The Groovin The Moo Festival is a one-day touring festival, which occurs in 6 (mostly) regional Australian locations over 3 weekends. I was lucky enough to be at the first of the six festivals this year. Groovin The Moo is hugely popular because it is open to all ages, offers a wide variety of music genres and sells out every year. A large proportion of the audience was under 18, with a sprinkling of ‘oldies’ who were passionate about their music.
This year the Adelaide venue was changed from Oakbank in the hills (which was traditionally muddy if wet) to the Adelaide Show Grounds at Wayville. Regulars told me it was a much more friendly site and was aptly set in the agricultural area of the show grounds where permanent structures are labeled ‘Cattle Yards’ etc. The day was overcast with some drizzle, but that did not deter the crowd from coming out early.
There were three main music stages, one inside a big marquee. The other two were side by side, which alternated during the day. Big screen live video allowed viewers to line up at one stage, while still being able to see what was happening at the other. A disco stage operated all day and attracted lots of dancers, particularly as the day progressed.
I started with TOM WEST, essentially a Folk singer. With lilting vocals and melodic guitar work, he was a great way to ease into the day. He was joined on stage by his band, including a female drummer. Next, I caught L-FRESH THE LION, a hip-hop artist from Sydney, who presents an energetic show and gets the crowd jumping. METHYL ETHEL is a dream-pop group from Perth. Their music is mysterious, enigmatic and compelling. It was quite a contrast to the previous act. Gold Coast Indie-Pop singer-songwriter and producer, AMY SHARK is rising up the popularity charts quickly. She won lots of fans with her cover of Silverchair’s ‘Miss You Love’ and her own successful single ‘Adore’ was voted number 2 in last year’s Triple J Hottest 100. She drew a big crowd of fans at Groovin The Moo.
Next I saw MONTAIGNE, who came on stage dressed in a shaggy cloak made from green U18, GTM wristbands. Montaigne’s high Alto voice reminds me a little of 70’s songstress Kate Bush. She crammed all her well-known hits into the half hour time slot with ‘Because I Love You’ being a huge favourite. Her stage performance is vibrant and animated with staccato movements. Garage Rock band, THE SMITH STREET BAND followed next with their rebellious and awareness songs. They introduced ‘I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore’ as song about the struggle with Mental Illness. ‘Shine’ was written about falling in love and having a good time. ‘Death To The Lads’ was very popular and they finished with ‘Throw Me In The River’. A great set.
One of my favourite acts was TASH SULTANA. We were lucky to see her perform as she had been recovering from illness and actually pulled the pin on the Maitland GTM festival the following day. This talented multi-instrumentalist is wowing crowds around the country with her amazing voice and charismatic stage show. She introduced a new song ‘Notion’, the title track from her new EP. She finished with the very popular ‘Jungle’. This girl’s got grit and guts. Even though she should not have been performing, she gave it her all. THE JUNGLE GIANTS treated the crowd to a light-hearted set of happy songs right on sunset. They are a great party band and got the crowd dancing. MILKY CHANCE is a funky, alternative dance band from Germany. Clemens and Philipp on guitars and vocals were backed with drums, bongos and other percussion instruments. It was a treat to see them perform all their well-known hits like ‘Cocoon’ and ‘Ego’.
For variety I chose SNAKEHIPS next, a DJ duo famous for their remixes of R&B, ‘90s hip-hop, disco and vintage soul. They pulled a big crowd keen to dance. UK’s WOMBATS are very popular here and also drew a big crowd. They were given a 50-minute time slot to deliver their greatest hits such as ‘Tokyo’, ‘Your Body is a Weapon’ and finishing with all time favourite, ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’.
I finished the night with Brisbane grunge band VIOLENT SOHO. The crowd had been waiting all day to see them play. When they came on stage, vocalist/guitarist, James Tidswell, introduced the band in an extra broad Aussie accent, proceeded to kick a football into the crowd and throw rolls of toilet paper like streamers at the excited fans. This really got the party started. Bassist, Luke Henery was very energetic on stage, throwing his long hair around and creating quite a spectacle. They were a definite highlight of the festival and a fitting way to end a huge 11 ½ hours of continuous music.
Of course there were many bands I did not see, but I left feeling satisfied that I’d seen some of the best moments of Groovin The Moo, Wayville.
Groovin The Moo continues over the next two weekends.
Sat 6th May – Bendigo, Victoria
Sun 7th May – Canberra, ACT
Sat 13th May- Bunbury, Western Australia
Article & Images by Deb Kloeden