Groovin’ The Moo is a long-running rural festival presented by the appropriately named Cattleyard Promotions and supported by Triple J. It is currently the only touring regional festival in Australia and is held in the towns of Oakbank, SA; Maitland, NSW; Canberra, ACT; Bendigo, VIC; Townsville, QLD; and Bunbury, WA.
I have wanted to attend GTM ever since 2011, but the necessity to travel to attend made this impossible until this year, since I now live in Townsville during the university semester. This year’s festival took place on May 4, 2014 (Star Wars day!) and included headlining acts Disclosure, The Presets, Dizzee Rascal, Peking Duk, Thundamentals, The Naked And Famous and many, many more amazing acts. Prior to attending GTM, my only festival experience was with River Sessions Mackay (I reviewed 2014’s River Sessions festival here), so I was amazed at the quality of the lineup and the sheer size of the festival itself.
Flower Crown: Cosmetics Plus, $8. Pinafore: Target, $29.99. T-Shirt: Jay Jays, $2.50. Shoes: Big W, $9.95. Necklace: Goldmark Jewellers, Price Unknown
My GTM experience was mixed – I thoroughly enjoyed the artists that were playing and the atmosphere of the event, however I was lacking the company of my boyfriend, who usually accompanies me to festivals. Since we live hundreds of kilometres apart, he would have had to travel and take time off university to attend 😦 I would still rank this festival the best that I have ever attended, despite this!
11:50 – 12:00 pm: Tommy Franklin
Tommy Franklin was an odd addition to the GTM lineup, known for his crazy, eccentric dance moves and making it to the grand final on Australia’s Got Talent 2013 (although I think his audition dance was by far the best). We attended his set with some hesitation but a lot of curiosity. He opened his set with a slow, inspirational song and encouraged the crowd to loosen up and start dancing, which we did hesitantly. We then had to leave to catch The Jungle Giants’ set, but I’m sure that the energy would have lifted significantly as he danced in his carefree, unique manner. This wasn’t the last we’d see of Tommy, though, as he made constant guest appearances throughout other artists’ sets!
12:00 – 12:45 pm: The Jungle Giants
As it was still early in the day, we were not in much of a mood to enter the mosh pit, so we stood at the back. A decent crowd had gathered for this Brisbane band, and they had such a happy, upbeat sound that matched the mood of everyone there. I thoroughly enjoy The Jungle Giants, and I regard them in my top five favourite artists, although my friend Hayden, who attended with me, did not know as many of their songs as I did. I still thoroughly enjoyed their set – they always have the ability to make me very happy, even though I was not dancing to their set like most of the crowd was. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to see these guys live!
1:50 1:10 pm: Allday
To be completely honest, we were only at Allday’s set because we had time to kill and his stage was in the shade with space to sit. Inevitably, though, as I discussed in my River Sessions 2014 review, Allday’s fans are crazy and it all became too much. We left after his second song (Claude Monet, also his second song at River Sessions), although at this stage I would have liked to see more of him, which is why I saw him again at River Sessions.
1:30 – 2:15 pm: Robert DeLong
Without a doubt the best performance of the entire festival. I went into this set only knowing one song – Global Concepts. His set began and I was outstanded at how young and energetic he looked, proudly sporting blue Aztec-style face paint on his left cheek. He had such a large variety of equipment set up, including multiple keyboards, a full drum kit and other drums and cymbals across the stage. His set was upbeat and his lyrics were well-thought out – they were much deeper and more complex than conventional artists’ lyrics. He opened up his set by actually layering his vocals and instrumentals to create the full sound! I have never seen an electronic artist, live or on YouTube, create the music right in front of the audience’s eyes. Robert certainly did not just “press a button and dance” as most electronic artists seem to do – he used a wide variety of obscure methods to create his infectious sound, including a Wii remote, a MIDI fighter and a gaming controller resembling an Xbox controller. By far the best video that I can find that showcases how Robert performs is this one:
Robert’s set remained the only one to get me jumping and dancing along despite knowing only one song. He performed every song flawlessly, and he put obvious effort and energy into putting on a show! Of course, he closed with Global Concepts (yay!) but the biggest surprise came when Tommy Franklin joined him on stage to dance to the song’s catchy dance hook, dressed in a fluoro pink polka dot onesie. Go see a Robert DeLong show. You will not regret it!
I had the pleasure of meeting Robert at his signing during Vance Joy’s set. He was such a charismatic, cheerful man – I just wish I could talk to him for longer since security were rushing everyone along!
3:00 – 3:45 pm: Vance Joy
As previously mentioned, I was meeting Robert DeLong during Vance’s set. Luckily, the signing tent was right near the stage, which allowed me to at least listen to his set even though it was difficult to see him. I personally find Vance’s music a bit repetitive – yes, Riptide was a huge hit, but his other songs all sound the same. Nevertheless, though, he pulled a huge crowd of adoring fangirls and this later showed at his signing, where a huge crowd of girls were lined up just to meet him. Robert’s signing finished just before Riptide, which had the whole crowd singing and swaying along to the chilled-out tune, before the entire crowd left to reveal a prime barrier position for the next act on that stage – Architecture in Helsinki – which we claimed.
3:45 – 4:35 pm: Cults
While I was waiting at the barrier, Cults’ set was playing on the big screen from the next stage over. I wasn’t paying much attention as the video quality was low but they had a nice vibe and the lead vocalist has a voice with such an amazing tone!
4:35 – 5:25 pm: Architecture in Helsinki
These guys are the happiest, brightest, funky band ever. Not only did they look like they’d raided The Wiggles’ closet with their bright colours, they had such a great energy! I’m so glad that I was on the barrier for this show, as the keyboardist we were positioned in front of was constantly dancing – probably the most out of the entire band! I did video most of their set, but my camera doesn’t pick up any sound at such a high volume level 😦 They played all of their big hits plus songs from their most recent album, dedicating songs to hilarious things – for example, Escapee was opened with: “This song is for the people that take acid on Castle Hill (a huge hill in the middle of the city), because I feel like that’s something that people would do.” Once again, dancing man Tommy Franklin joined the band on stage during their set, dancing with band members and adding to the overall happiness of the set. These guys were my second favourite act of the day, despite the sun in my eyes the entire time!
5:25 – 6:00 pm: The Kite String Tangle
I’d never heard of this guy before and didn’t know what to expect, but his songs are pretty cool and gave the giant tent his stage was situated in a great atmosphere. I was standing pretty far away and the lighting from my angle wasn’t the best, but I still enjoyed it. I was getting a bit tired by this stage, so I was half tuned out to this set and can’t remember the details, but I didn’t mind watching TKST one bit!
6:15 – 7:05 pm: The Naked and Famous
This was the one band I needed to see at GTM, although they clashed with signing times for The Presets 😦 I was once again able to watch them from the signing line, however I would have given anything to be in their massive audience in the mood of their chilled, surreal music! They involved the crowd in a massive chant of “like rolling waves” for their song “In Rolling Waves”, which sounded absolutely beautiful even from the distance I was at! The Naked and Famous have so many great, popular songs, my biggest GTM regret was choosing meeting The Presets over catching their full set.
7:05 – 7:45 pm: Wave Racer
By this time I was so tired. The audience was filled with hot, sweaty people – yuck. This act was more a time filler, one that I only attended because of friends who wanted to see them. Safe to say that although the tent offered warmth (an unusual cold snap coincidentally began that night), the sweat and craziness was not worth it.
7:55 – 9:00 pm: Dizzee Rascal
Once again, very tired. We were sitting eating dinner on the grass during Dizzee’s set, waiting for The Presets, so we didn’t join the mosh. Granted, it was freezing! Dizzee is not my style, at all, but I enjoyed the songs I did know (which were few). The entire crowd seemed to love it, though – I’ll give him that!
9:00 – 10:15 pm: The Presets
Finally, the act we’d been waiting to see since the sun went down! As I mentioned previously, I met The Presets during The Naked and Famous’ set 😀 They were nice enough guys, could’ve been nicer but it seemed like they’d had dramas getting to the venue on time so that’s to be expected!
Unfortunately, due to timetabling, Disclosure stole what would’ve been most of The Presets’ crowd so it was way too small! Nevertheless, we squeezed into the fourth row. By this time, I was 3/4 deaf and this set solidified that. Their stage setup was ah-mazing – illuminated hexagons surrounded the DJ sets of both boys, including an impressive hexagon tower that lit up with the music behind them. They had such a good energy, getting the crowd pumped up despite the cold but still calm enough so people like me who hate physical contact with strangers could still enjoy the set – the crowd did not cram themselves in but rather stood at a comfortable distance from everyone else, allowing for a pleasant set. Their set lacked personality, as they would essentially move from song to song, but each song was performed so well that I didn’t mind it. By the time the set ended, the crowd had dwindled to what I’d guess would be less than 50 people – a disappointing number for such a big act.
10:45 10:30 pm: Disclosure
After The Presets finished, we decided to see what all the fuss was about with Disclosure, seeing as they stole The Presets’ crowd. The small portion we saw was good, with catchy songs and an impressive light show! The crowd was huge and they were visibly pumped up for the show, but for us it was cold and we’d had a long day, so we missed the end of the set so as not to get stuck in a huge line for the bus back to uni, which was inevitable once Disclosure finished.
Groovin’ the Moo is certainly one of the best festivals I have ever attended – the venue was great and the absolutely massive crowd size was astounding! The weather was perfect for this festival, with the exception of an unusual cold snap which left everyone freezing once the sun went down. Timetabling for this event was excellent and I commend the stage setup on the main stage, where two stages stood side-by-side with one artist on stage A while the next set up on stage B etc. It really reduced waiting time between acts and made it much easier to claim a barrier spot! The lineup itself was great and included such a great mix of genres and degree of popularity, with the addition of some international acts on top of that.
Go like Groovin’ the Moo on Facebook and keep up to date with 2015’s festival, which is sure to be even bigger and better!
Sarah May xx