Picturing: Golden Plains

Ok, so a more fully formed overview of the festival is still to come - possibly not that soon either, I'm really starting to question my sanity at having dived into higher education at this point in time - particularly studying two units by distance.

Anyways, here are some initial pics snapped at the festival over the weekend. As ever, I have gone with the trusty camera phone for two reasons - portability and also the simplified image that it provides.

Now maybe this is pretentious arty wank talking but there is something about the less than perfect image that really appeals to me - in an age where photos are getting more and more ridiculously sharp and detailed (check out some HDR pics for example), they seem simultaneously more constructed, more stage managed and more designed to push emotional buttons.

The beauty of the camera phone is that it's immediate, it's a small lense and it doesn't have a great depth of field or contrast range. It's reassuringly low-tech (in spite of the fact that just the thought of being able to take a photo one minute and send it to someone on the other side of the world the next would have blown any photographers mind less than twenty years ago)

Anyway, here are a few views of the inaugural Golden Plains Music Festival, live from the Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre, March 2007.

Meredith has one big stage, purpose built for the festival. People find a spot at the start of the day and tend to camp out there through all the bands. There's a standing section towards the front that it's not too difficult to get into but ultimately, you just want a sit down. (Or maybe I'm just getting old.)

Further back is just a sea of chairs, old couches and the odd lampshade. (Not shown in picture but if you look carefully, the self same lampshade is part of the official Golden Plains artwork)

Is a festival still cool when people are turning up in Beamers? (Yes, even with Beamers)

Navigating your way around a massive campsite can be a challenge, particularly when you realise that most tents only come in about three colours (one of which is silver) and all look alike. Fortunately, the citizens of Box Factory set up next to us and their flag offered a welcome homing beacon. (That and the Norwegian flag near the toilets that marked the left turn to our campsite)

Ok, so there are points at which the phone camera shows it's limitations - but even then, it kind of looks pretty.

Saturday was a brilliant sunny day, maxing out at around 35C with clear blue skies and no wind at all. (Quite the change from the rest of the weekend, which was a much more Melbourne-like overcast and mid 20s which constant strong gusts.)

Sunset was kind of special though.

Quick music highlights:

The Drones (great passion and tight playing)

Ground Components (great attitude, rockstar chops and a sense of fun)

Presets (high energy, loud and fast electronic rock/pop and a definite sense of show)

Fat Freddy's Drop (very talented musicianship, a trombonist able to make the instrument cool and a good attitude)

Gotye (I didn't pick the Thom Yorke-ness of the singers voice until Eric pointed it out - also his observation that it was like Thom Yorke but with a purer sound - but this and the pop-rock sensibilities of these guys made me very keen to check them out)

The Slits (for me at least - noone else in the party seemed to agree but I liked their old-skool pop-punk sound and was prepared to overlook the massive chip the singer seemed to shoulder about not having been paid their dues by history. I mean, yes, they broke some impressive new ground but then packed it in after a couple of albums - then again, the same could be said for the Sex Pistols)

Yo La Tengo (I guess - I was a little hungover by this time but they sounded pretty good from where I was, just wish I was a little more familiar with their body of work.)

Less impressive - The Bellrays - musically tight but too slick, there was something offputting about the way that they made no effort to personalise the between song banter - it was all "You people are great", "Are you all ready to get down?" etc, essentially stuff they might say anywhere.

Comets on Fire - maybe if I'd been watching from a more central spot they might have sounded better but for the most part it just seemed like long winded wanky rock jamming. The Meredith organisers have a definite thing for the noisy rock band and hey, it's their festival but there was nothing new or interesting to it.

!!! - Unusual name aside (pron. chk chk chk or anything single syllable sound repeate d 3 times evidently) these guys started with some interesting sounds but wandered off down long-winded art-rock lane and never came back.

I was a little bit oldman and didn't stick around for the over night techno/dance party thing - hopefully Eric, Fabian or Pippa will be able to put in their two cents worth.