Review: 2023 Grapevine Gathering @ Serafino Wines (McLaren Vale)

Mike's life calling is live music photography. He's been lucky to work with bands shooting behind the scenes videos, concert photography and continues to shoot as often as he can with scenestr. More work and musings can be seen on @first3only.

The annual Grapevine Gathering this year finished up their 2023 season in South Australia.

Hosted at Serafino Wines in the picturesque wine region of McLaren Vale, the festival, renowned for being a sublime pairing of music, wine and good times, came together for an enchanting escape from reality in the beautiful surrounds of the glamorous winemaking estate.

Despite an overcast sky, the weather provided the perfect conditions for an outdoor festival, with a pleasant temperature that encouraged a sense of comfort and enjoyment.

On the winding trail to the festival grounds through the town and sprawling grounds, it was clear spirits were high and the festival season was kicking off in good fashion. Inside, the music and setting combined to create an atmosphere where joy was not just present but contagious.

Image © Mike Lockheart

The occasional glimpse of the sun through the clouds felt like nature's spotlight, adding to the magic of the day, climaxing with a gorgeous golden glow at sunset, illuminating Spacey Jane's set with wonder.

The Serafino estate's grounds were the epitome of natural beauty, with old eucalyptus trees gracing the surroundings. These trees not only provided patches of refreshing shade when needed, but also established a strong connection with the natural world. The dance of light and shadow under the eucalyptus canopy enhanced the festival's dynamic atmosphere, making it even more captivating.

Adelaide homecoming queens Teenage Joans, second on stage following Bella Amor, brought their punk-rock energy and ignited the day with their raw, unbridled passion. The crowd's enthusiastic response was a testament to the band's infectious energy.

The Rions
The Rions - image © Mike Lockheart

The Rions, with a quirky ode to their favourite Star Wars character, Anakin, added a fun and nerdy dimension to their typically cheerful and easy-going performance.

Their music was like a gentle coastal breeze, creating a serene, carefree ambience that was consistently foot-tapping. It was music that embodied the essence of a sun-soaked day where time seemed to stand still.

Lead singer, Noah Blockley commented that the Grapevine tour had been the "funnest five shows I've done in my life". The highlight of their set, 'Night Light', effortlessly had festival goers up on their feet, dancing and moving to the rhythm.

Lucy & Nikki, the dynamic duo behind the Happy Hour podcast, acted as hosts/ emcees of Grapevine 2023. Their podcast is a blend of discussions on entrepreneurship, relationships, wild party anecdotes, and all the complexities that occupy the minds of 20-somethings.

The pair brought a distinct party atmosphere to the event, adding an extra layer of unpredictable chaos to the festival atmosphere. Their involvement didn't stop at hosting; Lucy and Nikki also brought their signature flair to the stage.

At one memorable moment Lucy at the command of the audience did a shoey on stage, a daring and charismatic move that had the crowd in stitches. Their infectious enthusiasm for the festival experience was evident as they invited a handful of lucky audience members onstage to join them in performing the iconic 'Nutbush City Limits' dance.

Lucy Nikki
Lucy & Nikki - image © Mike Lockheart

The pair then introduced vocal powerhouse Vanessa Amorosi to the stage who delivered a rollicking performance of hits and covers. Her music featured a distinctly soulful gospel influence, especially 'Wolf'.

The pinnacle of her set was the iconic '90s pop hit 'Absolutely Everybody', connecting everybody in a unified sing-along. It was heartening to witness people of all ages coming together, with a predominant presence of younger folks.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the day was the palpable sense of community spirit that permeated the festival grounds. The inclusive and welcoming atmosphere fostered connections and unity among festival goers, creating a sense of shared celebration.

Next up; King Stingray, hailing from Arnhem Land, brought their eclectic Yolnu surf rock sound for a show nothing short of captivating and uplifting.

Fresh from having scored multiple wins at the Australian Independent Music Awards, their set included hits 'Milkumana', 'Get Me Out', 'Hey Wanhaka', and their Coldplay cover 'Yellow' – each of which ignited anthemic sing-alongs.

King Stingray
King Stingray - image © Mike Lockheart

Their performance was like a musical voyage that left everyone enraptured, connecting with the very essence of the Australian landscape through the fun-filled guitar leads of Roy Kellaway as well as vivid storytelling of vocalists Yirrŋa Yunupiŋu and Dimathaya Burarrwanga.

With Grapevine hosting their exclusive Australian performances, Liverpool's The Wombats brought with them a burst of high energy, uptempo hits that had the crowd energised from the start. Performances of 'Moving To New York', 'Techno Fan', and 'Lemon To A Knife Fight' had everyone dancing and jumping in the golden hour.

The nostalgia was palpable as the band revisited classics like 'Tales Of Girls, Boys & Marsupials' and 'Kill The Director'. Their set was an exhilarating journey through time, with a touch of new music and a few surprises, including furry wombat costumes dancing onstage.

The atmosphere was a vibrant, rowdy celebration of music that left everyone in a state of giddy euphoria, in part assisted by the flowing wines.

The Wombats
The Wombats - image © Mike Lockheart

As the sun dipped below the horizon and the air turned crisp, Spacey Jane took the stage and wrapped the audience in a warm, cosmic embrace.

Their feel-good anthems and vibrant stage presence turned the setting into a dream-like rave with everyone singing along and swaying in unison.

Backed by a breathtaking production of visuals and synchronised lighting, their set was as much transportive as it was joyous.

Closing out the event was DJ Hayden James, making a return to his Australian homeland with yet another exclusive performance courtesy of Grapevine. The atmosphere ignited as he launched with his latest release, 'We Could Be Love'.

Spacey Jane
Spacey Jane - image © Mike Lockheart

The heavy bass drops resonated through the crowd as flames and smoke cannons illuminated the night and spirits soared.

More photos from the festival.

Let's Socialise

Facebook pink circle    Instagram pink circle    YouTube pink circle    YouTube pink circle

 OG    NAT

Twitter pink circle    Twitter pink circle