With the region around Maitland still a bit soggy and the natives still recovering from some major flooding, the lead up to the 2015 Groovin’ The Moo was slightly nerve wracking. The punters were unsure if the gig would go ahead and the organisers and the local community were keeping their fingers crossed for some fine sunshine and drying winds leading up to the event as this is not only a great social gathering but a nice slice of cash for the province.
Mud and water was the prediction a week out from Maitland Moo, but the sunshine dominated and the clouds just were not admitted at the gate. Sunscreen was on offer and that was a welcome sight for many as the crowds shuffled and moved and bopped with purpose and joy through the gates and onto the green fields of the showground.
The rock and roll of The Delta Riggs had the youthful crowd in an exuberant mood and they did not disappoint. There seemed to be folks running from all over to catch them and in no time the tent was in a buoyant state. ‘Supersonic Casualties’ was clearly one of the crowd pleasers. This band from Melbourne continue to dazzle and if Jimmy Page has even gone out of his way to catch them live, well that is a good enough endorsement for anyone to attend their short and electric set.
The spray tanned skin and the preloaded bodies were moving at a stumbling but speedy pace from stage to stage. With the pocket rocket Tkay Maidza leaping onto the V Stage just after midday, hands were already in the air and everyone was pumping to this rapper from Adelaide. Maidza was all over the stage and the crowd was huge and appreciative. Dressed in a fuzzy, pink little number watching her performance was a bit like viewing a pink ping pong ball moving across your line of sight. She was on fire and she knew it and the attendees loved it.
Some of the more mature groovers and the industry people basked in the sun in the VIP pavilion overlooking the Triple J and V Stage. This was a proper bar with a proper place to soak up that solar power and recharge the batteries with the local beverage of your choice. Amongst the punters we had many people dressed in thematic tones from cricket gear, to crayons, to the occasional onesie still making an appearance. Gumboots were sighted but the majority of people had left that hot and heavy foot wear in the provided cloakrooms or at home. Sandals and shorts were the go for the early part of the day!
Early afternoon saw the crowd reaching its sold and souled out expectancy and everyone had an illegal style grin on their faces. Love and peace were all around and Peace from Birmingham produced a sonically beautiful set. Their style of indie rock fit perfectly under the sunny skies and lead man Harrison Koisser seemed to enjoy the crowd and the atmosphere. Everyone swayed and rolled and it seems Peace are developing a following down this away.
The Moolin Rouge Stage was the spot to be for a couple of hours. Funky, stylised psychedelic was injected into the crowd by The DMA’s. Their youthful energy and excellent song writing was blasted out into the audience and people were either stopped in their tracks watching the band produce thunder or were enjoying the groovy moment that was taking place.
Saskwatch gave everyone a soulful reason to stick around and dance for their set. They were totally enjoying their delivery and the crowd’s reaction but about 25 minutes later there was a mass exodus. It was not due to anything they were doing on the stage, but Sticky Fingers were about to perform and it appears they are the darlings of the moment and for good reason.
Dylan Frost was wrapped in a red track suit and Freddy Crabs on keys was bare chested and giving it all. Land Of Pleasure is a well-loved record and it certainly appeared that everyone who was at Groovin in Maitland was checking out this dynamic group. One Day joined them onstage for some antics and although that was a high point of the set, from their a little bit of focus was lost. Festival sets, not always the best, but hey they still sounded good.’
It was hard to catch your breath as The Preatures followed the boys from Sydney with a mix between moodiness and pop. Solar power was fuelling Isabella Manfredi, their lead vocalist, as she energetically propelled herself like a gymnast across the stage. This acrobatic like move and of course the very popular music of this group was lapped up by the horde.
The sun was dipping down now and people were starting to rug up for the cooler evening hours ahead. The temperatures were cool but the music continued at a feverish rate. No matter where you turned you had to head with what made you move so people were scattering here and there. You got the fairly bland sexual schtick of Peaches, the electronic mash of Hermitude, and whatever else was banging around on the other stages to get your motor started.
Wolfmother, with the ever furry and omnipresent Andrew Stockdale up front, delivered an exceptional set of psychedelic rock that almost had the tent shaking on its poles. With a decade of line-up changes under the Wolfmother moniker, it is obvious that the band is Stockdale’s baby and that’s alright on the night.
Hilltop Hoods took it home for many of the gathering and they did not disappoint with many either swaying, jumping or siting and signing along. Hilltop Hoods were the senior citizens of acts on this dance card, but they did not show it in their delivery of the older numbers or the new one like “Cosby Sweater”. Age is no barrier when it comes to music and there was no doubt that the youth of today dig this 20 year old hip hop act.
The six pack of one day festivals that make up Groovin’ The Moo are over for another year. They are becoming a rite of passage for the youngsters making their first festival outing and a fabulous opportunity for people outside the big smoke to have a quality day of entertainment. The warmth was not only brought about by that big old sun; It came from all angles, from the stages, from the groups of friends and from the tribal gathering. Let’s hope we can keep Moo’ing for years to come.