December 29-January 1 the Glenworth Valley held host to the Peats Ridge Festival. The beloved Sydney hide-a-way festival saw its 8th year, while those who endured the 2007 festival cancelation held their collective breaths in the lead-up wondering if the recent spate of El Nina rains would again see a raincheck on the festival. Fortunately the El Nina took some respite and mostly Peats Ridge had clear skies.
Goyte brought in 2012, a subdued yet popular line-up choice. The highly-anticipated act’s presence was swamped by the festival’s main Bell Bird Stage amphitheatre environment – the wide space appeared to void the intimacy of the Goyte experience. If Goyte chilled the crowd out, then London’s electro outfit Stanton Warriors picked them up and made them dance.
Tijuana Cartel, a well known festival troupe, brought together a broad spectrum of musical genres and was definitely the pick of the festival and raised the roof off the house. Who would have thought that the Gold Coast could produce a band so diverse, danceable and delicious?
Gone this year were the communal outdoor showers and composting toilets (some breathed a sigh of relief) but the practicalities of this were, while toilets flushed and the showers promised hot water, neither really delivered. Community arts-minded folk were well catered for at the number of smaller stages from the Wonderdome and the workshop stages. Big ups to Peats Ridge for attempting to have a low festival carbon footprint, even if it’s for a short time, encouraging people to sort their waste and compost is seriously cool. Providing a space for people to discuss their sustainability role from the Coal Steam Gas Campaign to ecoactvism 101 and straw bale house building was a nice element to the sustainable festival vibe.
Other festival highlights: Thundamentals – having not heard much about Thundamentals other than the radio play that songs like Paint the Town Red have been getting, infectious party anthems are a good description – the music that you want to be listening to on the drive home; Newtown favourites The Crooked Fiddle Band made their presence felt; special mention to Elizabeth Rose and Gemma Ray for representing women on stage in such delectable ways.
Over all, Peats Ridge proved once again that it does not disappoint and its title of Sydney’s favourite New Year’s Festival is well deserved by far.