Loch Hart Music Festival

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Loch Hart Music Festival

Going to a festival on its first year can be a bit of an interesting experience, mainly because you never know if it will be a one-off event that will cease to exist in the coming years, or if it’s going to be the start of something amazing.
I believe Loch Hart is the latter.
For starters, their site is incredible; picturesque views, a fantastic layout, a huge stage area that can quite easily turn into a sold-out amphitheatre… it has some bloody potential that’s for sure.
With an attendance of what felt like 350 people (not statistically accurate), Loch Hart was a haven of good vibes. With just one stage it was nice to see punters spending as much time as possible sinking tinnies and watching some of the best up and coming acts Australia has to offer.
As with any festival plan, you aim to leave at 2 and end up kickin’ it at 4:30, so as a result of that the first act I managed to see was Localles, which featured Ted O’Neil of The Vasco Era on vocals. Their hard rock grooves got punters up and about early in the night which was good to see before they finished with an epic cover of The Peep Temples’ ‘Carol,’ which Ted specified “should be the Australian national anthem.”
Waax from Brisbane took out the headliner slot of the Friday night and treated punters to something a bit harder with songs such as ‘Labrador’ and ‘Nothing is Always.’ Having just finished recording new music, they also performed a handful of new tracks, which were positively received by the crowd who by this point were well and truly won over by vocalist Maz Devita’s energetic stage presence.
After seeing Zoe Fox and the Rocket Clocks play a midday set at Kennedys Creek a few weeks back, I was really excited to see their unique extra-terrestrial pop showcased at a midnight slot, and it didn’t disappoint! Their synth-pop grooves created a mesmerising showcase which also featured a fantastic cover of Madonna’s ‘Beautiful Stranger,’ turning it into quite a slow and trippy experience.
Saturday was bloody hot but that didn’t discourage punters from getting down early to watch the talent on offer.
Sledgehammer were a band that have played at multiple shows I’ve gone to in the last six months but I always seem to miss, so I was really stoked that I finally got the chance to see them. Channelling a 60’s vibe with their retro sounding riffs and their impressive vocals, they are definitely one to keep an eye out for.
BIN have been on the rise over the last year so it was great to see a big turn-out for their set. Opening with an unreleased song that revealed a more aggressive direction was a really cool and unexpected change. Performing in the midday sun was never going to be an easy fete, but that didn’t stop them being one of the first bands of the day to really get people up and dancing. In fact, they did more than get them dancing. Punters took it upon themselves to lift up the nearest bin they could find as if they were introducing baby Simba as the newest Lion King. With their set featuring tracks such as ‘Moocher,’ ‘Never Grown Up’ and ‘Clowns,’ BIN where hands down one of my favourites of the weekend.
As were Gonzo, who also opened with a new song, the angular riffed ‘Snake Size’ (Sweet Child of Myles). I was actually really surprised with how much of Gonzo’s set featured new and unreleased material, which was unreal because truthfully their upcoming album is shaping up to be bloody epic. Having seen Gonzo since they were 16 years old, it truly amazes me how much they have progressed. Not to say that they weren’t always good, because that’s not the case, but damnnnnnnn, every time I see them it just gets better and better.
In my eyes, ORB probably should have played the Saturday night headliner slot, based on the fact that most of the people I spoke to said they were by far the act they were most excited for. Opening with ‘Reflection’ was a really nice surprise considering they have recently released a new album, and it was also a cool way to highlight Cal Shortal as an addition on guitar, giving the Melbourne-based doom act an even heavier sound. With their set featuring career-spanning songs such as ‘The Space Between,’ ‘First and Last Men,’ ‘Immortal Tortoise’ and ‘A Man in the Sand,’ it was hard not to be in awe. Orb is by far the best doom/stoner rock act around Australia at the moment and that is something that is reaffirmed every time I see them live.
Ivan Ooze finished up the acts on Saturday night. Being so far from my usual style of music, I have to say the dude was a great performer. I felt as if his on-stage hype men may have been a bit unnecessary, but there was no denying that the younger punters were loving it. It was also a fun ‘party’ set for the inebriated crowd, with heavy trap beats to dance to and a fun cover of Limp Bizkit’s ‘Rollin’. By the time he finished, you could tell the crowd was satisfied and ready for Post Percy to get on the decks next… but that didn’t stop Ooze from coming out for an encore anyway, to which even though they may not have chanted for it, the crowd certainly got into.
All up, I had a great time at Loch Hart. It’s an event that I truly hope continues to live up to the incredible amount of potential that it has. Definitely suss it out next year and give it a crack while it’s little because it is bound to keep getting bigger and bigger.
Friday November 16 – Sunday November 18.
Princetown, Victoria
Reviewed by Alex Callan
Photos by from dyl