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Splendour XR: a one-stop guide to Australia’s biggest digital music festival

Very soon, Splendour in the Grass is going virtual. From how to watch the big show to the finer details on this one-of-a-kind festival, here’s your ultimate guide to Splendour XR.

On Saturday 24 July and Sunday 25 July, it’s the weekend to enjoy Splendour XR in all of its wacky, augmented reality glory. A first-of-its-kind digital festival bringing Australia’s iconic Splendour in the Grass to the world wide web, it’s set to be a massive event packed with 3D recreations of real-life locations, some world-class performances, and more.

There’s a whole lot to dive into here, and we’ll do our best to round it all up for you. Don the VR goggles – let’s dive in.

How do I watch Splendour XR?

First things first, you’ll want to make sure your tech is sorted. Thankfully, Splendour XR is going to be viewable on pretty much every device with a screen. The most immersive experience will be definitely come to those with a gaming PC and/or a VR headset – you’ll literally be able to walk around the virtual festival grounds if that’s you – but the event can be enjoyed on a smart phone, tablet, in-browser, on your TV using a cable, Chromecast, or similar, and more.

The platform Splendour XR are using is Sansar, which may be familiar to the VR junkies out there. It’s a platform that facilitates virtual music events – you can create an avatar, voice chat or text in real-time with other festival-goers, explore the virtual Splendour, and even… dance!

As mentioned high-end PCs (a list of recommended specs can be found here) will give you the full experience, and when viewing on a mobile or Mac device, you’ll still be able to watch the show from one of 70 viewpoints around the festival site.

The Splendour team have put together a handy infographic detailing what you can or can’t do on each device – check it out below:

Splendour XR Device Guide
Click for a larger version

Anyone who buys a Splendour XR ticket will have received an email from Sansar with a sign-up link. Once there, create a Sansar account – or log in if you have one already – and download the app. And you’re all set!

The festival takes places on Saturday 24 July and Sunday 25 July from 12pm to 2am AEST on both days. There aren’t different times for different time zones – it’s all going down at once.

Is my setup ready for Splendour XR?

If you want the true Splendour experience, you’ll want to go big. We know not everyone has access to a giant screen or a solid set of speakers, but if you’re planning which mate’s house to head to on the day, try to make it one with the goods.

There’s a few ways to watch Splendour XR on your TV. If your TV has a built-in Chromecast, or you own a Chromecast dongle, that will be an easy way to get the show on the big screen. If you’ll be using a laptop as your device of choice, you can also use an HDMI cable to plug into your TV – we’d definitely recommend either of these methods for anyone having a little Splendour XR shindig where you’ll have a few people all sharing the one screen.

As you’ll be watching specially tailored sets from artists like The Killers, Denzel Curry, and Charli XCX, a decent sound setup is advised. If your TV is already plugged into a hi-fi, sound bar, or similar, you’re cheering. If not, at least drag out your best Bluetooth speaker or something else with a little grunt. It’s a festival, after all.

And hey, there’s nothing wrong with watching Splendour XR on your phone, under the doona, with a pair of your favourite headphones. Party your way, friends.

What to expect: the festival grounds

If you’re a Splendour veteran, Splendour XR will definitely tug on the heartstrings. Each iconic Splendour location, from the amphitheatre main stage to the Mix Up or G.W. McLennan tents, and even the wildlands of the Tipi Forest, have been virtually recreated, ready for you to roam.

It’ll be a stranger than fiction take on the North Byron Parklands you know and love, because hey, it’s not really possible to grow house-sized mushrooms in the real world. Thankfully in virtual reality, the possibilities are properly endless.

So expect the unexpected, the familiar and the not-so-familiar, all rolled into a psychedelic, technicolour fiesta. It’ll be Splendour in the Grass like you’ve never seen it before.

What to expect: performances

Splendour XR’s lineup has been hand-picked to deliver something truly unique. The artists are all recording one-off sets especially for the festival, so again, expect the unexpected.

You can bet your bottom dollar that future-facing artists like Charli XCX, Chvrches, and What So Not will be putting on spectacularly wild shows, likely with a selection of brain-muddling visuals to match. So much more is possible with a VR element in mind, and combined with sound mixing that doesn’t have to worry about the real world and all of its muddling, you can expect these sets to sound top-notch as well.

Performances from A-listers like The Killers or Khalid you can probably expect to be a little more grounded in reality, although again, anything could happen.

Some of our local favourites – Spacey Jane, Client Liaison, POND, The Avalanches, and so many others – aren’t ones to put on a bad show. Since it’s been a good long while since most of us will have seen these acts play live, and they’ve all got new releases from the last 18 months to bust out, make sure you’re up to scratch on your lyrics.

And finally, with such an excellent local punk and hard rock contingent on offer (we’re talking Amyl & The Sniffers, Dune Rats, The Chats, and The mothafuckin’ Southern River Band on one lineup), we for one cannot wait to get within sweating distance of Australia’s wildest performances.

For the lineup in all its glory, hit this link.

Splendour XR set times

The set times for Splendour XR have just been revealed, meaning you have just over a week to argue amongst yourselves about who to see, and who to skip. If bad words or fists start getting thrown around, remember you can just buy a second ticket and watch your favourite clashing artists on a second device.

The set times announcement came with the news that Violent Soho would no longer be playing the virtual festival, but two new hydra heads have grown in their place. 2manydjs aka Soulwax will be playing a live set during the tail end of Sunday July 25th, and local surf rock legends Skegss will be playing the Amphitheatre at 4:45pm on Saturday 24th.

Check out the set times in full below:

Splendour XR Set Times

Splendour XR Set Times

How to spend 48 straight hours on the Splendour XR hype train

Beyond planning your day around the set times, there’s plenty more you can do to prepare for a home festival experience that’s as hype as the real thing.

Just think – if this was the actual Splendour in the Grass, how would you prepare? I’m talking outfit planning, I’m talking camping gear for your mate’s front lawn, I’m talking unexpected late-night odysseys to the Tipi Forest. It’s all up to you and if you want our advice, full send is always the way to go.

For their trouble, Splendour XR have provided a few extra ways to make that home festival feel every little bit more like the real deal. Specially made Party Packs will score you wristbands (is it even a festival without them?), posters, cooler bags, and heaps more – there’s options ranging for a party for two, to a party for many.

The Strummer Cocktail is also on offer, ready to be shipped to your door. We’ll let the Caltex Cowgirl herself, Amy Taylor, take the explanation on this one:

For now, pending further announcements from the Splendour XR team, that’s the lot of it. As a closing note, remember that every Splendour XR ticket you buy is a little bit of cash injected into the Australian live music industry – something in desperate need of love right now. All parties involved have obviously put their heart and soul into delivering an event that does Splendour proud, so get at it and give it everything you’ve got.

Grab your tickets to Splendour XR here.

Splendour XR

Saturday 24 July and Sunday 25 July
12pm – 2am
Tickets