There’s a lot to adore about Groovin The Moo. Every year the festival draws in a diverse lineup of acts from locations scattered all across the globe and, in turn, brings in a similarly varied crowd. In my opinion, whilst festivals exist to display acts that will knowingly draw a crowd, they also provide an opportunity for music fans to discover a new favourite. Throughout its history, Groovin The Moo has shown equal appreciation and respect to both local, emerging and large international acts. Without a doubt, when it comes to providing a voice and stage to unearthed talent, Groovin The Moo is one of the leading Australian festivals.
As the day began and the icy Canberra winds were starting to settle in, the now Melbourne-based Bec Sandridge tore open the festival with her warm, whimsical tunes. Attracting a crowd of old mega fans (me among them) and a selection of new ones, Bec showed her potential to play a higher spot on the lineup and others in the years to come, showcasing a comfortability and bold confidence in her live show.
As the population of the festival became denser, the Moolin Rouge tent started to tighten as many gathered to hear the soothing sounds of young gun, Amy Shark. Alike many other acts throughout the day (namely Montaigne and K. Flay), Amy didn’t let the stage swallow her and utilised every inch of it to deliver an enthusiastic, enthralling and strong live show that well and truly proved that she is more than just “Adore”. Burning through bangers from her debut EP (such as “Drive You Mad”), the Gold Coast songwriter didn’t elicit an ounce of fear as she securely championed a colossal crowd.
The sun finally started beaming down as K. Flay took the stage. Cloaked by her dark hair, she delivered a captivating and varied performance, burning through abrasive, bold hits like “Blood In The Cut” and the novel, swinging and eerie “High Enough”. Allowing her raspy vocal chops to lead her performance, she brought a high energy to the festival that was only continued and strengthened when Against Me! took to the stage.
The Gainsville punk outfit played one of the strongest sets of the day, digging into the archives while putting recent material on show. The connection between band and audience was inevitably strong as a kind crowd chanted back frontwoman Laura Jane Grace’s wordy and personal lyrics. A slightly unwell Montaigne enchanted audiences with her theatricality and heavenly vocal abilities while crowd favourite Tash Sultana delivered a nebulous, free-flowing and hypnotising show to a packed mosh pit.
It was The Smith Street Band, however, that absolutely topped the day. As they ripped through tune after tune, it became apparent just how much of a classic, staple band they are quickly becoming. With Australiana hanging in the year, the band smiled through a perfect setlist. With drunken, sing-along choruses aplenty, the band performed with such vigour and enthusiasm, it was difficult not to get wholeheartedly involved.
As the skies grew darker, moody performances from Pnau and Milky Chance buzzed audiences as they both respectively brought elements of mystery and intrigue to their performances. The Wombats chugged through a varied set of timeless hits as the crowd echoed the lyrics that soundtracked their adolescence back at them.
Groovin The Moo doesn’t have any parameters. Whoever you are, whatever music you’re into, you’ll find yourself satisfied upon leaving the festival. As I stood in the crowd, pressed against the barricade, screaming my guts out to Against Me!, I was reminded once again exactly why I love live music so damn much.
Usually, I only hear these bands running through my headphones whilst alone but there’s just something about standing shoulder to shoulder with complete strangers, experiencing the talent of an incredible band that provides a truly unique experience. There was a tangible sense of support and comradery that ran deep through the festival’s veins, a feeling that no doubt resonated strongly with punters and will have them racing back for more come 2018.
Photos by Jeremy Brebner.