Fairgrounds offered a weekend of bliss (and a little bit of moshing)
I write this to you in that foggy daze you can only achieve post music festival. When you’ve had that utopian experience of eating, drinking and dancing as much as you want with like-minded souls in an enclosed space where normal stressors can’t touch you.
The second Fairgrounds Festival was a smash. If you’ve never been, it’s located in the gorgeous little NSW town of Berry, at a not-too-large showground with soft green grass and a town pool. This makes it perfect for music-hungry parents with little ones who love to run around.
The eclectic but well thought out line up on the Friday night – a new addition to the festival in 2016 – ensured plenty of Sydneysiders travelled down early. The Drones played a diverse set from across their entire catalogue, with frontman Gareth Liddiard’s increased yelps signifying a solid show.
The legendary Sugar Man, Rodriguez, was well-timed to accompany dinner with some smooth easy listening, including a solid cover of The Doors’ ‘Light My Fire’.
The 75-year-old declared it was to be great to be in Berry, which made me realise that the town itself was denied our custom for most of the festival due to the legal requirement to not allow pass outs. Perhaps something to think about for next time.
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard’s fierce show rounded things out after the kids had gone to bed – their psych-rock ringing out through the accompanying farms (cows reportedly loved our Double J artists of the year too).
Day two was just as hot, with Angel Olsen’s stark, clear voice ringing out through the afternoon sun. Another food break gave me pause to reflect on the quality of the grub, last year’s supply problem was well taken care of this time around.
The highlight of the day was Canadian two piece Japandroids. Despite cheerfully explaining that they weren’t built for our Southern summer, they brought everything they had to their set – allowing for more mosh pit action than any other band on the bill. This is where I felt my age and parenting status – noticing young men my son’s age in the fray having the time of their lives and desperately hoping no one would get hurt.
Julien Baker commanded an enthralled and heartbroken audience at the second stage whilst Sarah Blasko looked to be having a most excellent time playing to so many families in the early evening. The Tallest Man on Earth proved to be a blissful end to our night.
The logistics for the festival were solid, particularly when you realise most of it had to be bumped out to make way for Christmas markets the next day. If you don’t leave a country town with some leather handicrafts or a jar of local chutney – you can’t say you’ve been.