Golden Plains reminds us all that life’s bloody good

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Golden Plains reminds us all that life’s bloody good

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Photography by Sidonie Bird de la Coeur

Golden Plains is a little oasis.

Nolsey’s Long Blink – this wonderful moment of respectful jubilation that sits nicely within an immersive Welcome to Country – really sets the tone for what makes this festival so utterly special. I wouldn’t even call it a big family, because every big family has at least a few dickheads. It’s what it is and unless you’ve experienced it for yourself, sorry, but you’re not gonna get it.

There really isn’t anything else on the Victorian festival landscape to compare Meredith and Golden Plains to, such is the transient nature of the local festival scene. We’ve seen so many boutique festivals come and go over the years, and the rather devastating news that Inner Varnika will soon be joining the departed only serves to further emphasise the immeasurable community service that the Nolan family, Aunty, and the rest of the festival crew have provided.

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Enough sentiment, onto the music: kicking things off with Stiff Richards, who was basically one of the crowd at multiple points, set the tone for a festival that asks and expects local rockers to step up and deliver on the biggest stage because they know that when given the opportunity, the likes of Exek, Delivery and the aforementioned deliver in spades. Exek was actually our personal highlight – they rock bloody hard, even at midday on the Sunday. Bugger it, especially at midday on the Sunday.

Although Four Tet deserves a special mention here. He is kinda a Meredith / Golden Plains stalwart and it is so easy to hear why. Most of us know him best for his pioneering mainstream popularity of IDM and its various configurations, but when he plays the 12-3am set on the last night of a festival you can’t quite comprehend you’re listening to the same person who released Angel Echoes. He played huge, atmospheric tech-house that lifted you up and thundered you down with plenty of vocal surprises.

Special mentions include the joyful Carly Rae Jepsen, who has painstakingly re-invented herself as a critical success without sacrificing the love-sick disco pop that sends fans into a frenzy. Golden Plains paid Carly special attention with the lights and confetti cannons – we didn’t so much miss the strobing lasers, that were done away with for the safe inclusivity of all.

Also of special note, Soichi Terada. Having witnessed his enthusiasm before, from the moment he begun it was countdown ’til he jumped up on the decks and got a wave going. Blending west and east techno like no other, he is a master of his craft that – like everything, duh – needs to be seen live to be properly understood.

From the relentless power of Earthless and the captivating riffs of the Andrew Gurriwiwi Band; to the indie sing-along stylings of Methyl Ethel (who would be proud to know, most of the people I spoke to picked him as their most exciting), Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever and who could forget, Angel Olsen.

There’s no wonder Australian artists always rise to the occasion – it’s Golden Plains, after all.