The best of ‘Splendour In The Grass’ over the years

The time is finally here, for festival lovers and those who bought tickets to Splendour In The Grass in 2020!

The aching souls of festival lovers have been hungry for Splendour In The Grass’s lineup for two years and although Midnight Oil and IDLES who were on the original line up are no longer on it, it’s safe to say that the rest of the line-up is absolutely killer. 

The life-changing festival, began at the beginning of the noughties in 2001. Inspired by a poem written by William Wordsworth, “Ode On Intimations Of Immortality From Recollections Of Early Childhood” has the lines Though nothing can bring back the hour Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower?” These lines were fuel to the forefathers who birthed the festival and all the faithful followers that have partied their hearts out during the impeccable performances over the years.

Lorde- Splendour
Credit: Jess Gleeson

The 20th festival is just around the corner and I can hardly wait! Twenty years of free spirits and music nerds coexisting in a paradise of music and creative soundscapes. This festival has had some amazing artists perform for crowds of thousands, from LCD Soundsystem to Tash Sultana, one of Australia’s own. Long before all his madness, Kayne West graced the stage with a crowd of angels, Lorde saved the festival back when Frank Ocean pulled out last minute and a surprise appearance was made by WikiLeaks firebrand Julian Assange via satellite.

A recap is in order for some of Splendour’s best moments, lineups, and stories from previous years.

Throwing it back to 2006,The Presets performed at Splendour for the first time with a DJ set. Rocking up with all their friends to a jammed tent that supposedly went by the name of Death Disco Stage, they partied all night. They fondly remember that they “took a bunch of records and CDs and just partied the night away with our favourite Pet Shop Boys and Madonna tracks, hip-hop tracks, techno”. It was an untamed party for them and not an experience they had any other time they performed at the festival.

The following year, the British indie scene that we know and love migrated its way over to the festival. Artists such as Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, Hot Chip, Kaiser Chiefs and Lily Allen invaded the festival space. Royal Blood, another favourite British band, had experienced their first time playing at the festival on the main stage, during torrential rain. The singer felt “it couldn’t have felt more English. It couldn’t have felt more like I was at home. It was miserable, but in a glorious way.” The year after Royal Blood had a fangirling moment after sharing a donut with legendary Damon Albarn and being introduced to Queens of the Stone Age

main stage
Credit: Justin Ma/Splendour in the Grass

10 festivals ago in 2010, the creators of Splendour produced a monumental international lineup in the history of Splendour. The Strokes and Pixies headlined which pulled massive crowds of undying fans. Florence & The Machine and The Temper Trap got involved at a time they were getting bigger in the scene.  Throw in Empire Of The Sun and Kate Nash in the mix, and it was a festival of amazing performances that is still to this day a very big “I wish I was there” experience.

In 2012 the festival had a few rock legends jump on stage such as Jack White and Smashing Pumpkins. Lana Del Rey was a first-time experience for many Aussies and the incredible girl band Metric added to the fun. Our internationally famed favourite Kevin Parker’sTame Impala, was a much lesser known act that also played at the festival, gathering a much smaller crowd than it does now. 

Tame Impala at Splendour
Credit: Kylie Keene

One year, Birds of Toyko tried to splice a Frank Ocean song with one of their own as he had cancelled very last minute. “I kind of knew the song, kinda knew the lyrics, so I wrote them on a page and put them up on stage” singer Ian Kenny explained. But when it came to him singing that song at the end of the set, the lighting was terrible and he couldn’t read what he had written. The keys player and the crowd joined in enthusiastically to carry the team as they knew the lyrics better. 

Splendour crowd
Credit: Charlie Hardy/Splendour in the Grass

A member of Children Collide relives his experience of having a bad trip after a friend randomly popped a tab on his tongue. He recalled crying into the arms of singer-songwriter Dan Sultan at the bar and winding up alone in a tent tripping out. He wasn’t alone though and had a surprising experience.

“I hear this guy come into the tent next to me with a girl and he picks up an acoustic guitar and plays ‘Wonderwall’; then they have sex right next to my head. I get through that and they leave, what feels like 20 minutes goes by and I hear him come back with a distinctly different girl. He plays ‘Wonderwall’ again and has sex again next to my head and I just remember thinking, ‘Man what am I doing with my life, I don’t even know how to play ‘Wonderwall’.” How very 2011 of this guy to serenade a bunch of girls with ‘Wonderwall’. This experience is definitely not one to forget, but also not one you want to remember. I hope nothing remotely like this happens to me next week. 

Splendour festival
Credit: Getty Images

In 2016 The Cure ran through their extensive discography to a colossal crowd of various ages of fans. After 30+ songs and four encores, they marked the end of their show with ‘Boys Don’t Cry’. Other artists of international value to remember at this years festival were Sigur Ros, The 1975 and Peter Bjorn and John with Flume headlining one night. 

Here are some highlights from the 2016 festival!

Baker Boy, who will be performing at the festival this year, recalled his experience in 2018 when he first performed at the festival. It was the first time ever that I got to see a whole tent full with people, there was so much energy.” He enjoyed dancing and feeding off the loud excitement from the crowd, longing to be able to go back to the festival and do it again. He’ll be at the festival this year fulfilling that dream, don’t forget to go see him on the first day. 

“ The adrenaline rush! Seeing beautiful smiles and all that, it was just amazing.” Watch the clip below to see how the crowd is immersed in the experience of Baker Boy’s song ‘Marryuna’. 

If these highlights aren’t enough to get you in the mood for the festival, I spoke to a friend recently, who shared her experiences of Splendour a few years ago and it sounded like a magical time.

“After walking 2 hours through the bush (we didn’t have tickets) and crawling under the fence in the middle of winter; one of the best days of my life unfolded. Seeing Pnau, MGMT & Kendrick Lamar all in one night in 2018 was really sensational. Life giving and soo technicolor especially Pnau & MGMT. I was unable to stop dancing, the boogie was hypnotising. As for Lamar, the audio & Visual production was top shelf as large screens played music video-like scenes in time with the music. Most cinematic live music set I’ve ever seen. Very political & thought-provoking, very powerful performance”- Eliza Ward, an avid Sydney Festival goer and lover.

Spendour photo of mud
Credit: Cassandra Hannagan

Splendour’s line-up this year, has some amazing homegrown Aussie artists, Violent Soho, Methyl Ethel and Northeast Party House as well as some amazing internationally celebrated artists such as The Strokes, Gorillaz and Tyler The Creator. There are bands for everyone this year. Beautiful poet and rapper Tierra Whack will be performing on the last day, British pop rock legend Liam Gallagher will be opening for Tyler The Creator, which will gather all kinds of fans, and even Tim Minchin with his comedic music will collate a crowd of laughter.