I found myself standing in the crowd, looking up at Big Boi from Outkast spitting out rhymes as easily as I could manage to say the alphabet. It was surreal having listed to the same song on cassette tapes recorded off the radio with the start just cut off because I couldn’t hit the record button on time, but at the same time there were many in the crowd who wouldn’t have even experience listing to a cassette, if they even knew what one was, and weren’t even born when these songs were in the charts. Rewind just a few hours to the start of my Splendour 2014 journey.
I picked up our Hippie Camper Deluxe from the Brisbane branch with a good buddy of mine ready from a weekend of live music and adventures. The pickup went without a hitch and was easy as. We hit the road with spirits high and our Spotify Splendour playlist blaring. After stocking up the van with all the essentials we headed down to the North Byron Parklands where the festival was held. We managed to find a spot to park up in RV World passing many Apollo family branded vehicles, and even a couple Hippie’s were across from us. It was lucky that a group of friends we were meeting were camping just around the corner from us too! We set up camp and prepared for our first night of heavy jams.
The sun was just setting as our merry posse of 10 cheerful souls made our way towards the main stage, an amazing and huge amphitheatre directed towards a massive stage setup. The only problem with this stage was the gnarly walk up the hill that left my calves burning. We were right on time to get a sweet spot just near the front of the stage to catch Spiderbait. What a way to start! We stuck around here for the next few hours waiting for the main event of the night and my festival, Outkast! I joked around with a buddy that they’ll come out blazing with their hit B.O.B. that would force me to summon the power of the shimmy gods to shake my thang using up all my energy, even having a little shimmy battle with a fellow Outkast fan. And whad’ya know, they did. And did I ever shake my booty! What a way to open! Their set was as solid as I could have ever hoped and left me panting like a race horse on Darby day… We finished the night with a little warm down dance in the Tipi Forest then a short walk back to the camp site past the village of tents for a feed and much needed rest.
Saturday started much to my objection. The morning sun was most unwelcome but we forced ourselves up and cooked a feed to fuel our bodies for a full day of rad tunes. We hung around the campsite for a while waiting for another member to join our crew. As soon as he arrived we got pumped and headed in to see local band Violent Soho. They were at the main stage which meant another trip up the dreaded hill of burning calves. But again, worth it. Violent Soho were belting out and the crowd was pumped. Myself and a mate braved the mosh and made our way through sweaty bodies while getting pushed in every direction, trying not to fall and keep my shoes. I realised I wasn’t as young as I used to be when I banged my head and bounced off random strangers, so we retreated somewhat defeated to the safety of the hill behind us. After we moved to one of the DJ tents for a change of scenery and to get our jive on. It was a full day and evening of exploring the massive Splendour grounds and stopping in to enjoy various bands playing in little tucked away venues. The skies opened up in a quick downpour leaving muddy puddles around the edges of the tents but it dampen anyone’s spirits. The night rolled on and thankfully the mud didn’t stick around since I wasn’t equipped this year with my gumboots. The night ended in the wee hours of the morning where again we retired after cooking a small feast.
Sunday funday surprisingly started with a relatively clear, albeit slow, head. Our little camping stove was put to good use for our morning feed and we headed over to meet our fellow comrades to plan the day. We headed in for a bit more exploring, trying to find weird and wonderful little corners he hadn’t yet found. In the afternoon we all finally met up again as a lovely group to catch Grouplove. We were with a couple of big time fans, and their enjoyment was infectious. After a song or two we were all dancing around like headless chooks grinning from ear to ear. They put on a rad show and ended in true rock and roll style by smashing a guitar to smithereens. The pace moved to the other end of the scale as we settled in to enjoy the smooth melodies of First Aid Kit as the sun disappeared. Their sound seemed to re-energize our bodies as we hurried to catch the end of Hilltop Hoods. It was difficult to grasp the enormity of the amphitheatre until the hill was covered with a sea of humans. What a sight that was! It was good to see such an enormous turnout for some locally made music. As the crowed shifted after their set we snagged a good perch to watch Foster the People play a sweet set of jammin tunes. We rounded off the night with a dance off to Darkside and warmed up next to the bon fire. I looked around and saw a bunch of sorry looking faces ready to pack in for the night, myself included. Lily Allen was still belting out at the main stage and we cruised back to camp to wind down and debrief on what was yet another epic Splendour bender. We sat around and discussed the highlights and lowlights of the previous few days, and felt a little saddened that it all had to come to an end. What my buddy weren’t sad about was returning to our Hippie Camper to tuck in on a freezing cold night for a peaceful sleep.
Monday morning, like any other Monday, was a drag. It was time to pack up and make our way back to reality. Our bodies were slow and heavy and took some convincing to do what we told them. When we set up we were stocked at our close position to the gate, but this also meant we were now towards the rear of the line to get out. It took about two and a half hours to make our way to the front gate and hit the road. Thankfully when we got back to Brisbane we could just drop the camper off and bounce. Easy as.