Golden Plains Music Festival || Video, words and photos by Birralee Hassen

What a doozy of weekend. My first Golden Plains, and boy did it live up to the hype that had been passed on from friends. I flew down to Melbourne, landed late, and woke early in the morning to a call from a friend. “How much room do we have in the hire car? Can I bring both my hula hoops?”

We made room for one; the one that folded down in on itself, and jammed five bodies, sleeping bags, tents, glitter, face paints and other necessities into our little red hire car.

We met the rest of our convey at a MacDonald’s just out of Melbourne, and drove to the festival with as many disco bangers as we could think of filling our ears and bodies with good vibes. 

We got to the festival, set up our tents, then went straight for the shade of a tree, first stop face paints. I had heard the word that Saturday was space themed, but hadn’t realised that it was a memo that spread only through our campsite. I had been expecting to see the whole festival in their intergalactic best, but having only our crew in theme did make it very easy to locate pals whilst partying.

Only one stage meant that there was a very communal feel to the festival, no rushing between stages, no double booked favourite bands to choose between.

Camp Cope played with a rawness that demanded attention. These girls, an alternative rock trio from Melbourne, are relatively new on the festival scene. Founded in 2015 they have been going from strength to strength as they connect with their fans on an accessible level through relatable, real lyrics. 

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Nicolas Jaar, the reason I booked the festival in the first place, did not disappoint. When someone can create music that crawls inside your skin and cause your bones to move of their own accord, you know that they possess a talent of a very unique kind.

I had heard good things about Confidence Man, but had never really looked into their music before. Wow. What a performance. I think they pleasantly surprised a lot of people. Every single human in that outdoor arena was moving and grooving, cheek-to-cheek smiles stretching across their faces as the triple J unearthed band, hailing from Brisbane, did their thing. And boy did they do it well. 

Neil Finn was heart-warming, who could not have chest bursting good vibes when you’ve got Crowded House classics being played beneath a full moon. I climbed atop the shoulders of a friend I hadn’t seen in years, and we swayed to “They come, they come to build a wall between us, we know they wont win”.

“How do you feel about that Donald?” Neil asked at the end, the response an almighty cheer that rushed up from the feet of the crowd, through our hearts and out of our clapping hands.

If I had been thinking about getting sleepy around one am, Waxo Paradiso woke me up the moment the power of their music touched my face. Awake I stayed until their set finished at three, and I took my danced out body and mind back to camp.

The following morning was calm, a well organised exit as breath tests were set up in the lines, and coffee and water handed out as people made their exodus back to the real world.

It seems everyone took note and adhered to the “No dickheads” policy, with friendly happy faces the common theme. Overall, Golden Plains was a really well put together festival, and one that I would highly recommend attending and hope to return to in the future. 

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Birralee Hassen