Ahh festival season, it’s a magical time of year. It makes memories of sunshine, beers, sweaty bodies rubbing together in the mosh, and of course, the music. Although it’s not quite summer and festival season isn’t upon us just yet, Maroochydore has just kicked things off with the Maroochy Music and Visual Arts Festival. This was the first year the festival has taken place, which took over the Horton Park Golf Course of the Sunshine Coast on August 22.
The inaugural Maroochy Music and Arts Festival was a resounding success, brimming with great bands, cold beer and plenty of fan girling. See you next year!
Before you had even entered the golf course, Maroochy had gone and done Splendour… the 200m walk to get into the festival was completely caked with shoe-covering mud (my poor, white converse will never be the same again). Once you got into the golf course it was a slight relief that there was no more mud in sight, and attendees were greeted by giant inflatable rabbits, a plethora of food stalls and a beautiful 70m long bar. Lurking behind everything over the hill was the stage, just one glorious stage. So there were no band clashes, no leaving one band early to catch the last 15 minutes of another band and no arguing with friends about who to see next.
It was all just too easy… one stage, 11 stellar acts.
WAAX kicked the day off bright and early, and although the grounds were pretty quiet, they delivered an energy that made it feel as though they were playing to thousands, especially when they belted out the single I For An Eye, which a lot of people seemed to be familiar with. Front-woman Marie De Vita did a perfect job of setting the standard for the day, and showed Maroochy how punk-rock should be done.
As the crowds were starting to spill through the gates and the sun was burning through the clouds (it was pretty obvious by my sunburn that I was one of the only non-Queenslanders there), Melbourne’s Harts took to the stage with his funky, bluesy pop sounds and had the crowd up and dancing in no time at all. He busted out tracks like Breakout and Red and Blue, and does things with a guitar that seems humanly impossible. Harts was followed by Haitus Kaiyote, who played to an ever expanding crowd. They delivered a really different vibe to the rest of the morning through their soulful sounds, and everyone who heard them seemed to fall in love.
Now, I’m not very good at acting cool and casual when I’m really excited to see a band. So I was fan girling the fuck out when Gang of Youths came on stage. It had just started raining pretty heavily, but the crowd just kept getting bigger and bigger. Front-man David Le’aupepe and his luscious locks has such an effortlessly cool stage presence, and you can barley take your eyes off him for the entire set. They smashed out tracks like Poison Drum, Radio Face and Benevolence Riots, and finished off the set to screaming fans with Magnolia, which had just about everyone singing along.
This was definitely a standout performance for the day. I’m sure there would have been no complaints if these guys decided to stay on and play for another hour, but it was time for Apline to come on and do their thing. Singers Lou and Phoebe graced the stage in a couple of pretty funky outfits, which perfectly teamed up with their carefree and fun performance. In between tracks the girls had a lot of interaction with the crowd, making it feel like a really intimate set. Singles like Foolish and Damn Baby made an appearance, and set fans into overdrive with excitement. Lou was lovely enough to come down onto the golf course after their set to take photos and chat with fans.
DZ Deathrays were up next, and I was fan girling once again, and it seemed like the rest of the crowd were just as excited…you could feel everyone behind you bustling to get their spot and it was pretty fucking crowded by now. About 30 seconds into their first song, No Sleep, the atmosphere was pumped up about 20 notches, and this vibe stayed throughout their whole act. Black Rat and Gina Works At Hearts were definitely crowd favourites, and up there with the standouts of the day. They had the whole mosh thrashing and getting sweaty together, and there’s no doubt that the quiet town of Maroochydore would have heard some of the action.
It was pretty dark by now, and as The Kite String Tangle were setting up I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I wasn’t super familiar with their music, but it’s safe to say I’m a fan now. They killed it with their alternative/electro sound and seemed to have everyone entranced as they played behind a thin curtain of fog.
Hermitude were the closing act for the festival, and according to the buzz going around the golf course, Maroochy had pretty big expectations for these guys. Just about everyone at the festival had gathered around the stage for Hermitude, and they went above and beyond expectations. They delivered an energy that had thousands of people bouncing and busting out some pretty unique dance moves. They dropped tracks like Through The Roof, Searchlight, and did a pretty funky rendition of Hyperparadise remixed with In The Jungle from The Lion King. They finished off the night with The Buzz, which once again, sent fans crazy with excitement before everyone started streaming out through the muddy exit.
Although this was the festival’s first run, the day ran so smoothly and delivered an energy that made it feel as though it has been running for years. Every act absolutely killed it, and there was not one part of the day that brought the energy down. So here’s hoping that Maroochy will be back next year!