The 18th Meredith Music Festival will be remembered as the muddiest and wettest festival in its history.
However, the torrential rain did not stop the 10,000 capacity crowd from enjoying themselves whilst listening to local and international acts: Beaches, Holy Fuck, Architecture in Helsinki, MGMT and Adam Green.
We arrived at the festival early on Friday afternoon just in time to setup camp before the rain set in for the weekend. Which was very lucky as it meant that we had a great spot and were able to huddle under a tarp for a few hours to keep dry before the music commenced. As once the music started the chances to stay dry where next to nothing and the festival became poncho city!
Highlights of the first nights festivities were Beaches, who are a Melbourne 5 piece all girl band creating Psychedelic/ Garage rock creating waves on the Melbourne music scene. Whilst Ten East played a great set of stoner / shoegraze rock. Holy Fuck coming on stage at 2am with the rain at its heaviest for the night, it was surprising to see such a large crowd amped and ready for Toronto’s finest dance music export. For the uninitiated Holy Fuck are a 5 piece band that create live electronic music. Their performance on Friday night was spell binding; it made one forget that they were saturated and covered in mud. Their show left one feeling all warm and fuzzy and was my highlight of the festival and probably the best festival set I have seen outside of Daft Punk and Radiohead.
Other acts to play on Friday night were Violent Soho, Dan Sultan, Kram, Man Man, and the Scientists of Modern Music.
Awaking early Saturday morning in a pool of water was not the ideal way to start the day, but a jam packed day of music ahead brightened the spirits. Owen Pallet aka Final Fantasy played a brilliant set of beautifully layered violin, keys and vocals. But his set will most likely be remembered for his out of line tantrum towards the sound guy. Mountains in the Sky followed with a great set showing their ever improving live show. With the rain relentless and dry clothes becoming of increasing value one had to become very picky with decisions upon who to watch and who to miss.
The Mountain Goats and the Bronx became unlucky victims whilst I retreated to the car. Returning to the mud and rain to catch the very impressive Saul Williams, who played a very enjoyable mix of rap/rock and showed an amazing stage presence which kept the crowd enthralled. The fact that the band spent many hours afterwards in the Pink Flamingo bar chatting with fans was another highlight. Architecture in Helsinki followed with an energetic set covering all their hits and great cover of the “Never ending story”.
A couple of hours in the Pink Flamingo bar listening from afar to Little Red, Combo La Revelacion and the Datsuns was needed to keep warm and well lubricated for the world’s hype band of the moment MGMT. However these Brooklyn lads were a let down with rather boring Psychedelic/Prog Rock set that really only got going nearing the end of their set when hits such as “Electric Feel” and ‘Kids” were dropped leaving a friend of mine to say “their music feels like sunshine, it makes you all happy”. Muscles followed with a set that cannot be described as anything other than fun. He played all his hits and had the crowd dancing in their gum boots. Yacht Club DJs and T-Rek followed Muscles but couldn’t keep the dance floor as filled or as lucid.
Waking up Sunday morning with not a dry item of clothing left but a glimmer of sunshine peaking through clouds gave one the impetus to get up and enjoy the remainder of the festival. DJ Shags got things underway with an eclectic set of tunes easing the crowd into the day. The highlight of the Sunday and very close to highlight of the festival was Adam Green. Who put on a great performance showing an impressive array of dance moves and random anecdotes such as “I took some muscle relaxants”, “I rode the Ferris wheel last night so many times, and went so high up that I forgot how high I am” and a pink leather jacket purchased from “I go this from aussie disposals, I heard it was rejected by the military”, whilst running through his crooning pop tunes.
Other acts to play on the Sunday included Grand Salvo, the Rub Suns, The Black Diamond Heavies and Even.
It was time to say goodbye to the Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre and head back to Melbourne in a scattered and tired state, but at least one can look forward to returning to a hopefully warm and sunny Meredith in March for Golden Plains.