Mirror, mirror on the wall, what has splendour got in store?

soloMiya pops her Splendour cherry

As a Splendour in the Grass virgin, I have no clue what to expect. Especially when previous festival goers only comments are “awesome, muddy and a little sexy” (Niamh Elliot-Brennan, 2022 Surg representative at SITG 2022 – you can read Niamh and Matt’s ’22 Splendour recaps here, here and here). All I can hope for is good tunes, good vibes and please God no rain!

With that disclaimer, let’s get into the lineup: it’s basically a rehash of Triple J’s biggest stars. Going through the list, it really takes me back to my high school days where I was blaring Dune Rats, Skegss and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard. Not to say I’m not excited for this rehash, I’m sure the intoxicating slurs of the Gizzards and Lizards will take me into another realm (and I may have to grab a pair of Skegss socks to appease my 16-year-old self). A more recent teenage fantasy is Teenage Dads! After seeing them perform at USYD’s O-week this year I simply swooned…oh, and their music is good too I guess. Their light mixture of synth-pop and indie rock make for easy listening, and I hope easy grooving! 

Another part of me (the feral part) is more looking forward to seeing the DJ acts playing, such as X CLUB, Crescendoll and Dj Macaroni. They’re all the way at the bottom of the Splendour line-up, I guess they don’t fit the indie pop mould of the festival, but are surely deserving of more exposure from the organisers! Recently I’ve been listening to jamesjamesjames’ ‘My Purple Ipod nano (2nd Gen)’ and I can already see my sunglasses down and hands up.

jamesjamesjames – ‘My Purple iPod Nano (2nd Gen)’ official audio
Lizzo performs in Perth to kick of her 2023 Australian tour (photo: Duncan Barnes)

But bow down for the biggest player on the line up: Lizzo. Coming out of total left field and probably the biggest headliner this year, it’s about damn time someone broke through the Aussie indie rock monotony of Splendour. Would’ve been sick to go back-to-back with Lewis Capaldi (unfortunately he pulled out in order to work on his mental and physical health (stay strong king!)) and Slowthai, but I think Lizzo will be a much-needed breath of fresh air from the BO-ridden teens moshing. I’m also excited for international acts such as Tove Lo, Mumford and Sons and especially Yeah Yeah Yeahs. You have no idea how many times I have streamed ‘Heads will Roll’ in anticipation.

Sadly I do think that this year’s lineup doesn’t quite meet the glory of previous iterations: Childish Gambino performed in 2019, Lorde in 2018, Queens of the Stone Age in 2017, The Cure and the Strokes in 2016… 

But once again – at least we have Lizzo!

[Random observation: but has anyone else noticed that Flume is playing almost everywhere this year??]

While the 2022 SITG was riddled with cancellations and long queues for buses, I only hope that the year of planning (and appeasing the rain gods) means a smoother operation of logistics and a show that will go on! 

I am also quite intrigued by the fact that this festival is for all ages. Digging a little deeper, children under 12 are even free!!?!? As a SITG virgin who has only experienced it through instagram stories…poor kids. I wonder how many  children will be stomped on and witness teens completely out of their minds? Is this a sign for stricter drug and alcohol monitoring? Most likely not, given the longstanding history of the all-ages festival but in 2022 a record breaking 2.8kg of illicit substances were seized! (And that is basically nothing for all you nerds). The ‘little splendour’ and #clubcreche boasts professional babysitting, “indie kindy and munchkin metal”, so how many children will be in the mosh pit for Ocean Alley?  If only they had the wiggles performing, I’d go crazy!

The wide range of Splendour ‘experiences’ is also an interesting case. As someone who has never been to such a big festival, the mix of art installations, workshops and chill out spaces sounds intriguing. The mix of meditation and sooooo many bars will definitely divide festival goers from carefree bohemians and absolute party animals. I wonder which one I’ll be.

From the outlook, this year’s Splendour looks like a hoot, but only time and weather will reveal the outcome. Now more importantly, what do I wear!??

Solomiya Sywak is SURG’s rep and accredited reviewer for SITG 2023.

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