REVIEW: Golden Plains – March 12th-14th, Meredith Supernatural Ampitheatre

REVIEW: Golden Plains – March 12th-14th, Meredith Supernatural Ampitheatre

The Meredith Supernatural Ampitheatre

I attended last year’s Golden Plains festival on a whim.  I knew a few people who were going, the line-up looked intriguing, and the last wave of tickets had just been released.  It was one of the best spontaneous decisions I’ve ever made; Golden Plains 2010 was hands down the best music festival I’ve ever attended.

This, of course, meant that I had pretty high expectations for Golden Plains 2011 – and even though it didn’t quite live up to the standards of last year’s festival, it was still pretty damn awesome.

We camped in Hong Kong – nice and close to the action

For most of Saturday afternoon, I sat myself under a tree in front of the stage, with a good book and some cider.  Before the music started there was a game of cricket, which anyone was welcome to take part in.  This is just one example of the friendly and laid-back Golden Plains atmosphere.

The music began at 2pm, with some nondescript rock.  None of the acts really stood out until Justin Townes Earle took the stage.  There’s nothing wrong with a bit of country music, especially when the musician providing said sounds is rather attractive and decides to remove his shirt – prompting many of the female punters to raise their shoes in the air.  Yes, Justin Townes Earle was the first act of the festival to receive The Boot [a Golden Plains tradition involving holding your shoe in the air during the act that you perceive to be the best of the festival].

Later in the evening, after sampling some food and trying my first ever Pink Flamingo cocktail at the infamous bar of the same name, I dragged a friend into the crowd for The Hold Steady.  He’d never heard them before, but was quick to announce that they were “like Weezer, but less shit.”  They put on a great performance, with the setlist varying from their HiFi show the night before.  I fought my way towards the front at one point, only to discover that everyone in the moshpit was ridiculously tall.  After being accidentally bashed in the head [twice], I realised the error in my ways and moved back to safer ground.

Although I would have loved to keep partying on all through the night, I was quite exhausted by this point, so I decided to retire back to the tent, and listen to Wavves from the comfort of my sleeping bag.

The lovely Miss Flavia Browne

On Sunday, Flavia and I enjoyed Jerry’s famous vegie burgers, while Graveyard Train charmed their audience with lines such as “I was bitten by a dog, and now I think I’m a dog”, and songs about how we’re all going to die.  The two of us headed down the front for Boy & Bear, whose cover of “Fall at Your Feet” was breathtaking.

The Middle East were quite bland, but The Besnard Lakes, who played after them, had an excellent reaction from the crowd, and were rather confused s to why people were waving shoes at them.

Pulled Apart by Horses‘ set was a surprising highlight, not so much for their music, but their on-stage banter, featuring lines such as: “Let’s shit on sawdust!” [about the compost toilets], “This song is about being punched by a gypsy!” and “You all smell like a bunch of rapists!”.

I’m not too big a fan of Best Coast‘s music, but it was absolutely adorable when Bethany invited a little girl from the side of the stage to dance and sing with her.

Sunday afternoon in the sun

Rangapalooza took place on Sunday afternoon, by the red tree.  All the redheads at the festival gathered together and sang songs such as “I See Red”.  It was quite a bizarre spectacle, but good fun [even though they almost shunned me for my unnatural colour].

Everyone went wild for Belle & Sebastian; people were dancing and singing along and holding their shoes above their heads.  It was beautiful, particularly when they played “The Boy with the Arab Strap”.

I retired back to the tent after Architecture in Helsinki, exhausted once more.  I wish I’d had the stamina to stay up all night [the music continued until 6am], but I was utterly exhausted.

And then it was all over.  Only a little bit of rain, and a tiny bit of sunburn.  Monday morning, it was time to go home.  But that’s okay, because I’ll be back to do it all again next year.


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