Review: Grampians Music Festival

26 February 2018
Grampians Music Festival by Chloe Waddell

Taking place in a paddock, with kangaroos bounding around the fence and kookaburras and cockatoos circling above, Grampians Music Festival is like no other. Only in its second year, it is a small and intimate festival, with a maximum of 2,500 tickets available.

Between 2 and 4 February, there were 20 diverse acts taking on a single stage. The genres ranged from indie-folk to DJ sets, and, with only one stage, there was no need to rush around festival grounds. Jack The Fox opened the festival on the Friday afternoon, instantly drawing the crowd in with their acoustic-folk sound. Polish Club headlined the event, with Tired Lion, Press Club and Heaps Good Friends being other popular artists. The Scrims, a bluegrass band, offered a different sound but one which fitted the surrounds perfectly. The afternoon crowd were sitting on hay bales, line-dancing and jumping around to their classic folk and bluegrass sounds. Many of the performers gave their fans the opportunity to meet them after their sets at no charge, with some being particularly generous with their time. Some performers spent the rest of the event in the crowd.

Grampians Music Festival photograph by Chloe Waddell

Organisers ensured an environmentally friendly event. Volunteers ran a recycling station, swapping plastic cups for drink vouchers, and there were recycling bins throughout the grounds. Food vendors were also required to ensure that all of their packaging was either recyclable or biodegradable-drastically reducing the amount of single-use plastic littering the area.

There was strictly no BYO for drinks, which shifted the atmosphere to a more family-friendly festival. In the heat, and with a number of children in attendance, the organisers created an activity space where children (and children-at-heart) could play with water sprayers, hula hoops, soccer balls, and a variety of crafts and face-painting.

Rare for a festival, the loos were kept clean over the full event and never had long queues. There was a diverse range of food on offer from the vendors, and ATMs were available on-site. While I was warned that mobile reception may be temperamental, I had no issues when spamming my friends with footage of what they were missing out on.

Not all of the festival tickets were sold, but numbers did increase from last year, and it seems its popularity will continue to grow.

I will definitely be returning next year, and I will be encouraging a lot of my friends to invest in a ticket too-whether it be for three days, two, or just one. The festival provided such a different atmosphere from most others, perhaps due to its intimate size, its taste of music, its demographic appeal or its location. Or, perhaps, it is a mixture of all these factors that created the charm of GMF 2018.

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