Image via @oh_so_mellow
Well, folks... It’s upon us. That thing you swore you’d never do again but stole your parent's credit card and booked Splendour tickets before you’d even read the lineup. For those who still haven’t – don’t worry it’s a good one. Splendour is one of, if not the biggest, event on the Australian festival calendar - right in the middle of Australian winter, what better option do you have then to pack your things, flip off your boss and head North to beautiful (mostly) sunny Byron Bay.
We here at Thrills are lucky enough to live in Byron, and as a result, we’ve seen our fair share of these weekend and occasionally, week-long parties. I wouldn’t call myself a professional, I think the last guy that claimed to be is still pacing around paddock somewhere, but I have learnt a thing or two and I feel like now is as good a time as any to share.
Image via @alittlewildlonger
Far too many novices and even most seasoned vets have made this mistake. Splendour goes for three days, three god damn days!! Three days is a long time for anything – even long weekends can put you close to your deathbed. Now take into account the numerous other unmissable parties that take place around the festival itself (*cough* Thursday Thrills party *cough*). There’s a lot of music to watch and a lot of socialising to get done if you wish to do a good job of both you might just need to chill... at least for one day... or completely disregard my advice, whatever – don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Sit back and enjoy the fashion
Image via @oh_so_mellow
I’m no guru – far from it, but Splendour is without a doubt one of the best street style and festival fashion showcases of the year. Youth culture mixed and balanced perfectly with the kind of cool that can only come with age and bulk whiskey consumption. The well-curated lineup ensures a diverse crowd year after year so pay attention because here is your best chance to see how to style dirty denim and classic leather in an example that can only be learnt from decades in bars and rock shows. The pendulum doesn’t stick one way with this either. Don’t think you know it all just because you saw Oasis before they split up. The younger generation are fast learners and masters of the internet there’s hardly a trend they’ll miss so keep an eye and an open mind because you might learn a thing or two. And if you’re lacking some inspo pre-event, get in the mood with these outfits.
Ps. If you did see Oasis before they split up – shout out, how was it?
Preparation is key in all situations, right?? Yes, it is! Especially when the alternative is freezing your ass off on a hill for 3 hours straight because your mates dragged you to watch Catfish and The Bottleman for the thousandth time – nothing against them, but seriously how many times are you guys going to play? Everybody thinks that Byron Bay weather is beautiful and, don’t get me wrong, most of the year it is, but trust me when I say no matter how good you look without a shirt on, in a mankini, in a morph suit, solely in nipple stickers, a sheer dress, speedos, socks, glitter or your undies, when that sun goes down nothing will compare to a warm coat or the loving embrace of a few thick layers of cotton and denim - guys and gals, you will be thankful. I’m not saying don’t wear any of the above – wear them all at once if you like, whatever you choose to frolic around the fields in is completely up to you. I’m just saying to have a backup plan – things can and have gone bad before, a la Splendour in the Mud... Be smart and get your sherpas and some gumboots to be safe, ok?!
Take advantage of the Bars and the Food
The food that you can wrangle at festivals these days is amazing. Food cart vendors travel from all over the country to provide one of the largest arrays of culinary delights you're likely to find crammed into a 1km radius. Service usually comes with a bit of a smile while they pretend not to be offended that you don’t even care what it is you're eating.
Now if eating isn’t your thing (who are you?!), that’s completely fine, let’s talk about the booze.
It took some time but music festivals in Australia have finally cottoned on to these exciting new things called “destination bars”. A stroke of pure genius really “people seem to really like drinking in bars, pubs and night clubs in the real world, do you think maybe they’d like to do that in here too?”- nice work guys, ya nailed it. Seriously though, all sarcasm aside, these bars can almost be the highlight of the festival. From popular inner-city establishment pop-ups to outdoor pool clubs, fancy champagne lunches and a night club inside a washing machine (don’t believe me? You’ll see). These are more than a welcome break from the cattle-grid-lamb for-slaughter-style-fencing we’ve had to endure in the past.
What about the prices and the lines you ask? Are you kidding me?? This is Australia for fuck sake. You’re more likely to wind up with a mortgage on a cubby house than a one-bedroom unit - if you aren’t accustomed to lining up for a day then overpaying for momentary satisfaction at this point, I think festivals are going to be the least of your worries.
I feel like this last one can get somewhat forgotten and it’s kind of an important one:
WATCH SOME MUSIC!
Image via @madi_k
I don’t care what kind of music you’re into, you might hate music, that’s ok, I really don’t mind, but go and watch something! After all, you are at a M U S I C festival... It even says it in the name, dummy. You’ve gathered somewhere - in the middle of nowhere - to stand in a field, surrounded by a bunch of drunk or drugged up strangers (chances are it’s both), waiting to share some mutual and beautiful exchange of euphoria... The only thing stopping this from sounding like a re-cap scene from a Netflix Charles Manson cult documentary is that at the same time all of this is going on, you have some of the world’s biggest bands, solo artists and DJ's (yes, in that order) standing in front of you and playing somebody’s favourite song all for your enjoyment, so make sure you don’t forget it. The drinking, eating, camping and running around with your best mates is just the bonus that gets thrown in with it all.
Like we said earlier, preparation is key, so we’ve even gone as far as putting the playing times here so you can plan like a pro... Chances are you’ll disregard everything we said above and all your plans will wind up in the toilet. I’m pretty sure Splendour has a fancy little app that will ding every time someone you want to see is playing – maybe get that to be safe.
And now some final reminders for us all:
- Eat food
- Drink water
- Look after each other
- Don’t judge others
- Know your rights
- Leave the cultural appropriation at home
- Buy a bus ticket