Pictured: Jack White by Marc Grimwade for Splendour In The Grass. Used with Permission
There was more than the singular element of rock today at the opening day of Splendour In The Grass 2012, with a single torrential downpour appearing from the heavens during an early afternoon set from local punk-electrorock duo DZ Deathrays, causing the thoroughfares and car parks to become quagmires of mud not far off from resembling cow shit.
Other than that, the return to Belongil Wetlands has been a relatively triumphant one for Splendour; face melting sets from both headliners Jack White and At the Drive-In brought the day to a close, with other notable standout performances from the angelic and ethereal sounding Emma Louise, the aforementioned blast from DZ Deathrays, and a thrilling comeback performance from Spiderbait. At the Drive-In finished with a searing rendition of ‘One Armed Scissor’, and lay to rest any thoughts that the performance would bring a repeat of the much discussed 2001 Big Day Out appearance; Cedric Bixler-Zavala was quite content to engage with the crowd, even goading one punter and encouraging them to dance. Jack White brought both his all-male and all-female bands on stage, closing with a rendition of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army”, having the entire Supertop crowd do the infamous riff.
After the Splendour that was Woodford, however, Belongil Wetlands is not without flaw; while the layout of the festival hasn’t changed, the needs and wants of the enlarged crowd has, and there are numerous teething issues with the VIP areas. The Gold Bar has a capacity of approximately half the tickets sold, has a license that ends at midnight, and a viewing platform side of stage that has a less than spectacular view of the action (as well as holding less than a quarter of the VIP holders in at any point). Given that the word “wetlands” is right there in a name of the festival grounds, I don’t know that I can name the ankle-deep mud as a blemish…although the high traffic areas are in sordid need of bark chips or some other holding substance that will allow the ground to stay solid rather than the mushy, slick and dangerous goop that it’s become after one third of the proceedings.
Stay tuned to the AU review for our full review of the opening day (and indeed, the whole weekend) in the near future!