The five best Splendour in the Grass lineups of all time

The five best Splendour in the Grass lineups of all time

Photo by Charlie Hardy
Words by Tobias Handke

Celebrate two decades of SITG with a walk down memory lane.

This year Splendour in the Grass is celebrating its 20th anniversary, so excitement was at an all-time high when the bill finally dropped last month.

While the rumours of Rage Against The Machine headlining were quashed by the festival before the lineup was revealed, SITG 2020 will see appearances from a spread of killer acts, including the likes of Midnight Oil, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Strokes, King Krule, Tim Minchin, Tyler, The Creator and Sampa The Great.

So, in the spirit of 20 years of Splendour and to remind everyone just how great this festival has been over the past two decades, here are the five best Splendour lineups of all time.


Returning to its spiritual home in Byron Bay, the 12th instalment of SITG brought the rock with Jack White, Smashing Pumpkins and the recently reformed At The Drive-In leading the charge. This was the year fans finally got to experience Lana Del Rey as a then little-known Aussie act called Tame Impala went about their business to minimal fanfare. Throw in some great indie acts – The Kooks, Bloc Party and Metric – and a stellar selection of local talent – Husky, The Rubens and San Cisco – and you had one hell of a Splendour lineup.


The year of the UK invasion, 2007 highlighted the dominance of the British indie scene with a great cross-section of artists. Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, Hot Chip, Kaiser Chiefs and Lily Allen made up the bulk of the international quota, with a plethora of Aussie acts filling out the bill. Legends Hoodoo Gurus and Dirty Three joined fan favourites Powderfinger and Grinspoon while newcomers Airbourne got their first taste of playing in front of massive crowds.


Celebrating ten years of existence, the founders of Splendour went bang with the most internationally packed lineup in the festival’s history. The Strokes, Pixies and Ben Harper showcased Splendour’s genre (but not gender) headline diversity while fans got to see Florence & The Machine, Mumford & Sons and our very own The Temper Trap at the height of their fame. There really was something for everyone with Foals, Empire Of The Sun, Kate Nash, The Middle East, Jónsi and Frightened Rabbit all putting on incredible performances. 2010 remains one of those, “I wish I was there” type moments in Australian music festival history.


This year was all about The Cure. The seminal British rockers were given three hours on Saturday evening to run through their extensive back catalogue and did not disappoint. Their 30+ song set included four encores and ended with the hit ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, much to the crowd’s delight. Other international acts to make a mark included The 1975, Peter Bjorn And John, Sigur Rós and Aussie tour regulars Tegan & Sara. 2016 also saw local boy Flume headline the final night of festivities and the now Eurovision-bound Montaigne make her Splendour debut.


The final Splendour to take place at Queensland’s Woodford was a diverse celebration of incredible music from across the globe. Elbow, James Blake, The Hives, Pulp and Mogwai led the overseas contingent while Cut Copy, Jinja Safari, Alpine and Flight Facilities waved the local flag. The three headliners were also the best the festival has ever had. Jane’s Addiction reminded everyone of Perry Farrell’s genius, Coldplay confirmed their status as one of pop’s best live acts while Kanye West brought his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy stage show to the Amphitheatre and left those in attendance in awe of his marvellous talent. Hands down the best Splendour of all time.

Splendour In The Grass returns to North Byron Parklands from Friday July 24 until Sunday July 26.