For a first time festival, Land Of Plenty, held in Shepparton, managed to get a lot of things right. Hopefully setting it off on a bright path for future years. The festival, which for its debut brought along a stellar line-up of local Australian artist, managed to keep the focus firmly on Shepparton’s local scene, whilst also managing to bring some bigger artists along with them too.
The weather was less than friendly across the day, but it didn’t seem to throw too much of a dampener over the amassed crowd, with many of the close to three thousand punters donning ponchos for much of the day. The main stage hosted all of the action, but the rest of the festival site had plenty of charm too, bringing together many local food trucks and a selection of carnival rides to keep even the youngest of punters entertained.
Local acts, Charlie Mccosh, Heard Instinct Collective, and then later in the day rapper Briggs helped ensure the energy remained high in spite of the weather. It was great to see so many locals turning out to see their friends and music idols bringing a little something back to Shepparton.
Following a Welcome To Country, Charlie Mccosh, the winner of Land Of Plenty’s ‘Pick Of The Crop’, opened the festival armed with a loud group of friends at the front barricade to support her throughout her set. For an artist only just starting out on the music career path she seemed to have that glint of something special, with a voice made for the big stage.
The day offered up a rather eclectic line-up, with the likes of the Hip-Hop focused Briggs and Heard Instinct Collective lining up alongside bands such as Ocean Grove and Slowly Slowly, both of whom are known for rowdy pits and exciting live rock performances. Both bands brought with them an excitable crowd even forming a small circle pit during Ocean Grove’s performance. Whilst an eclectic line-up could put some off, if anything it meant that there was a little something for just about any music lover to enjoy across the day, allowing for a good mixture of punters throughout.
Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest acts of the day was Tones And I and while she was following on from heavier acts, Slowly Slowly and Ocean Grove, she brought a wildness to the crowd that neither of them could illicit. The ARIA-nominated artist who has topped charts across the world pumped through her chart singles “The Kids Are Coming” and “Dance Monkey” to the crowd’s delight.
Alex the Astronaut and Briggs highlighted the power of the solo artist, with both bringing the love to Shepparton. Alex of course was her usual loveable self, cracking jokes and speaking with the crowd in between wonders “Happy Song”, “Waste Of Time” and “Not Worth Hiding” to name just a few.
Briggs on the other hand was bringing the energy hard for his hometown. There was a hard to miss sense of respect between crowd and performer that was obvious to most observers. The service was a high energy, heavy hitting and driven set. The biggest play of the day arguably belonged to “Sheplife” from his 2014 album of the same name.
Ocean Alley slowed things back down again, with their lo-fi rock slowly bringing a more mellowed mood across the Shepparton Showground. The Hottest 100 winners laid down some of their famous tracks, “Confidence”, “Knees”, “Infinity” and even played their 2018 ‘Like A Version’ of “Baby Come Back”. They proved to be the perfect set up for headliner Illy with lead vocalist Baden Donegal’s vocals drawing the Shepparton mob in and sending them into a relaxed trance.
Thankfully, by the time Illy graced the stage it seemed the rain had finally left Shepparton for the day. Whilst a portion of the crowd had followed suit, Illy’s fans were more than willing to brave everything the weather could throw at them throughout the day, lining themselves at the front of the pit; some of them for hours on end to ensure they didn’t miss their star.
Illy’s set was perfectly styled to finish off the night, with the hip-hop star focusing on his big singles and hits to bring Land Of Plenty to a close in some style. Whilst he only had a relatively short set (close to an hour) to work with, it was more than enough time to run through “Then What”, “Tightrope” and “Two Degrees” much to the delight of his fans. Illy has seemingly been away from the Australian touring circuit so it was good to see him back in Victoria and busting through a memorable set in Shepparton.
For a first outing, Land Of Plenty certainly had all the makings of a strong and recurring event. There appears to be a willingness to grow and succeed, and all in a market outside of the norm. Not only did Land Of Plenty manage to corral some of Australia’s premier music talent, but they also made a concerted effort to include local acts, bringing in some of the best Shepparton has to offer. All in all it was an accessible and enjoyable festival which has left itself plenty of room to grow and develop in the future.
THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Land of Plenty took place on Saturday November 2nd. For more information and to be the first to know about any future instalments visit their website HERE.