Meredith Music Festival is done for another year. At the tail end of the weekend, I’m kind of glad to be back at home, and clean and showered – but I know deep down once the hangover wears off and it’s back to usual programming, I’ll be looking back and wishing it didn’t have to end at all.
We followed our tried and true plans and met just outside of Meredith Town at 7am (or 7:30 by the time I caught up, whoops) and found ourselves set up by the trees of Ringwood just a touch past 9am. In a weird feeling of déjà vu, there was a light sprinkling of rain to begin, followed by a perfect weekend of weather. Not too hot, not too cold, then a sprinkle of too hot, and sometimes too cold, but not for long.
I have to preface my review of Day One’s events by saying that I misplaced my phone Friday night, somewhere between the hours of 2am and 4am. All the finer details of what I enjoyed and didn’t enjoy are now just a rough idea and a hazy memory, with no notes to be found. If we’re being honest though, there’s never much to be disappointed about; the organisers know what works and have had plenty of time to polish Meredith Music Festival into the diamond that it is.
Amyl and the Sniffers kicked things off first thing Friday evening, and whilst they’re not my cup of tea as such, when you’re surrounded by people ‘getting into it’ it’s hard not to do the same. A nice little reminder that my ears were going to be pushed to their limit over the weekend.
Dressed in head-to-toe white, Aldous Harding took the stage in the early afternoon, and delivered a magical set of her smooth folk sound. It may just have been the calm before the storm as day turned into eve, and the first night fever found its way through those not expecting it. Harding’s set was the first performance that I considered sending my boot up into the air for, but it being a long weekend with plenty of talent ahead and only one spare pair of socks, I opted for a solid thumbs up and a round of applause instead.
Warpaint was next on my agenda, however from all reports at the campsite I definitely should have been there for Total Control (“They were f-cking sick and you missed out”). Next time, eh? Warpaint made up for the FOMO and knocked it out of the amphitheatre. For a band I have seen a handful of times over the past few years, the ladies from LA still surprise me each time. A mesmerising set with a little punch of party, which got everyone to the level they needed to be. In hindsight, this is when I should’ve gone to bed. It couldn’t possibly top this, right? Can’t tell you without my notes, unfortunately.
We began our Saturday morning a little later than we usually do, this time skipping The City of Ballarat Municipal Brass Band while the line for Everyday Coffee’s booth seemed to confirm that the prior night was a big one. Saturday was always going to be The One, though; all the buzz was for Todd Terje, but I had a feeling that there was going to be some special and unexpected magic along the way that might just surprise everyone.
New York’s Big Thief were the first band to get us back down and into the crowd, with Adrianne Lenker’s sweet vocals being the gentle rub on the back needed to get into the day and prepare for the second night, which was approaching quicker than our bodies were ready for.
Noname was my surprise pick for the weekend. I had listened to her album Telefone a couple of times in the lead-up to Meredith, but had no idea what the live offering would deliver. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the Saturday arvo hip hop set at Meredith, with previous years being either a huge hit, or a swing and miss. Noname was nothing but a hit. Smiles from ear to ear on every member of the band, from start to finish, made it impossible not to enjoy; the perfect amount of chitter-chatter, some small crowd participation without being too demanding, and a top-notch Lil’ Kim t-shirt to top it all off!
Later in the night Future Islands took their turn, and delivered their emotional, ‘leave it all out there’ style of synth-pop to an eager crowd. Having seen them before, I knew what I was in for, but I’d take them in a smaller venue any day of the week. Closing out with Seasons shifted my mood a little more towards positivity, but overall they seemed to polarise the crowd. By now, everyone was just ready for Todd Terje. Todd Terje and the Olsens were good for a warm-up to get everyone in the mood for the rest of the night, but I’m not sure they were the headliner everyone was expecting. Maybe when an act has that one song everyone wants to hear, the rest of the set seems to be filler – no matter how good it is.
The Sunday morning sun was shining on the tents with the same intensity as my headache, so it was a long while before a stroll down to the stage. A roti wrap found its way into my hands and I decided to finish the weekend with the sweet, sweet sounds of Japanese Breakfast. The last morning was the perfect time for the Philadelphian indie pop-rockers, however it always seems the bands on Sunday don’t quite get the reception they deserve, with people heading home early or being a little too fragile to wander down to the stage.
As always, 11 out of 10. Would recommend.
All images via Aunty Meredith. Keep an eye out for Chip’s gallery, coming soon.