Review: 2021 Splendour XR

Splendour XR

Splendour XR was a novel way to experience a music festival.

While not quite the same as seeing the artists on stage, it was still a great way to spend a weekend – feeling more like watching through a window than a screen.

Many of the artists explored new possibilities to create an interesting visual environment with set design and lighting. It was also a useful way to discover new artists, being easy to switch from one stage to another.

Some of the bigger name artists may have gone overboard on the graphics budget, at least for those who prefer a more realistic looking background.

Splendour XR Entrance

It was easy to set up an account to attend Splendour XR too, and once logged on you could switch between the three main stages easily. You could also select different views, such as crowd and artist, artist only or crowd only. This was a cool way to see how many people were watching each artist/ band.

The acts that most effectively gave the impression of being in the crowd at a real festival were the ones staged at a real gig, or those who had a realistic-looking set up. The graphics and effects that were used by many artists added a totally new aspect to the experience. However, these may be more effective in a VR setting compared to watching on a screen.

You were also able to select from a range of avatars as well, and interact with other attendees through a chat box on the side of the screen. On the web platform you did have to exit the artist-view to see this though.

Splendour Dancers

There were different rooms where people could go just to 'hang out', but it wasn't easy to see how to interact with individual avatars. People could also dance with their avatars [but I think this only worked with a VR set up].

Early on the first day was the duo Cat and Calmell. Their sultry vocals and well-balanced harmonisation created an easy-to listen show. They used creative set changes and their songs flowed well between upbeat and poppy, to more mellow and melancholy.

Cat and Calmell
Cat and Calmell

The surf rock band, King Stingray gave an energetic and dynamic performance. A mix of lyrics in lead singer Yirrŋa Yunupiŋu's languages Yolŋu Matha and English, created a unique blending of cultures. Yirrŋa has a rich and resonating voice that showcases a traditional style of singing.

The Chats were another entertaining band to watch. Lead singer, Eamon Sandwith's performance had all the intensity of a live punk show. They sung about topics such as a 6 litre GT-R, a small Aussie town Nambour, and ended the show with a strong rendition of their classic song 'Pub Feed'.

The Chats
The Chats

Methyl Ethel brought their soulful indie rock vibes. Their music ranges from funky to shoegazey, great for chilling on a lazy Saturday. The band were wearing matching white outfits in a warehouse setting, which constructed an interesting music video appearance.

Methyl Ethel
Methyl Ethel

The trailblazing psych pop-rock band Pond were great to see perform live, even through a screen. Their lead singer Nick Allbrook is a highly expressive performer and well supported by the band, including multi-instrumentalist Jay Watson. They created underwater psychedelic vibes with a purple overlay to their trippy music.

Griff is an up and coming singer who gave a splendid display of her lyrical stylings. Her unique voice, personal lyrics and classic indie-pop beats, bring an emotional punch to all her songs. The show had an appealing setting, with a large piano and a warm, intimate mood.

Vera Blue
Vera Blue

Vera Blue was an exquisite artist to watch. Her soaring voice and immersive performance made it seem like you were there at the show. The set design was an interesting mix of blues and yellows, which was reminiscent of Van Gogh's starry night.

Little Simz brought a combination of effortless raps and poetic truth-telling, to create a powerful, profound show. She performed some hard-hitting new songs from her upcoming album 'Sometimes I Might Be Introvert'. Her stage was set up creatively, with her band on a tiered platform.

Little Simz
Little Smiz

Chvrches sung some of their classic hits and newer songs with striking effect on a virtual stage. They went all-out with the set and graphics. Lead singer, Lauren Mayberry's voice was clear and vivid as always, and combines well with the '80s influenced synth to create their unique sound.


Day two saw rapper Ziggy Ramo, with roots in Arnhem Land, bring a passionate performance, interwoven with snippets of speeches and conversations relevant to Indigenous history. Ziggy's music is filled with emotion and soul as well as raw talent, and shines a light on the racist foundations of Australian culture.

AViVA gave an enthralling performance with her intense, eclectic approach to pop-punk. The set and lighting was well designed, with objects like chains to add to the creepiness (in a fun way). She brought a chaotic energy and emotion that added to her vocal performance.


Wafia put on a standout show with her joyful, upbeat indie-pop vibes. Her voice has an unconstrained breezy quality, and her powerful and emotion-packed lyrics are laid over well-crafted beats. Her stage set up was well styled and elegant.

Millenium Parade were a refreshing band to watch, with genre-warping mix of jazz, '90s hip hop and punk. They have an unexpected variety of instruments, including saxophone, flute and keyboard, as well as rappers singing through a megaphone. Their female vocalist brought an atmospheric sound to her tracks.

Splendour Hill

The Jungle Giants were true to form with a fun and dance-worthy show. They had a classic, well-designed stage set up in front of a large screen. They gave a compelling first live performance of their new single 'Love Signs'. Their style epitomises peak indie-rock of the past decade.

Female-fronted punk rock band, Amyl and the Sniffers were great to watch, with their fun lyrics and intense energy. The lead singer has an impressive and sonorous voice, which would have been all the more if her mic was as loud as the rest of the band.

The Avalanches' show was set during a live gig at a gorgeous venue. They begun by bringing us virtual viewers along with them backstage as they walked on stage. The camera moved throughout the venue and the crowd, giving a unique perspective. Their music is a dreamy mosaic of well crafted samples.

The Avalanches

There you have all the artists this reviewer got a chance to see. I'm sure I've missed some excellent acts, but I guess that's how it goes.

Written by : Jade Manson

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