The festival kicked off with Hexdebt who delivered a solid set of fast-paced rock bangers in the newly renovated upstairs bandroom. Downstairs Chelsea Bleach relived the glory of their sold out Decent Connections launch, performing tracks off the EP that are now recited back to the band with just as much energy. Em Gayfer importantly acknowledged the stolen land we met on before their set and also reflected on the importance of Wetfest in establishing the community they belong to. Hi-Tec Emotions brought their synth heavy, self-described glow wave to the fore; lead singer Ema Dunstan howled over the noise and in turn felt the ever-increasing heat.
Two Steps on the Water sing songs of trauma and heartbreak that have the power to strike a chord each time. Lead singer June Jones’ impassioned singing made it hard not to become emotional. RVG commanded with their striking ‘70s inspired melancholic rock, playing a mixture of new songs and tracks off their upcoming album. Lead singer Romy Vager poured every ounce of herself into the vocal delivery, the band in step with her the entire time as they perfectly paced each song’s build up.
The almighty Shrimpwitch sparkled with their blistering garage rock, noting that they played their debut gig at the very first Wetfest. Wet Lips followed, delivering a triumphant set that affirmed just what makes them so incredible and vital. “This song’s about the entirely cis heterosexual male punk scene,” declared Kindellan before Can’t Take It Anymore. “They will continue to let you down but we all have each other.”
Some of the best electronic, hip hop and R&B music being made in Melbourne at the moment saw the festival out. Kandere impressed with their dynamic blend of rap and melodies, turning the Tote upstairs into a dance party that felt all the more empowering given the safe space. Bahdoesa made their debut and proved that there’s definitely a place for afrobeat and dancehall music in the venue’s rock worn walls, while Simona Castricum and Lucy Cliché kept the club vibe going with their relentless techno beats.
Through establishing a supportive and inclusive community, Wetfest showed to the greater music scene what can be achieved when you give everyone an opportunity to take to the stage. Wetfest is a wonderful and necessary event that will no doubt become bigger and wetter with every year it runs.
Words by Holly Pereira
Image by Zo Damage
Highlight: Spending my day with so many incredible people.
Lowlight: The Tote kitchen not being open.
Crowd highlight: When Bahdoesa got everyone in the crowd to raise their lighters and phones. We became more united than ever and it was beautiful.