Highlights & Lowlights of Splendour In The Grass 2011

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On The Radio
When I pick up the campervan on Friday morning I turn on the radio as I’m heading out of the hire company’s car park to find that the radio is tuned into some classic rock station and that a Meatloaf song is already in full swing. I manage to drive about half the way to Woodford (all the way to about the North Lakes exit on the freeway) on that single Meatloaf song. Incredible really. Meatloaf is followed-up by Aerosmith‘s ‘Rag Doll’, a song I hadn’t heard in about 20 years but still know all the words to. As I drive along I can’t help but think that Splendour 2011 could have been greatly improved by having some Meatloaf and Aerosmith on the bill.  The radio station then spoil the moment by playing some Grinspoon.

The Blame Game
When I pick up my fluoro vest that I need to get into the photo pit from PR I’m greeted with, “Oh, YOU’RE Justin Edwards. I’ve been looking forward to meeting you. You’ve caused us some fun and games this year”. Obviously I’m the ‘dysfunctional-nerd-who-did-quite-well-at-English-at-school’-In-Chief and Splendour not selling out this year, despite all those expensive tv adverts, was my fault. I think I also get a filthy look when I hand back the fluoro vest and tell PR that I’m not signing Coldplay’s shitty copyright-grabbing contract and so won’t be photographing the festival’s main headliner.

Us and Them
All the photographers are waiting at the side of the photo pit either just before or just after photographing a band playing on the main stage on Friday evening when a security guard comes out and starts yelling at a group for having glass bottles, grabbing as many of the bottles as he can as he expressed his rage. A very sheepish-looking Jamie Hince and his mates take that moment to decide to head backstage. Pretty amusing to watch.

Kate Moss photo fail
Early evening on Friday and as I’m walking down The Small Mall near the media room on the way to get some food, I notice a group of people stood outside the Tree Of Life tee-pee and on second look see Jamie Hince chatting to people, shaking hands, and posing for photos with punters. Given the way everyone was stood around it’s clear that Kate Moss is inside having a look. I position myself on the other side of the mall ready to get a snap when she comes out of the tent but manage to completely miss the moment. Clearly she knows what to expect and is well practiced, as in the blink of an eye she and her entourage are suddenly 20 metres down the path and walking at a fair pace towards the safety of the backstage gate. I guess I could could have run after her but it’s not really my style. I’d never make it a Paparazzo. (Of course Getty get their girl. The printed photos I saw are less than flattering but I guess that’s not the point.)

Despite what I might have written before the event, I enjoyed this year’s Splendour, as I always do. Although it’s been largely, if not entirely missed, I have crunched the numbers each year to compare each year with the previous years (2010, 2009, 2008), and I guess no one’s paid attention before as Splendour has effortlessly sold out and so no one had any interest, although I don’t think I said anything that I hadn’t already said before. But having a few days off from the day job, seeing a few good bands that I want to see (nowhere near $520 worth obviously) that I wouldn’t have had the chance to see in Brisbane anyway thanks to Splendour’s policy of no sideshows in the city, taking some nice photos and getting to hang out with some of the other Brisbane music photographers (something we don’t really do enough off when we’re in Brisbane) is fun.

It will be interesting to see what happens next year. Will it be back at Woodford for a third year or will they finally get their Byron site sorted? Will it still be three days? Has this year shown there isn’t enough quality on offer in the middle of the northern hemispehere summer festival season to make it a three day festival? Will The Vines, Bluejuice and The Living End be on the bill again (my money is that at least one of them will be and my money is on Bluejuice). Will it be as much as $520 for the weekend? Will it be even more? If they have me again, I’ll be back

More Friday photos
More Saturday photos
More Sunday photos

You can also read Andrew McMillen’s Mess+Noise Splendour reviews of Friday, Saturday and Sunday

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