Groovin The Moo Maitland 2016 / Photo By Annette Geneva

Groovin The Moo Maitland 2016 Festival Diary


Broken and legless. My alarm’s discordant bleating echoes in the no-light morning. Fumbling and blind. My folded-up body unfurls to the congress of chirping birds. Tears and sweat. I rally all my meagre powers to fight Hypnos, divine of slumber.

I clench my fists, swing them against the sheet-tide. My body, habituated into the late night and late morning pattern of shift work, resists my efforts to activate it. I can do this.


I sit on the train for three and a half hours. Nothing happens. I have deep longing to eat Korean food.


My fingers search my wallet. The red hue of the twenty dollar note flickers in the transit officer’s high-vis vest.

“Cheers mate”

I step on the bus. There are countless carefully crafted brows. A pseudo-Zayn-boi turns around, his are opaque, obsidian even. Two black Katanas hang benign above his blood red eyes. His friend, in an act of well meaning bio-mimicry, has a pair of frayed bat wings. Welcome, Sir Dark Knight. By adding further definition to your brow, you will only increase your vigilante-power.

A group of femme-hyenas, ranked by their respective decibel production, sip on their Mount Franklin-cum-double blacks. The bus vibrates, when the most voluble chorales the rest to sing. The New Zealand National Anthem, in its complete bilingual form, screeches through my already deaf left ear and collapses the left side of my brain.


WAFIA sings as she always does – to perfection. Her cadences hover above the crowd. I imagine them whirling and whorling about like fire-dust. Heartburn submerges me. Its careful, almost fragile beat structure and accompanying synth-yawns produce a song of wonderful texture and pathos. Window Seat and Fading Through feel the same. They beautiful exercises in electronic restraint.


What So Not’s Get Free remix booms as I make my way towards the Moulin Rouge tent. The crowd is jumping to the off-kilter syncopation that characterises so much of Emerson’s music. George Maple appears on the stage. She sways in her sensuous and sinuous way, as Gemini escapes her lips.

Emerson commands that the crowd form a circle. We disperse. An empty arena stands before us. The drop hits. Fans throw themselves forward, and ricochet like pinballs in a blender. I close my eyes, feel a hand push me into the centrifuge. I stumble through the mud-aluminium soup at my feet.


Golden Features appears on stage. The assault begins as a bass-heavy, EDM storm pours out of the speakers. Tell Me possesses the crowd with its off-beat and quirky soundscape, transforming us all into palsied music-monsters. No One hits me even harder. Telescope zings through my brain like a quick silver bullet

The ‘NO STAGE DIVING/NO CROWD SURFING’ signs stand ominous on either side of the stage. At sporadic points, a person will burst out of the human mass and tip toe on our finger tips. The moment is short-lived.

A rogue wheelie bin rises betwixt the lines of fluorescent light. It’s lid flaps open, ajar in a plastic-cackle. Its wheels spin, knotting peroxide hair and bucket hats, as it rides the drunken craniums to the stage. Unable to handle the weighty torque of bin-friend, he/she sinks, the crowd jostles.

I shed a tear. Bin-friend falls. His/her indented lip-lid moves.

“Veni, vidi, vici”


Boy and Bear fill the air with their signature sound. An older man turns to me and points to the crowd.

“They don’t appreciate it”, he says.

Baby boomers wrapped in plaid ‘twist and shout’. One woman swivels her hips. She moves both with the slowness of the sloth and the daintiness of the flamingo. Another man does a hyper-contained running man; his arms swing in millimetric increments. He has a self-reflexive moment, realises that his daddy-shtick is causing swathes of revellers to writhe in pain. His grin widens.


The moon is fucking beautiful.


6 people, alternating male and then female, form a line in front of me. Their hands hover over each other’s waistlines and then dive. They weave through sweaty denim, germ-ridden cultures and pubic stank. A messy meeting of hands and crotches. A less grotesque Human Centipede.

It is a strange thing to witness the piece by piece, person by person, construction of a ‘love’ train.

The crowd rides the immediacy of Ratatat‘s Cream on Chrome with its hooky guitars and alchemical groove. The masturbatory congo line rises undulates up and down.

Falcon Jab comes on. It is pure fucking wizardry. We are talking Gandalf The White, Dumbeldore and David Blaine all spliced into a sonic admixture; a perfect sound potion.


Groovin The Moo 2016 was great. If the NSW government could have its way, Groovin The Moo would have been attended by a small family of virginal puritans who love playing catch-the-cross and hymn-karaoke. No Mr. Baird. We will not don your silly shackles. We are wet from dancing, so they will slip off anyway.

Gallery: Groovin The Moo 2016 – Maitland 23/04/16 / Photos: Annette Geneva

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