Review by Natasha Wyborn
Another resounding success for the Groovin The Moo machine as it landed in Bendigo on Saturday. The day started well with unusual warm weather and a bumper crowd all 22,000 of them confirming another sell out to this ever increasingly popular festival. Although predominantly catering for the teens to twenties there was also a fair bit of grey in the crowd validating the popularity of diversity in the lineup, essentially there was something on the bill for everyone.
The crowd started the music marathon early in the morning not wanting to miss a second of this festival, moving swiftly between all 3 live stages they alternated with the dance stage for additional refreshment. Drinks flowed freely with obvious age restricted restraint policed by an army of supervisors. The over 18 area was constantly full with many patrons opting to spend the day there rotating focus between all three easily visible stages. As the day moves on and the temperature drops the crowd becomes tighter perhaps driven by a pending single figure temperature, perhaps it is simply a chance for friends, lovers and partners to share memorable moments.
With the scantly clad crowd including a saturation of bra’s and glitter swelling around all three stages from the onset any act playing got the pleasure of a full house sing and dance along something often reserved for the headliners.
With too many acts to individually mention the top ten standouts for me were the following.
Daniel Aaron Triple J Unearthed’s artist of choice from Central Victoria unleashed a combination of Indie and Rock and Roots, entertaining the crowd with a brief but memorable set and is definitely someone to look out for the future. Brisbane based teen Mallrat brought her own brand of catchy electronic, hip hop sound to the Moolin Rouge stage complete with her loyal following in the thousands. Alex Lahey delivered a power cord set on the Triple J stage which the crowd responded knowing the set list verbatim. Lahey showing obvious appreciation by joining the fans on the speakers of the stage trying to reach them from an impossible height. With so much going on I cant believe it is only early into the afternoon. Byron Bay based Skegss raced through a short thirty minute set pumping up the crowd the band joined the GTM prior to travelling to the UK for an extensive tour. Sydney based Dean Lewis complete with a four piece band graced the Cattleyard stage for an intimate set. Lewis’s voice echoes around the entire ground and it is a pleasure to hear even the loudest of punters stop and listen. The smash “Waves” is delivered with crisp perfection accompanied by almost every member of the audience including this writer joining in. Alaskan band Portugal The Man start by introducing “We don’t need no education” the classic from Pink Floyd’s 70’s song “Another Brick In The Wall” the words and song allow the young and old members of the audience a chance to add some rebellion into the music emphasising the lyrics. PTM have an extensive back catalogue of 8 albums to draw on including the grammy award winning “Feel It Still” which the band closed the set with. I hope i’ll get an opportunity somewhere to watch the bands full show. Melbourne based electronic dance duo Confidence Man caught my ear and eye. Complete with electronic underwear this unusual duo had the entire tent jumping. Playing songs from their debut album “Confident Music for Confident People” this duo is definitely someone to watch out for. I must admit before Paul Kelly took the stage I was worried how he would be received? and would the young crowd know this legend of Australian music? Kelly delivered with the hits and the crowd responded knowing word for word. Offering up a mini set of greatest hits including “To her Door” and “Before too Long” it was obvious the majority of the crowds parents have educated their children very well. Sydney act Flight Facilities comprising of members Captain Earnest Bon-Huffington, Madame Francois de Lundenkopf, Esquire Winston Humphries III and Fred complete with vocoder and dressed as pilots entertained and held the attention of the house as the moved through their vast catalogue of hits including “Need You”. This band was the perfect act to close out the night on the open air stages. I cannot end this top ten without mentioning Ball Park Music who were the last act of this fantastic festival under the tent at the Moolin Rouge stage. The Brisbane based five-piece indie rock/pop band remain part of the stable Australian music diet, a deserving act to finish this event. The band lead by frontman Sam Cromack played to a packed house, no-one left in fact they just moved tighter together. The temperature in the room was 10 degrees warmer than outside. The short set comprised of favourites from their 5 studio albums. “The Perfect Life Does Not Exist”, “Whipping Boy” and “She Only Loves Me When I’m There” were some of the highlights.
Walking out of this event I have to say the GTM is a well oiled machine. I was particularly impressed watching a packed “Headspace” tent and staff taking the opportunity to speak to the masses about mental health another well thought out touch by the organisers. Overall I guess the fact the event is a sell out each and every years provides testemony the organisers are spot on. The fact they continue to provide a day of diversity in music style, food and environment treasures the punter this formula will last for many years to come, well done.
Groovin the Moo – Bendigo, VIC – Saturday 5 May 2018