This year the gumboots were left behind as thousands flocked to Byron Bay and the home of one of the finest music festivals in Australia. Instead sheer dresses were rocked with Doc Martins, shirts became optional and sunnies soon became victims of the moshpit.
While the tropical weather and ‘Splendour in the Mud’ were amiss for 2016, it meant that savouring every song by past-time favourites of The Strokes, The Cure and The Avalanches became much more possible.
Perhaps the most anticipated performance of the festival was that of sample-crazed DJ crew, The Avalanches. Though some will say the 16 years could have done with a few extra months of preparation, as their set seemed to under-rehearsed. All the hits were there, mashed up in a manner only a live performance could deliver, but it was all slightly rough around the edges. However, it’s known that Robbie Chater has had well documented health issues, which most likely were the cause for disappointment among fans.
The Strokes were also in the same category of expectation, though came away relatively unscathed with disappointment. They came, they rocked and they knew they had everyone in the palms of their hands.
With such a vivid, heartfelt back catalogue, and one that personally reinvigorated my angst-y 15-year-old self, The Cure’s set (and all three hours of it) was near perfection. Surprisingly ‘Friday, I’m in Love’ was played early on, however ‘Love Cats’ didn’t make a feature, which was a shame. Throughout the three hours, and even with the transport debacle of the night before, festival goers stayed ‘till the very last song.
Flume held his own on the Sunday night, confessing immense gratification to be performing a slot that he’d previously watched on admirably. A mic-drop-worthy diss of Pauline Hanson was made, and with the many special guests by Vera Blue, Remi, Ngaiire and more, it was a set that was worthy of closing the main stage.
Aside from headliners, the Preatures filled the GC McLennan stage in true style even without bassist Gideon Benson, Sticky Fingers filled the amphitheatre as did Gang of Youths, and Wafia continued to fuel the hype of what Kylie Jenner had already created on socials. Whatever you were seeking at Splendour, and even what you didn’t know you were, finding it was more than possible with the diverse array of artists on this year’s lineup.
Despite issues with parking, transport and toilet cleanliness, the wealth of talent spread across the three days is more than enough to admonish any ill-thoughts. With such a scenic location, Splendour really lives up to its name and is one of the best musical escapes I’ve had in a long while.
“I’d rather watch a girl shit on my face,” said by a punter leaving the Mix Up Stage on Saturday night.
“I’m too busy focusing on touching my bum,” said by a girl as reason not to be listening.
“Vodka is life,” said by we’re imagining most of the festival.
Main image: by Savannah van der Niet