Buses, cars, and clusters of people in their banana suits and cow onesies navigated their way through the small country streets to Maitland Showground.
The numbers at the beginning of the day, in hindsight, started off somewhat slow, with only around a third of what was to come shuffling into the showground.
Catching the end of one of the first sets of the day, Tuka and Ellesquire had people under the Moolin Rouge tent energetically jumping along to ‘Die A Happy Man’ and ‘Just Wanted To Feel’. They also had plenty of early morning energy themselves, constantly running back and forth across the stage. Their feel-good music was a good foresight for what the rest of the day was to hold.
Jumping over to the main stages, Last Dinosaurs, with their chilled indie music, were the perfect fit for the countryside festival. Particularly when playing ‘Andy’, which had anyone in hearing vicinity of the stage moving; from those right up front, those viewing from the back, and even those waiting in line to get on the SlingShot.
Hungry Kids of Hungary pulled a considerable crowd. Playing ‘Set It Right’, ‘When Yesterday’s Gone’ and ‘Twin Cities’ in their set as person after person climbed the tent poles to grab a better view. (Word of warning: when climbing the poles, it is cool for all of 30 seconds, any longer and than that and the crowd will just throw things at you).
Dipping out of the tent at this point to grab some ‘refreshments’ and heading back in for The Bronx, the atmosphere had definitely changed.
Heading into the heavier acts of the day, while there was a decent audience watching, only those right down the front – obviously the hardcore fans – were really moving along to tracks such as ‘Shitty Future’.
It cast a bit of doubt on how the even heavier The Amity Affliction would do later on in an audience that seemed to be here for the indie and DJ sets.
Speaking of which, when DZ Deathrays came on for their second set behind the decks, there was a lot of anticipation to hear some of the tracks off their latest album, but they proved to disappoint, instead choosing to play old, classic rock songs and other popular hits (though they had decent song choices).
As the Amity set drew nearer, it was like the tent had been transformed and transported back in time to Soundwave. Previous worries were vanquished As Amity played hits like ‘Chasing Ghosts’ and ‘Anchors’ the crowd screamed and sung along, and the circle pits opened up.
Though a lot of people filtered out as DJ Woody played his 90s mixtape, those hanging around got right into it and proved that the decade’s music can still entertain.
What may have seemed like a bad idea during the day, the cow onesises were definitely a winner now as the sun began to set and temperatures dropped.
Not that the wintery atmosphere dampened anyone’s spirits. As Pez’s set drew closer, the numbers began to dramatically increase, and by the time his slot began, the tent was filled from corner to corner, with even the outside bar area filling up.
Clearly quite unaware of how popular Pez was, it was a shock to see just how many people decided to pack in for the set. The sea of punters screamed and jumped along to rap after rap, and didn’t let up until the very end.
Though about half that mob drained out as Alison Wonderland came on for her first set of the night, the other half stayed however, as the area transformed into a nightclub, and dance hit after dance hit was smashed out.
Strangely, things chilled out as the Midnight Juggernauts come on. Though there were clearly a few fans in range, as the set drew to a close, the placed filled back up as everyone knew party central was about it set in under the Moolin Rouge for the rest of the night.
Kicking off that party was the return of Alison Wonderland. As swarms of people continued to pack in for Flume’s upcoming set, the energy picked up. Pumping out current club hits, Wonderland seemed tiny in comparison to the stage she was on and the swelling masses in front of her.
Then Flume took the stage. Everyone knew this was going to be a big one. Though you couldn’t see the whole crowd, who were spilling out the sides of the tent and beyond, you could hear them.
With the screams and cheers lifting the top off the tent, it seemed everyone who attended that day had gathered together at this point. The start of every song drew a louder and louder cheer, with ‘Sleepless’, ‘On Top’ and ‘Holdin On’ proving to be favourties.
Though there was considerable room under the Big Top after the Sydney beatmaker left the stage, there were still those hanging around for Yolanda Be Cool’s first set, though, if fans just wanted an extra awesome spot for Example, it was best to stick around.
Whether it was because of the Flume hype just a few seconds before, or simply that Yolanda Be Cool hadn’t warmed up yet, the first set seemed a little bland. Though you could definitely bop along, there was no major basslines to get the energy levels rising.
ShockOne took over the main stage in the tent next, and command the stage. With a brand new album that had just reached #1 on iTunes, it’s no wonder they had plenty of energy to give, and it was not wasted on the crowd.
Playing some of his own bangers, including ‘Chaos Theory’ and ‘Lazerbeam’, as well as a lot of heavy drum and bass throughout, meant the crowd kept going and the circle pits never ended.
A definite highlight of the set was when meme hit ‘the Harlem Shake’ began blasting through the speakers: cue insane dancing, including security guards humping speakers.
With the announcement he had one song left in the set, people were gearing up to put in their all for ShockOne. But just as it was about to begin, it was suddenly all over as his set was cut short. Talk about a serious case of anticlimax and disappointment.
Yolanda Be Cool were back with the second set for the night, and this time around the boys kicked things into gear, bringing out a much better set. With plenty of songs to smash your head and body along to, the only disappointment was a lack of ‘We Speak No Americano’.
With a snippet of the track within the set, there seemed an anticipation that it would come back in full later on, but it never emerged.
As the clock struck 9.30pm, the last man of the night, Example, took to the stage. Though the size of the crowd couldn’t top that of Flume’s set, the thunderous screams indicated it was still a bloody big one.
Starting out with the hit ‘Kickstarts’, from there, things were less dramatic as he played some of his lesser-known songs, such as ‘Close Enemies’, before launching back into the hits with ‘Change The Way You Kissed Me’ and ‘We’ll Be Coming Back’.
It was a set filled with plenty of dubstep, crowd surfing, hand clapping and even some swaying.
Overall, the day was wrapped up nicely in a random conversation with a lovely, and extremely drunk woman, who claimed to be a school teacher here to observe and write about such events and their effect on youth.
“I believe these events are really refreshing for our youth,” she began. “I mean sure, probably half these people are drunk and the other half on drugs, but I mean, have you seen a fight at all today?”
Her observation actually rang true. It was a day of celebration of music of all different genres, and whether it was the intoxicating effect of alcohol, drugs, music, or a combination of all three, the day signalled another successful year of Groovin’ The Moo.