closed out 2019 Splendour in amazing fashion with a slew of guests (worthy of their own headline tour) gracing the stage including Montaigne, Jesswar, Illy, Ruel and Adrian Eagle.

This was the ultimate party set as the Hoods unleashed a back catalogue of hits that reminded all in attendance who the real OGs are.

Splendour.3Imagine © Kalem Horn

And then it was time for the house lights, marking the end of another spell-binding Splendour adventure that had, once more, flashed past in a blurry ball of colour, energy, sounds, smells and outstanding memories… oh, and maybe a few blistered toes/ heels as well.

Click here to read part one of our 2019 Splendour review.


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