Review: Groovin the Moo6 June 2019
Nestled in the regional town of Bendigo this weekend were thousands of festival goers, dressed to impress and with plenty of glitter in tow.
Groovin the Moo was back in town on 4 May (yes, there were Jedis, Storm Troopers and Wookies in the crowd, for those wondering) for its 11th year at the Prince of Wales Showgrounds. In 2017, promoter Steve Haplin said that around 20,000 people attended. From a glance, it seems safe to say that the number of people was just as big, if not even bigger, this year. The sold-out event showcased twelve hours of live music, performed across multiple stages, and the line-up was much anticipated, with Hilltop Hoods and Billie Eilish being some of the most awaited throughout the day.
This year, GTM included an Indigenous welcome to country as well as a smoking ceremony. Further, there were an array of food options available, some market stalls, a carnival ride, a creation station where you could get crafty for a fee, and the Vanessa bus, which had giant Jenga, a ball pit on the second storey, and plenty of prizes to give away if you answered some questions correctly, which ranged from being about the acts at GTM, to alcohol percentages in some different drinks.
Throughout the day some artists, including Wafia, Jack River, G Flip and Crooked Colours, came out to meet fans, take a photo (courtesy of Polaroid) and do some signings. This was hugely popular, however it left a lot of fans missing out on the chance to meet the acts, despite lining up for extended periods, due to there not being enough time to get to everyone. If you are heading to GTM in other locations, be sure to line up early if there’s someone you are desperate to meet.
The sun had already set when Hilltop Hoods took to the stage, with the crowd roaring and the mosh pit suddenly becoming far less roomy. The Australian group performed some of their newer tracks, like ‘Exit Sign’ and ‘Leave Me Lonely’, some of their older tracks, like ‘The Nosebleed Section’, and others like ‘1955’ and ‘I Love It’. Their enthusiasm was contagious and the crowed was making the most of seeing these artists performing live. The group were enforcing the message of looking after your mates, and being safe, at times even asking the mosh pit to take some steps backward to avoid crushing people, which I found striking and refreshing. Their set involved smoke machines, and even a blast of confetti which showered everyone in the mosh pit, marking the end of their time on stage in the best way.
At 8:30 the showgrounds were filled with the screams of fans. Billie Eilish had graced the stage. Fresh off her stint at Coachella, the US act had the crowd jumping, crying, and singing along for her fifty minutes on stage. Starting with hits like ‘bad guy’ and ‘you should see me in a crown’, the 17-year-old’s energy and enthusiasm was clear, and her dance moves were impressive. Eilish’s ‘when the party’s over’ was among the crowd favourites. Asking everyone to illuminate their phones, the sea of people turned into a sea of lights, and the voices of thousands all came together to sing the chorus. The crowd was so engaged by the star, who sang this one sitting atop a stool. Other favourites included ‘wish you were gay’ and ‘bury a friend’.
Coolio and MØ were other much-loved international acts, with favourites including ‘Gangster Paradise’ and ‘Final Song’ respectively, drawing crowds who could be heard from a distance.
It was a shame that so many at the festival left their rubbish sitting around throughout the day, despite incentives for returning empty cans and lots of bins being readily available. At times it was hard to find somewhere to step that wasn’t occupied by food packaging or empty drink containers. Despite it being the worst event I’ve been to in terms of the patrons’ willingness to clean up after themselves, the cleaning crew did an amazing job, working tirelessly throughout the day and night to create a much nicer space for everyone.
If you are heading to another of the GTM events this year, be sure to anticipate your toilet breaks, as we were waiting in lines for up to 45 minutes at a time. Luckily, the gents have the urinal option which proved much more time effective for them, and was an option taken up by quite a few girls who just couldn’t wait, too.
To make the most out of your day you can download the GTM app and choose the acts you want to see, so you don’t miss them. There were lulls throughout the day for me, between acts I knew and enjoyed, which made sitting amongst thousands of people in shrouds of smoke less fun. But, when familiar names took to the stage it was definitely a good time.
All in all, GTM Bendigo was a success, and is a great way to see a lot of artists in one place. If you go, be sure to look after those around you, and take a jacket (it gets cold). This event is definitely a great draw card for the town, and it is great for those living in regional areas to have access to such big names in their backyards.