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Review: Golden Plains

29 March 2016

Georgie Lowe

Tom Dartnell

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Last weekend Golden Plains X celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its celestial conception in the sunset of a long hot summer. It’s easy to wax lyrical about the festival and its utopian nature as there are very few festivals remaining with a BYO policy, lack of over-bearing security and the trust in festival-goers to look after their friends and themselves. This year was no different, allowing all to bask in the fading warmth of the summer sun with the company of some finely selected beats.

The call of the supernatural amphitheatre started with the traditional ‘long blink’ from Chris ‘Noesley’ Noland and the opening indie-pop beats of Gold Class, for those organised enough to make it through the long line of cars before mid-day. For others the sweet soul sounds of Emma Donovan and The Putbacks were the signifier to settle into a long boozy afternoon. The amphitheatre crowds ebbed and flowed with the music until the swell of bodies arrived for C.W. Stoneking.

This set was unreal. The 40s of Southern America was brought to life by Stoneking and what appears to be Australia’s best and most beautiful backup singers. The heighten heights continued with the big band funk disco from NO ZU, keeping with the tradition of having a relatively unknown band on for the headlining set. NO ZU, like their comrades before them, stunned the crowds and kept people grooving. The beat stayed strong and kept the longest lasting punters, bright eyed and full of energy, dancing till the rising of the sun, helped by a killer set from Kenji Takimi.

Sunday morning saw dusty heads nodding along to The Necks and Songhoy Blues. The blurry day passed in a lull of sounds and great food, fueled by the powerhouse gozleme ladies who do a fantastic spread each festival. Year after year, their proud faces are a touch of familiarity, as are the cheesy bites of their perfect gozleme. A special mention goes to The Pink Flamingo’s roaring trade of pink granita to help soothe the dusty throat and kick off another evening of festivities.

If you were lucky enough to be in the know, thanks to a little note in cubical T12, you would have seen the traditional wackiness of Golden Plains on display at 4pm with the Gold Parade. Sunday afternoon sped into Sunday night with rock hits from Built to Spill and the gals from Sleater-Kinney. Their 10-year hiatus has only made their performance stronger and more powerful than ever. I saw the most boots in the air during their stellar performance. And if that wasn’t enough of a birthday present for Golden Plains’ tenth year, Violent Femmes then took to the stage after six years to perform another show which topped the cake. The party poppers, Sadar Bahar, Tom of England and The Black Madonna, were not dampened by the drizzle and ensured that this birthday celebration raged on until the bleary hours of the morning. It was fantastic to see a female DJ playing the closing set.

Another festival passed, another year dustier. Thank you Aunty Meredith for a supernatural weekend away.