Splendour In The Grass 2017 proved why it’s Australia’s biggest and best festival

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Splendour In The Grass 2017 proved why it’s Australia’s biggest and best festival


Big Scary eased the amphitheatre into day one while over on the Mix Up stage, The Kite String Tangle followed suit with a mellow set (including a shout out to Mum) to get the festival underway.


By mid afternoon, Tash Sultana put on a one-woman show that was a sight to behold. There isn’t a more talented artist on the rise right now. Playing and mixing every instrument under the sun, including a pan flute – Sultana was unstoppable. Not surprisingly, Jungle got everyone on their feet.


Splendour is Splendour after all and Sultana was not going to be the only breathtaking set of the day. Peking Duk put on a ridiculous set as only Peking Duk can, and had thousands of people jumping. Streamers, smoke, and Dale Kerrigan – this set had everything. The GW McLennan stage was swaying along to Real Estate who were having a great time and putting in an early contender for “happiest band to be here” while Vance Joy’s full band and surprise You Can Call Me Al cover provided another highlight set to what was already a staggering list.


San Cisco sashayed a packed McLennan tent into Splendour night one while Cut Copy did their thing with aplomb in the Mix Up tent as the amphitheatre started to fill for The xx. They closed day one with over an hour of dark British pop. Their stage was beset by giant revolving mirrors and the laser show was something to behold. It was good to have them back after four years.


Day two of the festival saw Confidence Man and Luca Brasi give early arrivers a great start to the day before Dune Rats arrived on dirt bikes to an absolutely packed amphitheatre to ask the moshing crowd the question, who exactly is Scott Green?


This brings us to perhaps the moment of the festival. A surprise Powderfinger arrived during Bernard Fanning’sset to provide one hell of a singalong session for those lucky enough to be there.


The question for the evening was, “Is Samuel T. Herring the most absorbing performer alive?” While Future Islands had everyone dancing, their enigmatic lead singer was a man possessed, moving across every inch of the stage with a seemingly boundless energy.


Next up was a rock double with Catfish and the Bottlemen and Royal Blood putting on monster shows. The sheer amount of force that Royal Blood produced with only two members was mind blowing, and a mid-set shoey solidified them as a favourite of the festival.


Once the nervous wait had set in for Saturday headliners Queens of the Stone Age, the PA blaring Skyrockets in Flight provided a hell of an opportunity for people to start dancing early, and once Josh Homme and crew hit the stage, that dancing went up tenfold. They brought home day two with a set that oozed the sort of groove only true rock legends could bring.


Some punters were looking a bit worse for wear on day three, but everyone was brought back to life by the infectious energy of Wil Wagner and The Smith Street Band. Radiating happiness from beginning to end, the crowd involvement for Ducks Fly Together featuring an emotional Wil Wagner was a joy to be a part of.


Client Liaison drew one of the biggest crowds so far to their show of ‘80s dance pop that was about as much fun as you could have with your clothes on (or clothes off for some in the crowd). A surprise Tina Arena arrival put them firmly in contention for set of the festival.


Back over on the Mix Up stage Thundamentals showed everyone that Aussie hip hop is in good hands before making way for Stormzy, who drew a gigantic crowd for some disgustingly filthy grime. The tent could have been three times bigger and it would still have been overflowing. It was immense.


After Stormzy there was only one band left to see. The incomparable LCD Soundsystem. While some songs evolved into jam sessions that seemed never-ending, they picked up and delivered their final 30 minutes with some of the best live dance music you’re ever likely to see, All My Friends being perhaps the best festival closer possible.


Splendour in the Grass is a place where you can really let go and enjoy the weekend. Whether you want to see great music, shop at the stalls, or even play Yak-themed mini golf, everyone will find their niche. To steal a famous quote, do yourself a favour and get to Splendour at least once to experience it for yourself.


Highlight: New York I love you, but you’re bringing me down

Lowlight: Absolutely nothing

Crowd favourite: Client Liaison. A set like no other.