Review: For The Love was a cruisy afternoon in the sun

Get the latest from Beat


Review: For The Love was a cruisy afternoon in the sun

For The Love
Photo: Talli Martin
Photo: Talli Martin
Photo: Talli Martin
Photo: Talli Martin
Photo: Talli Martin
1 / 5
words by kaya martin

Palatable pop and EDM, vodka seltzers, and beachside vibes – who could really complain?

For The Love promised good vibes and they delivered. I mean, how could they not? Blessed with 30-degree weather, located on the Saint Kilda foreshores and stacked with a lineup of easygoing artists, it was a recipe for success.

The festival has perfected this recipe during its time on the scene. It’s hosted over 130 artists with events across three countries and had already run this year’s festival on the Gold Coast and in Wollongong before bringing it to Melbourne.

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

Over time, FTL has built a reputation for being a crowd-pleaser – it’s the kind of event where no matter how much of a music fan you are, you’ll still be able to recognise a few tracks and have a fun day out with your friends.

The Catani Garden grounds were charming – big enough to fit everything the crowd could need for the day, but not enough space to get lost for too long. With a massive shipping crate structure built to block out sound, the set-up would have been ideal, except for a pesky, ill-placed street light that happened to be right in front of the stage.

In the sticky heat of the afternoon, we hunted for a patch of shade between the palms. On stage, Budjerah sung his heart out to a small but dedicated bunch, measly in comparison to the record-breaking crowd he’d performed to the night before opening for Ed Sheeran at the MCG. Groovy and sugary sweet, his set made for a perfect laid-back intro to the day.

I shared a cigarette with a guy sitting next to me on the grass, who told me he was most excited for Duke Dumont. “I like Charli XCX, but I’m not gay,” he said. I wasn’t sure when that became a requirement.

The audience really filled out when Snakehips took the stage, tripling in size in a matter of minutes. Hands were in the air for their more radio-friendly tracks All My Friends and Cruel.

Sonny Fedora followed, opening with a remix of the Hottest 100-topping track Heat Waves by Glass Animals. Peppered with TikTok favourites, his set felt just as right in the park as it would have felt bumping in the background at an upscale modern restaurant. The flames, however, were a bold choice for the sweltering day – a snazzy visual, but the heat scorched the already-sweaty crowd.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by For The Love (@forthelove)

The sun began to set as Cosmo’s Midnight took the stage. The band did their best to keep it lively, although energy dwindled in the second half of the set as the crowd grew tighter and more agitated in anticipation for Charli XCX. After they finished, a merciful sea breeze blew in. I’ve never been so grateful for the salty, swampy scent of the St Kilda bay. Trying to hold my place against the ebb and flow of the crowd, I struck up a conversation with the guy beside me, asking what acts he came to see.

“I just came here to get drunk and have a good time,” he said.

During Charli XCX’s set, it was clear to see there were two factions: those who came for her, who were screaming every word, and those who didn’t. It was a bit too squishy to dance in the crowd, but Charli, flanked by two harness-clad backup dancers, was dancing enough for everyone. The energy and precision of the choreography gave her a free pass for singing over the top of a vocal track. While the majority of her set was from her latest album, Crash, she sprinkled in favourites like her break-out hit Boom Clap and early single 1999 which revved up even the less familiar fans in the crowd.

Finally, Duke Dumont brought us home with a cruisy, pulsating set of good old-fashioned house. Hopping straight into his track Red Light Green Light, the British DJ and producer gave the crowd a nice little boogie to finish off the evening. The crowd bounced under the scattered strobe lights, putting their cellphones to the sky for the hits including Ocean Drive and Need U.

In the aftermath, satisfied partygoers poured into trams or found their way into the windy lineup for the Espy. In all, FTL provided a relaxed day with a BPM resting comfortably at 125 – not enough to get your heart racing, but nonetheless enjoyable.

To hear more from For The Love and get ready for next year’s event, follow the festival on Instagram here.