While some festivals sacrifice logistics for big name talent, Groovin the Moo delivered the best of both worlds in 2022.
I rocked up to the Canberra leg of Groovin the Moo on Sunday prepared for the pre-festival ordeal of finding a nearby parking spot that didn’t cost a bomb, yet was still a somewhat comfortable walking distance from the festival.
Instead, I was treated to parking so simple that it seemed illegal. The festival’s venue, Exhibition Park in Canberra, had a dedicated parking lot the size of the festival grounds themselves, offering free parking all day, a mere 200m from the main stage.
That feeling of suspicious ease rolled on as I made my way through security, entering the gates after a quick bag check and an honestly pretty respectful audit for alcohol smuggling.
And if you’re worried about missing your favourite band while you’re in the toilet line, don’t. I literally did not have to wait for a single thing all day.
But that’s enough about the organisation and facilities, because other than looking for a good time, the thousands of attendees were all there for one thing. Fresh gözleme.
Jk, obviously we were there for the stellar lineup of artists, ranging from acts like Snakehips and the Hilltop Hoods, to the heavier tones brought by Polaris and Spiderbait.
The day kicked off on the main stage with Hope D, Redhook, and Sycco. They all had people literally dancing like nobody was watching (or dancing like they’d had a few early trips to the bar), while JK-47 brought his usual artillery of energy to the Moolin Rouge tent.
Middle Kids were the self described “arvo bikkie and cup of tea” of the festival, aiming to be the “best scotch finger you’ll ever have” as they graced the stage just after 2pm. And the best scotch finger they were, treating the daytime crowd to a session-able brand of heartfelt guitar rock.
The Canberra leg of Groovin attracted a crowd that ranged from families setting themselves up with a picnic blanket in a quiet area, to teenagers packing into the mosh, and plenty of over 18s enjoying the sun in the bar section.
By 3pm, Exhibition Park had filled with the “most people I’ve seen in years” as Hockey Dad said when they jumped on stage. In their usual way, Zach and Billy strolled out, dressed like they just rocked up from the beach. I honestly wouldn’t have been surprised if they walked out wearing rash shirts.
But they belted out some of the most polished surf rock you’ll ever hear live, and you could tell they were loving it as much, if not more than the crowd. I don’t think Billy stopped grinning the entire 40 minutes.
We all experienced love in it’s best and worst forms through the truely mind-blowing voice of Montaigne, then Polaris induced a couple of death pits with what was safely the heaviest set of the day.
Then there was the hilarious visual of people zooming round on the festival’s flying chairs ride as Spiderbait treated the crowd to a 15-minute rendition of Black Betty, keeping the Groovin crowd on their feet with five-minute drum solos only Spiderbait could pull off.
Despite the fact that the sun was dipping, Snakehips brought the temperature up by a solid few degrees in the Moolin Rouge tent, while Lime Cordiale hit the crowd with fan-favourite after fan-favourite, including their rendition of I Touch Myself, in front of a screen displaying some slightly erotic visuals of softly-caressed fruit.
British sweethearts Wolf Alice endearingly thanked the “Groovin in the Moo” crowd for the love, somehow taking the cake as one of the most wholesome acts of the day as they played emphatic spook punk, but still made each other laugh during songs.
Then to wrap up, Peking Duk’s first Groovin the Moo headline set in their hometown of Canberra delivered the pyrotechnics and singalongs that earned them that spot.
The duo brought the likes of Safia and Slayyyter to help out with the vocals on some songs, feeding off the crowd on others (who were much louder than the mic’ed up vocalists.
Groovin the Moo will finish off its run of festivals in Bendigo this Saturday, and trust us, this is one day you don’t want to miss. You can grab tickets here.