That’s a wrap! Splendour In The Grass was certainly eventful this year — from shock cancellations to stunning live performances, these were the highs and lows from Australia’s biggest winter music festival.
The spirit of resilience is alive and well
It was supposed to be Splendour’s glorious comeback after three COVID-impacted no-shows, but Mother Nature had other plans. Ticket-holders and organisers alike tried to make the most of very tough conditions and the worst weather in the festival’s 21-year history, resulting in a shock cancellation of Friday’s main stage artists. But everyone bounced back in good spirits on Day 2 with the attitude of “you gotta make lemonade outta mud”.
Yes, there were challenges – Splendour apologised for chaotic bus delays, while overcoming safety concerns and staff shortages – but against all odds, live music persevered and golden memories were made.
Tyler, The Creator is the perfect closer
Living up to a lineage of impressive Splendour rap headliners – from Kanye West and Outkast through to Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino – Tyler, The Creator brought the weekend to a close with a high energy, high concept one-man show. As well as showcasing the Grammy-winning hip hop auteur’s depth as a performer and songwriter, it showcased his showmanship and strong visual language with some impeccably curated stage production that would make any film director proud. “I stink, my legs hurt, I’m outta breath,” he told the 30,000-strong hillside. “You know what that signifies? It was a great f**king show.” Hard agree! Full review here.
The Strokes sound as stylish as ever
Don’t believe recent overseas headlines regarding Julian Casablancas’ “worrying” behaviour and the rumoured “end of The Strokes”. The NYC music royalty were present, sounding as sharp as ever for their headlining Saturday slot. Dipping heavily into their seminal 2001 debut album Is This It, their era-defining indie rock still packs a punch, even as it’s gone in and out of fashion.
They don’t work the crowd much but it’s hard to fault their tight playing and esteemed songbook. There’s a reason they remain near the top of the Rolodex when festivals need to call in a headliner. Following Splendour, The Strokes play sideshows later this week. Don’t miss them. Full review here.
Amyl & The Sniffers
The last time the Aussie pub-punks played Splendour, it was opening the Amphitheatre to a small crowd of 100-ish in 2018. So, it’s an understatement to say Amyl & The Sniffers received a hero’s welcome headlining the GW McLennan stage on Sunday night. Fresh from kickstarting a national tour, and conquering UK’s Glastonbury festival and Coachella earlier this year, the group were more than ready to deliver a ripping performance. And rip they did.
The electrifying Amy Taylor retained her throne as one of the country’s most magnetic performers, and the ferocious cuts from second album Comfort To Me sounded as loud, raw, and sweaty as you’d hope for.
G Flip enters their rockstar era
Four years on from making their buzzworthy Splendour debut, G Flip has graduated from a cute pop-maker on the rise, to a bona fide star serving non-binary punk-rock energy. They performed like it was a career-defining set, stoking a scream fest from a late afternoon audience (that included a notable portion of under 18s). Flip brought showboating spectacle – doing a shoey, a cover of ‘Valerie’, and an extended drum solo to medley of Billie Eilish, Blink-182, Toto’s Africa, Tatu, Kanye West… all one-handed to boot (after breaking their arm). But there was sentimental moments, too, such as performing ‘About You’ (“the song that started it all”) and emotional new anthem ‘Waste Of Space’.
Friday night festivities
What do when you rock up expecting Gorillaz, The Avalanches, DMA’s and a full Friday’s worth of acts, only to find none of it is happening? Find another way to party! That’s exactly what a bunch of undeterred Splendour-goers did, taking to the Global Village, Tipi Forest and the other festival destination spaces that remained open in order to boogie the blues away. “We still had fun,” one punter told triple j. “We went to the Captain Morgan tent and all won cowboy hats, so you know, silver linings.”
Other fans took advantage of make-up shows happening around Byron – organised at the 11th hour and featuring the billed acts like Confidence Man, YUNGBLUD, Like A Version stars Wet Leg, and more. That included Baker Boy taking to the Beach Hotel, and recruiting Powderfinger vocalist Bernard Fanning to perform ‘Wish You Well’ live on stage together for the first time.