Party In The Paddock
White Hills, Tasmania
Friday March 10- Saturday March 11
The voyage from Melbourne to Tassie in most circumstances is an easy one. But throw in a delayed flight, a missed bus, two closed supermarkets, a long and arduous taxi ride to the wrong side of the festival, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disappointment.
Arriving just as The Smith Street Band hit the Paddock Stage, our saving grace came in the form of amazingly helpful festival staff. What should’ve been a shit start to a highly anticipated weekend, set the precedent for the overall vibe of Party In The Paddock 2017. Big ups to festival staff Paul and Bridget, whose kindness and care for our wellbeing gave us an absolutely ripper start to the festival, in an otherwise unfortunate circumstance. Despite missing out on Melbourne ska stalwarts The Bennies and Tassie heroes Luca Brasi, we were informed by numerous attendees that the two bands most certainly slayed it.
Kicking off Saturday in fine form was young Tassie duo Sumner. Exploding out of the gates, the R&B two-piece set the bar exceptionally high, with a set so captivating an ample crowd began to swell – an impressive feat for a relatively unknown opening act. Comprised of Chloe Wilson and Jack McLain, the only way to accurately describe them is phenomenal. With an EP in the works for this year, Sumner solidified themselves as a world class talent to watch this year.
Over at the Big Top tent, Hobart punk rockers Knife Hands showed punters how it’s done. A short, fast and loud performance proved it’s never too early for some shredding.
Midday moshing however, is a thing sure to give one a massive appetite. Luckily, the food on offer at PITP was diverse. Special mention needs to be made of the Blessington Fire Brigade, who offered up the wonderfully cheap option of $3 snags for those running short on cash. The most informed of sausage connoisseurs would agree that these were definitely on par with the best, and this reviewer became a regular customer over the course of the day. On the same note, PITP also provided beers for the exceptional price of $6 a pop – a welcome change to the jacked up prices of other festivals, which often require a home loan to get even a little toasty. With food situated next to the cruisey acoustics of the Blundstone stage, many started the day with a double helping of snacks while enjoying some chilled up-and-coming songwriters.
After some much needed fuel, it was the perfect time to wander over to arts precinct, Vibestown. A stop at the glitter station, jumping castle or well-stocked general store was complemented by an array of comedians. This was the place for all those feeling a little sensitive from the festivities of the night before.
Back over at the Paddock Stage, The Bad Dad Orchestra provided a parental injection to the proceedings. Proving dad rock isn’t something to be sneered at, the murmuring crowd were treated to everything from head nods to Rage Against The Machine, to ska vibes reminiscent of The Cat Empire.
Back over at Vibestown, former triple j host Matt Okine made punters remember why he was one of the most loved radio hosts in the country. Covering topics ranging from dragon sex, to haters and the best way to eat potatoes (apparently steamed are shithouse, thanks Okine) those in attendance fought back tears from laughing so hard.
Sampa The Great proved she is just that, soaring across the stage with a faultless set. Meanwhile, an unexpected treat came in the form of Tommy Franklin’s Dance Aerobics. A highlight of the festival, Franklin encouraged the massive crowd to high five one another, dance together, and fuck off the negatives in life. This is a guy who has travelled the world sharing his story and encouraging happiness – a message all of us should pay more attention to. PITP hero, 70-year-old Robin, joined Franklin on stage with high kicks and the energy of a much younger patron.
Vera Blue’s enigmatic and ethereal take on folk impressed all those in attendance, solidifying her status as an artist tipped to do huge things in 2017. This was followed by REMI, whose honest, good bloke persona translated to a huge, smooth set that had the crowd swaying in unison.
Perhaps one of the most controversial acts, headliners Sticky Fingers erupted with an epic arrival, which included a motorbike on stage and a celebrated entrance of each band member. The eclectic outfit is near impossible to define, marrying elements of ska, soul and rock.
To cap off the festivities, Franklin then joined Hermitude on stage, again sharing his contagious positivity and outrageous dancing, which propelled the party well into the late evening.
For a festival only in its fifth year, PITP continues to grow. There was an overwhelming feeling of togetherness, with each and every crowd member looking out for one another. Perhaps this is due to the origins of the festival, which began as a tribute to the late Christopher Horrocks – a young man taken too soon, though in his absence continues to bring people together. We can’t wait to see what PITP has in store for us next year.
Words by Bel Ryan
Images by Jem King
Lowlight: Rocking up to work on Monday with a killer sunburn.
Crowd Favourite: Tommy Franklin’s Dance Aerobics.