Music festivals can be seen as a mini-universe of observation, attracting all kinds of people from all over the world of all ages. In this case, Splendour in the Grass was the ultimate diversification. From Outkast to The Foals to Motez to Lilly Allen, there was quite the range of musical tastes, and with that range comes quite the range of people.
Set in Byron Bay, Australia’s notorious hippie hub, “no shoes, no shirt” was not only an option, but seemed somewhat of a mandate. Excitement buzzed through the rather laid-back streets of Byron Bay’s CBD, while thousands of people arrived in town. People came from all states, driving as far away as Adelaide. People skipped high school, university and even their work to make the festival. Some people camped in the 6 degree weather right next to the parklands, while we opted to stay in a true-to-form hippie’s house in central Byron Bay. With thousands and thousands of people making this journey towards musical euphoria, I was sure there would be some issues.
With my only “music festival” experience being of the “EDM/House” music genre, I was only exposed to those types of people:
- That guy who has to push you as hard as he can to make it to the front of the stage.
- That guy who has to take off his shirt immediately.
- That guy who worked out twice a day to show off his non-shirt-wearing body.
- That guy that doesn’t even like the music but wants to show off that body.
- And of course, the girl who only went because it was “cool” and drank too much too early and made her friends go home.
- We all hate that girl.
I was genuinely amazed at how kind, laid-back and chill Splendour in the Grass was as a whole. Of course, they have the Tipi Forest and the Mix Up tent playing mainly electro/trance, but even then, everyone stuck to their space and truly enjoyed the moment.
Here’s a few things I learned from Splendour in the Grass and Australian music festival friends:
- Anything but what is deemed “cool” now, is officially cool. Fashion from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and ESPECIALLY the 90s are acceptable and encouraged to wear. The older and weirder, the better. I mean everything. Bucket hats, Spice Girl buns, platform sandals, tight/floral flare pants, anything polyester…
- People actually have the ability to say please, thank you, and sorry. When Outkast was playing, some guy was running up to the front and stepped on my leg. You know what he did? He STOPPED and said he was SORRY. It blew my mind.
- It was a 100% judgement-free zone. Middle of the day? Middle of a field? Feel like jamming out to some Brazilian rapper? Go for it. You do you. In fact, some strangers may even join you.
- Go-Pro owners are in a secret cult. If you hold yours up, there will be at least four others coming up to you to discuss accessories and updates. They give you the look. You’ll know.
- People love dancing for a camera during the festival. People hate when you post it the next day.
- Weather means nothing. Rain, shine, frost. We never cease to dance.
- By the third day, those still standing are considered warriors. The rest are considered zombies.
- Complaining isn’t allowed.
- Music is international. I heard so many different accents throughout the weekend, and it was even more special when I heard an American. A little slice of home is always nice, no matter where you are.
- Smiles and water are like currency. Friendliness is everywhere. And the music, no matter what is happening, will always make you feel better.
It was a truly incredible experience, and it made me realize how lucky I am to be a resident of this country. Every day, I’m reminded why I’m here in Sydney – job offers, new friends, the love of my life, amazing weather – but this weekend definitely reinstated my passion for travel, music and being where you are in the moment.
Here’s a video of all the craziness:
Thank you SPLENDOUR!