Festival Review: Peats Ridge Festival, Day 1 - Glenworth Valley (29.12.12)

Set in the stunning surrounds of Glenworth Valley, Peats Ridge is a festival like no other that mixes in a bit of everything. On top of the amazing music lineup, you can learn all kinds of yoga, including the amazing laugh yoga, or belly dancing, drumming, mask making, all kinds of things about the lands traditional owners and any number of ways to live sustainably.

You can venture through a giant woman’s legs for some naughty night time oddities, get your hand on amazing food and buy all kinds of amazing stuff that you just won’t find anywhere else. It’s a family festival, so kids are everywhere, but so are the bars and it all just works (until you get to the toilets that is, but we’ll talk about that later, much later). To top it all off, the whole festival is surrounded by water, so you can literally kick back in the river and listen to the main stage, and if you’re lucky enough, you can set your camp up nice and close to both too.

As is traditional for both the festival and lands traditional owners, The Darkinjung people, Peats Ridge starts with an Opening Ceremony, where a traditional smoking ceremony, acknowledgement of country and traditional dance and music are performed by the The Darkinjung people,

Not long after this the pressure is put on the The Preatures to open the BellBird (main) stage to three days of musical mayhem, as they wake those still snoozing in tents with their hot sleazy 1950s rock, which seems like the perfect way to wake for any person the sun had left sleeping.

French artist Chaplier fou took the crowd at the Lyerbird stage on a ride to unexpected places. Blending his flawless musicianship and uses of traditional instruments like the violin, with experimental technological techniques, that saw him mix beats live on stage with a joystick and tables full of space like equipment.

Things got trippy back at BellBird as Deep Sea Arcade brought the sixties vibe and their eclectic mix of sounds to the main Stage. Followed by Mat McHugh & The Seperatista Soundsystem’s mellow vibes, which were the perfect match for the riverside party that is a Peats Ridge afternoon.

The Crooked Fiddle Band Extravaganza were next to own the main stage, putting on a musical and visual feast that transformed the mellow music loving crowd, into a haze of jumping and dancing, as the band fiddled like only they can. Doing things to an instrument that seem almost impossible, until you see it with your own eyes, to bring out a sound like no other band, as they rock that stage like no with their violin, double bass, nyckelharpa, bouziki, drums and other instruments to take afternoon mellow to night time madness as the festival kicks it up a gear.

With the crowd firmly set in to dance mode The Herd are ready to work the crowd up to another party level, with their hard hitting hip hop tracks getting every booty shaking, fist pumping and body jumping as the band take the band through their mixture of party and political Hip Hop.

Tijuana Cartel are the last up on the Bellbird stage for day one, and take the night home the way only they can, with their smooth mix of Hip Hop and world music. Getting the crowd working overtime to keep up with their rapid fire guitar skills and tasty technical beats, and though the band were down a member in MC Regan Hoskins, vocalist and guitarist Paul George proved to be capable MC as he lead the band through rap heavy tracks like "Verbal Masturbation".

The environmental aspect of Peats was clear across every part of the festival and you could always find a new lesson as you wandered through the festival. You could drop in on a Kimberleys stall and learn how to save the precious area, get involved with animal protection or simply learn how to live a more sustainable life, while nature showed you all it had to offer from every angle.

Now while toilets are not something any reviewer wants to talk about, the ones at Peats were simply that bad it must be mentioned. They were the worst I have seen at any festival (including longer ones in stranger places and two previous Peats) and that’s by the end of day one. There weren't enough in the festival, the camp sites that were lucky enough to get showers or toilets sure didn't get enough and well, just imagine what the camp sites that didn't have toilets outside the festival (which can be up to 1.5km away) had to resort to for much of the time, as I don’t want to go in to detail.