Groovin the Moo continues, year after year, to bring chill vibes and good times to rural settings, and this year was no exception.
Those queuing early at the gate were the first to be treated with the absolutely perfect weather on Sunday. Those who’d made the journey from down south and were dreading the North Queensland humidity had their fears quelled with a cool breeze and ample shade bringing sweet relief from the heat.
Ticketing and entry went by without a hitch. More than enough staff manned the gates of the Townsville Cricket Grounds and made the process of entry far less painful of a process than frequent festivalgoers have come to expect. As often is the case, the majority of attendees skipped on the opening acts and made their appearance after lunch – pacing the ticketing lines and making it all the easier.
Those who did make the morning effort were treated with the delights of either Alex Oram or Finding Luna – both of which played solid sets, despite performing for only a handful of people. As more punters arrived throughout the day it became apparent that the Moolin Rouge stage – the only indoor stage of the three – would pull a consistently larger crowd. Sunburn can be a pretty persuasive deterrent.
Though early acts such as Last Dinosaurs continued to deliver lively performances, the gathered crowd (consisting of an interesting mix of hipsters and electronic-minded youth just chasing #good times) didn’t really reciprocate the energy until later in the day. It was as if they were saving it up.
Thankfully, all that energy came alive for Matt and Kim, whose peculiarly sexualized drum and piano mix made for one of the most energetic sets of the day. Hit after hit was spliced with dubstep intervals and confetti showers in a performance Townsville will find hard to forget. It was light-hearted, joyous and a definite mood-setter from the remainder of the Moo.
As is the norm at festivals, food and refreshments were still as overpriced as all hell, though our pockets didn’t feel the pain as much as at some other Australian events. By the time lunch rolled around, $6 sandwiches and $4 bottles of water were a welcome treat and not the debt-inducing cash squeeze we often anticipate. Alongside that, large numbers of volunteer Red Frogs handing out help (and handfuls of condoms) throughout the day kept things as chill as could be, especially with the largely teenage audience present.
Technical difficulties throughout the day were few and far between. On the contrary, sound mixing, lighting and visuals only improved as the day progressed. By the time big acts Flume and The Kooks had taken the stage audiences were witnessing some truly spectacular displays.
Fans of the psychedelic-rock group Tame Impala were lulled into a glaze of grunge by the onscreen effects and jam-like performance of the scruffy looking band, though there was something in the air that may also have influenced quite a few of the crowd as well as their idols on stage (hint: it wasn’t love).
Headliners Example and The Temper Trap brought a roaring end to the night. The Temper Trap’s as-always impeccable musicianship drew the indie demographic to the Triple J stage for the emotionally rich performance we’ve come to respect from one of this country’s favourite indie rock acts. On the other hand, Example made the crowd quake with drop after drop in their live drum and bass act. Though Example himself proved the most lackluster part of their set, the visual spectacular more than accounted for any flaws. It was loud, it was sweaty and, as most who made the trip to Groovin will agree, it was phenomenal.
Groovin the Moo pulls increasingly impressive acts year after year, bringing a taste of some of the world’s best indie to rural communities. It’s no wonder, either; this is one of the most expertly run and relaxed festivals Australia has on offer, which is something we can all be proud of.