Dear Splendour,

After what was another momentous weekend, I felt compelled to write to you in honour of our two-year anniversary. It was a long 12 months to get back but boy oh boy was it worth the wait. I know you’ve seen the articles that talk about the so-called festival fashions, and watched the videos of drunkards running a muck, but I wanted to take a moment to remind you why I, as well as many others, love you. It’s that sweet thing we call music.

I feel it is often forgotten why punters attend your wondrous celebration but I assure you, I am there whole-heartedly for the music. This year you really stepped it up in regards to the line-up and I really made the most of the weekend that was. For so long I’ve wanted to see many of these artists and hear their music live. Each day was a highlight and the fact my life has been further enriched by your splendour, means a lot. While each artist rose to the occasion and impressed me in their own way, I really want to point out some magic moments that I was able to bask in.

I can honestly tell you that Client Liaison’s set as a whole was the pinnacle of the weekend. I’ve seen them before but not only did they elevate their show to new levels, they also brought out guest artist Tina Arena. I mean, do you have any idea as to how symbolic she is to my musical upbringing? This was a real groundbreaking moment for your festival because it showed that timeless music still very much has a place in the deeply over saturated industry today. This union of the two musical worlds will now serve as a benchmark for the younger generations’ expectations of what great music is, and to see who paved the way for their heroes of today.

photo by Jess Gleeson

Much like the weekend is a reunion for all, having a Powderfinger (kind of) reunion brought back that notion of good old fashion rock and roll. It was completely unexpected but again showed just how powerful a brotherhood of musicians can be. Seeing the crowd race down the hill franticly just to edge even that bit little closer was a sight that made my heart flutter. All I could think of was, imagine being on that stage and causing that landslide of sheer ecstasy. Bliss.

photo by StillsInTime

For me, music is more than just a melody; it is a conceptual aesthetic, so when an artist like BANKS comes along and embodies all of this, I really am left gobsmacked. So much so, a girl in the mosh asked me if I was okay. I must have looked possessed. Oops! To be honest though, I was hooked. The woman is mesmerising and such an empowering female role model. Not to mention, I loved her back up dancers and the fierce choreography they executed with such rigour and finesse. I want to see more of this fearlessness with artists, and more exploration into growing their live shows into full-scale productions.

photo by Bianca Holderness

I also want to point out how amazing our young female artists are right now. With the likes of Vera Blue, Meg Mac, Amy Shark, Julia Jacklin, Gretta Ray and frontwoman of Confidence Man, there’s a lot of girl power going on! Then you have the sisterhood that is HAIM and well, that is what any family unit would aspire to be like, am I right?! More so, these female artists are making timeless music and showing the world the importance of lyrics and building a connection between them and us. It’s not something every artist can do. I also have a lot of respect for Bishop Briggs and Maggie Rogers, who together allow us to share in their stories and grow with them.

photo by Aimee Catt

You know I love my rap and hip-hop music and I was super pumped to see Lil Yachty, Schoolboy Q and Stormzy but I gotta say, I could have done without Lil Yachty. I’ve decided his music does nothing for me; I want more nowadays. On the other hand, Stormzy and Q brought the fiyah and ignited within me the reasons why I love this genre of music. While Q normally brings out Kendrick Lamar in his shows throughout the US I was quietly hoping we’d get one of the biggest surprises of the weekend, but alas, we did not. Maybe next time.

photo by Mitch Lowe

Another thing about this amazing weekend in the parklands of inner Byron Bay is that all aspects of arts and culture are on offer and embraced. One night I caught some live poetry as I sipped on a Chai Latte, and while that may seem very different to a lot of other people’s experiences, it is the wholesome kind of addition to my weekend that I want. It was even great to catch the live Q&A session hosted by Tom Gleeson. What a way to bring community together and have our voices heard.

Splendour in the Grass, you are so much more than just a music festival. You are the coming together of like-minded people (mostly) who just want to enjoy the music. Artists come from far and wide to create an everlasting experience for us and honestly, a life without music just doesn’t exist for me. Music is my high and my joy so I thank you for allowing me to escape my real life for a few days, and immerse myself in what truly makes me happy to the core.


Kara xo

PS. Can you please pass on to the Byron Bay Organic Doughnuts owner that I can’t wait 12 months between donuts. He needs to pop down to Melbourne immediately!!

PPS. I’m not joking.

PPPS. Give me donuts!

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author: Kara Bertoncini

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