Image for This That Festival – Newcastle Foreshore 05/11/16Photo: Kansas Smeaton

This That Festival – Newcastle Foreshore 05/11/16

Written by Meshell Webb on November 9, 2016

The sun is out and beating down as thousands of punters pour down the rolling green hills onto Newcastle’s foreshore for This That festival. A threatening gust of wind rips some banners loose but it’ll take more that a little breeze to dampen the Novocastrian spirit.

As my first time attending This That, I’ve only got foggy stories from friends to go off as far as what the day will have in store and there is a refreshing sense of excitement at becoming aquatinted with a new festival’s landscape. This That aptly name their two main stages, “This” and “That” which although a chuckle-worthy joke is one of the most irritating sentiments when trying to communicate to others where you’re meeting. Mobile reception was dodgy enough to block or delay most texts so every few metres you’d see a Stussy-clad bro yelling into his mobile, “MATE I SAID WE’RE MEETING AT THIS STAGE NOT THAT STAGE!”…actually in hindsight it was pretty damn hilarious.

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Photo: Kansas Smeaton

Sampa The Great kicked off our day, and our Snapchat story, with an electrified set. Her energy and soul is infectious and she’s surrounded herself in some of Sydney’s finest musicians. As a name on everybody’s tongue when it comes to rising stars, watching her illuminates why, the only thing that didn’t make sense is how the crowd wasn’t twice the size.

Traversing then to “That” stage, Enschway was busy entertaining those who’d chosen to opt for a vodka red bull for breakfast (avo toast is so 2015). He made a pretty scary blunder early on when he cut to mute after a classic banger buildup, but saved the moment with a killer attitude, claiming, “Look everybody f**ks up alright? Let’s do that again!” Not feeling quite ready to dance with the sweaty dude next to me, it was time to check out some of the non musical offerings.

This That put on an incredible variety of food trucks and stalls. There were glitter and body art stations which ensured you could fulfil your Coachella pinterest street style dreams, chill out tents and a plethora of cute clothing stalls in case you needed that 5pm outfit change. The VIP tent held a bar with the smallest line you’ll see at a festival and plenty of comfy chairs to chill out on while watching acts on the main “This” stage. As Ballpark Music played to the masses, I persuaded some lovely gentlemen to get fake eyelashes and flower crowns from the beauty bar (because anything for the snap right guys?)

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Photo: Kansas Smeaton

Perhaps one of the musical standouts of the day was Elliphant. The Swedish songstress/rapper/badass absolutely dominated her set despite some sound issues early on. Recent collaboration with local legends Peking Duk meant that there were fresh additions to her fanbase, making the crowd a heaving ball of energy. Elliphant, in turn, fed off the positive vibes and delivered so much salt and swagger to the stage that I felt ready for a sit down shortly after. Never one to miss local talent however, I rush back to catch as much of SAFIA as possible. Later I hear there were some sound issues on stage which may have added to the fact that things felt a little different, however the boys perform with such professional attitudes that my critical eye may have been the only one to notice. The crowd more than happy as they screamed along to some of their favourites, a definite highlight was a back to back of Listen to Soul, Listen to Blues and Paranoia, Ghosts and other sounds. Both of which already evoke a sense of nostalgia and remind you of why the band shot to stardom so damn quickly.

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Photo: Kansas Smeaton

The sun begins to set now, and right on cue, things get a little freaky. There are two smaller stages, The “Other” stage and a little sandy beach stage, both of which have a slew of epic local DJ and producers. If you were looking for a place to people watch then this was it. Lads in dresses and girls in nothing at all (unless electrical tape and fishing net is considered clothing) are grooving to their own beats and it’s nice to see the good old game of “stacks on” is still an acceptable way to make new friends at a music festival. I do pity the girl who was on the bottom of the pile though, she’s gonna have sand in her bed for weeks.

The general attitude of punters also began to become a teensy bit questionable after dark. Remember the part where in Gremlins where he went from being cute and fuzzy into a little slime devil that would haunt your dreams for years to come? Yeah…there was a little bit of that.

Escaping back to the comforting lights of the main stages, LDRU had people dancing literally ten seconds into his set and the party only escalated from here. Unfortunately, there were some pretty heavy clashes around this time so forfeiting the end of his set was the only way to catch arguably the biggest name of the day, Schoolboy Q.

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Photo: Kansas Smeaton

It didn’t matter that Schoolboy was performing at a mostly Australian, mostly electronic festival in an obscure part of the country. He undoubtedly stole the show and dominated his at capacity crowd. Weaving effortlessly through most of his Blank Face LP and with smatterings off Oxymoron thrown into the mix. The deep sub bass and undulating beats soared out over the crowd with Schoolboy steering the ship over the top. Tracks like WHateva U Want and Collard Greens were met with raucous joy from fans, but it was, of course, explosive single, That Part which hit the hardest and as quickly as it has begun, it was over.

Closing out the show was a cruel joke by promoters with both Hermitude and Peking Duk playing at exactly the same time on opposite ends of the grounds. The decisions were hard but most stuck with one or the other. Determined to have it all, I began with Hermitude who brought their impressive musical prowess out for a spin. Unfortunately, the sound system didn’t quite deliver their set in a deserving manner. 
Over at “This” stage, while Peking Duk may not take the heads down and show off our musicality approach, they still put on a hell of a show. With pyrotechnics, fireworks, guest vocalists and an intro from The Hoff to boot, the boys really throw one hell of a party. It’s a smart way to end a day that can only be described with the Trumpism of, Yuuuuge.

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Photo: Kansas Smeaton

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