With 15 years of Splendour between us at the interns, you would’ve thought we’d be more well-trained but it turns out not. We committed many of the cardinal sins of Splendour and we’re here to confess.
Missing Tina Arena
While we saw Client Liason burst onto the stage, we were pulled away from their stage early and will forever live in regret that we missed Australian pop icon Tina Arena. Unlike a festival like Coachella, Splendour rarely pulls in external special guests as large as Arena and hearing Sorrento Moon blast out while we were at least seven minutes walk away was a distinctly painful experience.
Walking Into LCD Soundsystem 10 Minutes Into The Set
With so much going on, it’s actually very rare that you get to see full sets. We ran from Stormzy to LCD Soundsystem but were ultimately unsuccessful getting there on time missing Daft Punk Is Playing At My House and I Can Change, two of their greats. Thankfully, they carried on for another 90 minutes setting a groovy pace and keeping it cool with a no frills demure. Everything about James Murphy’s dishevelled business man look says he shouldn’t be a great frontman but he’s just so brilliant. Dance Yrself Clean will go down as one of Splendour’s finest memories.
When you wake up in the morning on the first day it’s like you’ve been plucked and thrown straight into the middle of summer. Making the decision to put on shorts in that moment made for one very painful wait in the bus line that my legs may never recover from. The good thing about three day festivals is that you can right your wrongs.
Not Getting Amongst It For Peking Duk
Peking Duk have really stepped up their live sets to a level that’s putting them up there with the EDM giants around the world. Just about every theatric known to man they throw into their set and then mix it in with a healthy dosage of nostalgia and tackiness. They were intro’d by Dale From ‘The Castle’, managed to get AlunaGeorge out from the UK for Fake Magic and had Ben from SAFIA soaring with a rare acoustic moment. We watched from the hill but the moshpit looked wild.
Staying Up Until 3am On Thursday Night Listening To Lana Del Rey
This was a personal mistake completely unrelated to Splendour and a result of Lana dropping Lust For Life a day before the festival. No, she wasn’t playing, but it didn’t stop us from treating ourselves to our own ‘Lana Del Rey Best Of’ set. It also didn’t stop us from feeling terrible on the first day of the festival.
Not Leaving Earlier To Get To Stormzy
Stormzy easily pulled one of the biggest crowds of the festival and he wasn’t even playing the main stage. He filled the Mix Up tent to the brim and then filled the surrounding area. It was an absolutely massive show that was very difficult to navigate five minutes before the set. Once in, he delivered one for the history books blowing the roof of with Big For Your Boots, creating unbelievable moshpits with Shut Up and peppering it with pop with his Shape Of You verse.
Joining In On One, Just One, DJ Otzi Chant
It was in the bus line, on the first night, after a very long, cold night. We will never do it again.
Not Popping The Happy Kanye Installation
Splendour usually get it right when it comes to the tone of their installations but this one by Hungry Castle felt particularly off. It was originally titled ‘Sad Kanye’ before the makers and the festival were critiqued for mocking mental health given that Kanye has reportedly struggled with his own this year. They changed it to ‘Happy Kanye’ but it still felt like mockery, particularly as punters grouped for selfies and the like. Acclaim writer Kish Lal has penned an excellent piece on exactly why it’s problematic.
Not Being In The Front Row For HAIM
HAIM’s set was a highlight for just about everyone who was there grooving to them and part of that was because of how infectious Este Haim’s personality is. The bassist gives it all on stage from painfully elongated facial movements to the occasional flash which she gave zero fucks about. At one point, during an impromptu jam, Este launched herself off the stage and into the arms of the front row of the crowd. That was not us but oh how we wish it was.
splendour ❤️ pic.twitter.com/OzxkdOgNdC
— HAIM (@HAIMtheband) July 21, 2017
Not Going To The Toilet Before Getting On The Bus
Your bladder can be very cruel to you during a festival, pulling you out of your favourite sets and making you contemplate peeing yourself more than once over a three day period. It’s never more painful than being on a bus and this was a lesson that we still haven’t learn after five years of the festival. Thank you Splendour for putting loos at the bus drop of point. You get it.
Leaving With A Huge Crowd After The xx
Leaving after any headline act at a festival is always a pain but it felt like there were floods of people leaving from arguably the most popular headline set The xx. To be honest, it’s probably worth sticking around, grabbing a drink and waiting for the bus lines to die down rather than joining the whinge-fest that is hundreds of cold people in a bus line acting like this is the low point of their life thus far.
Contemplating Leaving The xx To Beat The Crowd
The other alternative was leaving The xx earlier to beat the crowd to the bus line. This was something that was considered very briefly and we couldn’t be more glad that we didn’t do it. At that point Jamie xx launched into Loud Places proceeded by his own mini-DJ set that was followed by the band rejoining his for On Hold. It may be the most euphoric 10 minutes that the Amphitheatre has ever hosted.
Choosing Between Tove Lo And Schoolboy Q
This is Splendour’s mistake more than ours. Well, not a mistake as much as a good lineup. These two overlapped each other and we really couldn’t pull ourselves away from Tove Lo while the bass of Cool Girl was pulsating around the Mix Up. The Swedish popstar ended with Stay High and made us very glad we stayed but then we made our way to the Amphitheatre to see Schoolboy Q delivering one of the most spectacular sets of the weekend. Nothing all weekend quite matched the energy of That Part of the movement of the crowd, not only close to the stage, but around the hill. It’s been a few years but Splendour crowds are making a very convincing argument for a hip-hop headliner next year.