This year I decided the best way to review Golden Plains was to just take down as many notes in my phone as possible and form a chronological timeline of my Journey across the Supernatural Amphitheatre.
That’s all you can do to try and sum up the magic, really – and pray that your notes make sense and that your iPhone doesn’t die. (Spoiler: they mostly won’t make sense and your phone will die.)
Golden Plains, you beautiful, mystical thing. Happy tenth birthday. Here’s to you.
Gold Class kick things off. This is the first time I’ve seen them live and they’re worthy of the hype. Adam Curley is transfixing as a morose frontman and their remarkable debut album It’s You sounds like an even mightier beast live in the flesh. There’s an embarrassing note here about the grey skies matching their sombre mood. Four tinnies in and I’m getting deep.
We’re trying to make Bloody Marys back at the campsite before US Girls but we forgot to bring tabasco. Or an esky. But it’s Golden Plains, so this warm cup of what’s essentially just V8 juice and vodka tastes amazing. (I’m trying not to gag.)
Woah boy. Royal Headache were wild. I lost my left Doc Marten during ‘High’ and I’ve never felt like more of a rock dog. I can’t wait to tell everyone at The Tote.
I spent the rest of the show hopping in the mosh on one foot and copping zero sympathy from my fellow rock dogs. Everyone is drenched in miscellaneous liquids. It’s a lot of fun.
My friend found me a broken Havaiiana and we’re marching onwards to our other mates’ much superior setup at Bush Camp to have a private party before Black Cab. There’s a big singalong to Mario’s ‘Let Me Love You’ and everyone is in great spirits.
I’ve been following the trajectory of friendships since almost the very beginning, so I’m watching Nic and Misha kill it onstage with proud tears in my eyes. It feels like everything they’ve done so far has led up to this exact moment.
You can tell they’ve put a lot of thought into this performance and they’re giving it everything, serving a barrage of intense electronica that has jolted up the night’s intensity, tenfold. It’s also great to see Mish’s haunting live visuals given the stage production they deserve. Senses = satisfied.
I’m standing next to my friend Polly, whose poem Darcy Baylis recorded and sampled into the opening of his set. It’s a surreal moment for her. More proud tears are coming out of my eyes. God, I love this festival. I also run into Nic from friendships and give him a big congratulatory hug. He’s stoked.
They’re off to SXSW straight after the festival. After Golden Plains I’ll be back at my corporate call centre job using personal time to cry in the toilets and pick flecks of glitter from my eyebrows.
After the back-to-back brilliance of friendships and Darcy Baylis, for some reason Kenji Takimi isn’t quite doing it for me. I’m wanting something a little heavier, so I’m calling it a night and making the long walk back to Blue Gums.
I just got woken up in the tent by my friend who’s on their way to HTRK. I tell them I don’t think I’ll make it. (Update: I did not make it. I spent the next few hours writhing around in my tent and struggling to keep down an apple.)
I just woke up again which means I’ve slept through Sampa The Great. I’m kicking myself: she absolutely killed it at Camp Nong last year and apparently she was no different this morning. Real star-in-the-making type stuff. Damn.
Tyrannamen are soundtracking my sad walk of shame back down to the couches, where I cop a lot of ironic cheers from my mates. They remind me of all the shit I talked last night. My tummy finally feels ready for a tinny and this Melbourne Bitter tastes like liquid gold. Okay, bring on Day 2.
I’m lying down, soaking in Koi Child’s smooth jazz, when I’m prodded on the forehead by a tiny toddler in a cow onesie asking me if I want a free face paint. He gestures to his even tinier friend who he did earlier. They look like Marge Simpson post-makeup gun.
I politely decline and as I watch them walk away from another rejection I realise that I am the Grinch. I mourn for my lost innocence before quickly getting over myself. I need a potato cake.
I’m pretty sure I just witnessed two people fall in love during Seun Kuti and Egypt 80. I mean how could they not, really, with this much warm and fuzzy soul in the air. I lose my friends and as I search through the crowd I can’t help but be reminded of Freddie Gibbs’ ‘Hello, white people’ comment from a couple hours ago.
It’s impossible not to watch the Sunday night sunset without getting a little sentimental. I’m watching it go down with an assortment of people, mostly of whom I met in one way or another for the first time at Golden Plains.
It’s a pretty special place, the Nolan family farm. Is it the serotonin or am I just really soppy today? The tree line has swallowed up the sun and everyone is cheering, and the ritual is complete once again.
I only recently started getting into Sleater-Kinney’s sophomore record. Tonight I’m watching them with some of the favourite women in my life who love this band on a deeper level than I can ever fully understand. They’re dancing to Riot Grrl anthems and they’re having the best time. I think about how important Sleater-Kinney are.
It’s been six years since Eddy Current Suppression Ring played their last show. Naturally, they sparked the biggest crowd reaction of the weekend when they stormed out with ‘Cool Icecream’ followed by Primary Colours favourite ‘Memory Lane’.
It’s a truly electrifying atmosphere. Wide-eyed Brendan Huntley can feel it, everyone can feel it. The encore (‘I Admit My Faults’) even feels like an actual encore. It’s probably the moment that most will remember Golden Plains’ tenth anniversary by. What a return.
I’m treating myself to a Pink Flamingo at the Pink Flamingo Bar after Sadar Bahar when Shogun of Royal Headache comes up to me and my friend Ed and asks us for a lighter. I freeze and it’s only by an act of magic that I manage to get it out of my pocket and into his hand.
We talk for a while about the human condition, nihilism, love – the Big Stuff. This makes Ed’s night. Shogun is an interesting guy and I could listen to him for hours but Tom of England is sounding really good from here. We part.
The Black Madonna just finished. It’s raining and the morning sky is a gloomy dark grey, painting everything and everyone in washed out, sickly tones.
It would be the makings of a truly miserable scene if it weren’t for the fact that everyone is still wearing shit-eating grins after TBM’s huge curfew-breaking two-and-a-half hour set.
We’re left standing in that same position as every year: frozen in front of the empty stage, scratching our heads in disbelief that it’s already over for another year.
Photos: Tony Proudfoot. See the full Gallery here.