It almost seems wrong to refer to Golden Plains as Meredith’s ‘little sister’.

Now in its eighth year, the festival sold out within an impressively short time frame thanks not only to its incredible reputation, but to an amazing line-up that showcased some of Australia’s best talent.

Once again Aunty Meredith welcomed those seeking a weekend away from the daily grind with open arms to the beautiful Nolan farm. As is the case with most years, there were plenty of early starters on the road hoping for the premium camp spot. Within just a few hours of gates opening, tent city sprung up as camp logistics were sorted out and friendly reunions took place.

Many people took the chance to rest before the action of the two-day event kicked off, while others took the opportunity to mark their territory down at the ‘Sup with couches and even a pool table by the sound stage.

To mark the official beginning of the weekend, a growing crowd gathered in the amphitheatre to witness ‘the long blink’ from Meredith Music Festival founder Chris Nolan and his family.

Queensland swamp rockers Six Ft Hick were given the honour of taking the stage first. The five-piece were loud and aggressive, and the frontman’s blue wifebeater looked perfectly placed. Judging by some of the crowd members, the active set might have been a little bit too hectic for the early afternoon, but no one could fault the band’s energy levels.

As the day got hotter, revellers strolled to the stage to catch Andras Fox joined by Oscar Key Sung on keys and synth. Both boys donned Pharrell-inspired cowboy hats while the early crowd danced to the mellow vibes.

Continuing the afternoon electro party was English producer Gold Panda. His energy from the get-go was high, making it hard for the crowd to match under the heat of the beating sun. Like Six Ft Hick, his infectious stage presence might have been suited to a later time slot.

As the crowd swelled in the lush surroundings of the Supernatural Amphitheatre, former Magic Dirt frontwoman and all-round rock goddess Adalita took to the stage. Playing tracks from her debut self-titled record and last year’s fantastic All Day Venus, the Melbourne songstress looked every bit at home. ‘Warm Like You’ particularly showed the strength of her live voice and geared everyone up to a big night of Australian music.

Within the last 18 months, one local band has had more superlatives thrown around than any other. Therefore, it was only natural that such a large number of people wanted witness the greatness and talent of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. If there is a band that encapsulates and captures the spirit of Golden Plains, it is these lads. The seven-piece tore through psychedelic jams and tracks from their debut 12 Bar Bruise. Raucous, chaotic, and bringing smiles to the whole ‘Sup, ‘Head On/Pill’ from Float Along – Fill Your Lungs sent people into near hysteria.

The momentum established by King Gizzard was pretty frightening for most, leading to high expectations for Melbourne’s Chet Faker. The set-up seemed to take longer than usual, eliciting some disparaging looks from crowd members.

Opening with a cover of Burial’s ‘Archangel’ to huge applause, the frontman’s voice was a little lost among the wobbling sounds of his keyboard. The performance improved when Faker was on his own performing the instrumental ‘Cigarettes And Chocolate’, but unfortunately due to sound issues, the band couldn’t quite reach the heights they are so renowned for.

With darkness descending and the ‘Sup lighting up, New Jersey headliners Yo La Tengo hit the stage to a rousing reception. With such a diverse, genre-bending career, the three-piece moved from indie favourites like ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ from I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One to the more country laid-back feel of last year’s Fade.

The amphitheatre was reaching capacity when arguably Australia’s best live band took to the stage. Having just come off a recent Big Day Out tour, The Drones were terrifyingly vicious. Regular drummer Mike Noga was replaced by the band’s very first thumper Christian Strybosch, but nothing seemed out of place.

Frontman Gareth Liddiard absolutely commands the crowd’s attention as his visceral vocals spat from behind the microphone. They had the honour of receiving the first real display of boots – a Golden Plains sign of appreciation – as they ripped through ‘How To See Through Fog’, ‘The Minotaur’, and classic ‘Shark Fin Blues’, leaving many frothing for more.

Returning to the scene was soul and funk king Charles Bradley, who played a triumphant set at Golden Plains in 2012. This year, he claimed the most boots for day one. His incredibly tight funk band led a huge musicial build-up as he strutted on stage to screams of appreciation. It was impossible not to dance, especially when watching the 60+ artist grooving like a man possessed.

Perhaps the greatest anticipation for the day was left for headliner and LA producer extraordinaire, Flying Lotus. Those who had seen photos or videos of the amazing three-layer show were not disappointed. The crowd were treated to heavy glitched-out hip hop beats matched by jaw dropping visuals. Most found it hard to dance because they were so transfixed by what was happening. Flylo coming out from behind the curtain of graphics to rap was a particular highlight, as well as ‘Putty Boy Strut’ from the 2012 record Until The Quiet Comes.

When the live music was done for the night, much of the crowd dispersed to either prepare for an all-nighter or hit the hay. JPS was the first DJ gifted with getting the early morning party cranking, but was too mellow for what people wanted at that hour. However, DJ JNETT was more on the right track, sticking with upbeat house tunes before local man Spacey Space finished off the first day of festivities at 6am the next morning.

To read the full report of Day Two, click here

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