Everybody love everybody. That was the theme of the Yours & Owls Festival weekender in 2017.
From RAAVE TAPES at the Rad Stage telling punters to turn to the person next to them and ask if they’re having fun, to the rainbow flag covered stage Holy Holy graced, to the passionate cries of “VOTE YES” from The Preatures and just about every other artist that player, everybody in Stuart Park was in love.
Around the festival were more rainbow flags plus Your Choice posters, a music industry initiative tackling toxic behaviour at festivals and gigs, echoing the E.L.E mantra.
I have a few special mentions to make. The people that offered me use of the portaloo before them, a local stall holder who was chatting to me about Bec Sandridge very proudly, and Benny, who was on acid and played with my curls for 20 minutes while telling me about the Italian mafia which rules Australian festivals.
This was my third year at Yours & Owls Festival, and it’s incredible to see how much it has grown. The new addition of a local tent, organised by Strawberry Visions, was probably my favourite. It featured a ball pit, a tower of bread educating people on food waste, a stage where I saw comedy and later in the night, Whitney Houston karaoke.
I also had someone write me a poem on a typewriter, and this was only half of what was in there.
Another admiring addition was the recycling station which gave people refunds for cans, encouraging people to clean up after themselves. With stats on the consumption of plastic and approachable stallholders, it was a great element to include.
Another beautiful moment was Montaigne’s set, where her sister Tij stood on someone’s shoulders in the crowd, proudly yelling the lyrics to Lonely while Montaigne reached out to her.
The Rad Stage, filled with local talent, always had something on worth watching, except when the AFL and NRL grand finals were played on the screen, despite watching part of it when I needed somewhere to sit and eat my dinner. The grand finals probably had the loudest cheers of the festival.
The ratio of female to male acts was awesome and showed that a good balance can be achieved, leaving no excuses for the festivals that decide not to do this! Despite the existence of four stages, I only bounced between the three, with little time in between. Yours & Owls Festival has come a long way since the first year I attended!
Relive the weekend through the photos, or relive your FOMO if you didn’t make it to the festival. Make better choices next year.
Photos and words by Brooke Tunbridge.