Beat’s Favourite Meredith Music Festival Performances

Get the latest from Beat

Beat’s Favourite Meredith Music Festival Performances


DJ Harvey – 2010: Tyson Wray

The closing set of the Saturday night at Meredith is consistently the highlight of my year. So much so that it’s near impossible to pick a favourite. Tim Sweeney has absolutely killed it both times he’s closed out the festival, local lads Otologic dropping Par-T-One’s I’m So Crazy into Retro/Grade’s Moda was phenomenal, but nothing could surpass DJ Harvey. Taking to the decks at 4.15am with DJ Garth, the Cambridge native seamlessly weaved a disco and house party like only he can, which culminated in an all-Amphitheatre inclusive sing-a-long of Justin Vandervolgen’s I Love You. Bless. Harvey ended the set like a true rock star by smashing all of the equipment on stage, including local stalwart Andee Frost’s rare Bozak mixer, which saw him forfeit his playing fee. Yowsah.

Eddy Current Suppression Ring – 2009: Patrick O’Neill

This gig for Eddy Current seemed to be the conclusion to a five year ground swell of live notoriety. It was hard to get in to an ECSR gig at the best of times, but this Saturday headline spot gave everybody the chance to see what ‘The Cuz’ was all about. The Amphitheatre was jam packed and the local lads brought it hard. Brendan parting the crowd during Precious Rose has to be my memorable Meredith moment.

Warped – 2001: Dan Watt

My most memorable Meredith Music moment is, suitably, the first band I saw at my first Meredith: Warped. They arrived at the stage in a Valiant Charger and then Lighting Boy Watkins and Co. proceeded to tear this then idealistic 20-year-old a new rock’n’roll asshole via the band’s uncompromising hard-edged music. Soon after the completion of their set I got punched in the face by Mark from Jet because I was hooking up with his ex-girlfriend. 

 Cut Copy – 2011: Lachlan Kanoniuk

I think 2008 – with The Bronx firebombing the rain, Beaches and Tame Impala breaking through, and Yacht Club DJs dropping Sex On Fire after a lacklustre MGMT set, Adam Green’s impeccable sedative-addled banter –  was my favourite Meredith overall. Then 2009 was headlined by the greatest band of our generation (Eddy Current). But in 2011 Cut Copy pulled off my definitive magic Meredith moment by illuminating the drizzle-covered Supernatural Amphitheatre for a few fleeting seconds before that mighty Hearts On Fire drop. Truly supernatural.

Primal Scream – 2012: Cassandra Kiely

There was an incredible atmosphere in the crowd for Primal Scream’s set, Bobby was on fire and the whole band seemed to be having the time of their lives. My friend and I drove up after work, we had been given some last minute free tickets; so it was in a rush to get to Meredith in time for their set. We arrived literally as the band started playing and somehow snaked our way through the crowd, until suddenly we were right up the front and dancing with our friends. Everyone had a smile on their face, the crowd was dancing and singing along to Come Together – it was a perfect Meredith moment. I’ve seen Primal Scream a number of times but this was definitely one of my favourite performances, the amphitheatres bush setting and Gillespie’s unbridled energy made for a very special show. Pure magic.

The Make-Up – 1998: Patrick Emery

It was a ridiculously hot Saturday afternoon in 1998.  We’d departed from Melbourne about 11am, only to make a detour back home when a fellow attendee discovered she’d left her ticket pinned to the fridge.  Arriving at the campsite (the ‘old’ Meredith site), mid-afternoon, we set up camp half-way up the hill overlooking the stage.  The passage of time has all but obliterated the memories of the bands who opened festivities; maybe Hoss was there, or was it some other local band now confined to the dustbin of Melbourne music history.  But around 5pm, The Make-Up strode on stage: Ian Svenonius on vocals, James Canty on keyboards, Michelle Mae on drums, Steve Gamboa on drums.  Resplendent in rock’n’roll black, a hint of Birdman fascist chic in the band members’ slick uniforms, this was as cool and charismatic as the weather was oppressively.  Within five minutes, Svenonius was taunting the crowd, his call-and-response proclamations arresting the crowd from its slumber with the fervour of a southern Baptist preacher.  Five songs in, and Svenonius was walking on the shoulders of the crowd, channelling Iggy all those years ago.  The set ended, and we’d been taken to another place, a higher place of punk rock enlightenment.  Returning to our posse’s vantage point on the hill, I exclaimed “Did you see that?”  Immersed in a game of travel Scrabble, the response was disturbing: “Um, we could hear people getting excited, but we’ve been playing Scrabble.”  But for those of us who were witness to the event, life would never be the same.


The Dirty Three – 2004: Chris Girdler

I doubt I’m alone in nominating this one. I had avoided Friday night’s deluge of rain, with three-day campers sending me multiple texts urging ‘bring gumboots’. Saturday’s forecast was hardly encouraging and the day went on with dry weather, good bands, beers in hands, but with a lingering ominous mood. When the big storm finally hit, it wasn’t the expected flood of rain. Instead, there was a spectacular light electrical storm that provided an unforgettable backdrop to a gloriously epic set from The Dirty Three. I can still recall the collective gasps when Warren Ellis hit peak notes and pointing his bow to the sky in time with the crackling lightning, like a magical conductor taming the wild elements of nature we were being subjected to.  

Silence Wedge – 2010: Nick Taras

Sampling the exciting varieties of silence has always been a cherished part of my life. When I was a little lad, there was only one thing that I enjoyed more than Pokemon, Matchbox cars and Kiss From A Rose from the Batman soundtrack: silence. I’ve been a fan of Meredith’s iconic Silence Wedge from my very first festival. Not many have heard of the Silence Wedge; I’m pretty cool like that. The Silence Wedge is a dedicated break in the performances, a chance to maybe have a stretch or stare at things. It’s normally on around 4am to 10am on Saturday and even a couple of hours on Sunday! 2010 was a particularly special year because nobody was shouting things like, ”GET AROUND HIM!’ and ‘YOLO!’ during these times. It’s poor etiquette to be loud during Silence Wedge. If you find yourself listening to the silence and then someone yells ‘GET AROUND HIM!’ from afar, you have every right to confront them and say, ‘Guys, c’mon, it’s Silence Wedge. Get around each other after 10am please, people have paid a lot of money for this.’ When the Meredith setlist is revealed each year, everybody rushes to find out which act will play the midnight sets and whatnot. But this year, have a look at what time the Silence Wedge is on, and have a think about some of the cool activities YOU can do. I compare silence to a kiss from a rose on the gray, oooooh, the more I get of you the stranger it feels, yeah.