Image for 10 things we learnt at Splendour In The Grass

10 things we learnt atSplendour In The Grass

Splendour In The Grass took place at Yelgun in North Byron Parklands for the first time over the weekend – and it certainly wasn’t short of drama, mystery and memorable sets from Mumford, The National and Of Monsters and Men. Here’s what we learnt. Photos by RICK CLIFFORD.


1. Yelgun is still a work in progress

Splendour’s shift to their permanent 660-acre site at Yelgun meant more space, less bottlenecks, less sound-bleed and a picturesque tree-lined backdrop. But there were still teething problems, including reports of four-hour waits to get into the site and a lack of shuttle busses on day one. “It is our first year at our new home and we feel we laid the best plans,” read an apology from organisers on Facebook. “However they have not been executed to the standard Splendour has always prided itself on.”

(Photo: Splendour In The Grass)

2a. Frank Ocean was gone but not forgotten

Frank Ocean’s 11th-hour tour cancellation was the biggest talking point on day one, and as the weekend wore on there were tributes from Birds of Tokyo, who covered ‘Lost’; Jagwar Ma, who referenced ‘Thinking About You’; Of Monsters and Men, who dedicated their last song to him; and Fidlar’s Brandon Schwartzel, who wore a Frank Ocean tee.

2b. Frank Ocean was missed but adequately “replaced”

Make no mistake, Frank Ocean would’ve been the perfect Splendour curtain-closer, but Of Monsters And Men, Alt-J, The Presets, Passion Pit and teenage Kiwi sensation Lorde, who boarded a flight from Auckland just 24 hours before her set, were more than adequate “replacements”. Lorde drew a huge crowd to the Supertop, proving she has more songs than ‘Royals’ and ‘Tennis Court’ in her locker. At times she seemed overawed by the huge crowd, but it was mostly a triumph and a sign of big things to come.

3. Este from Haim has the best “bassface” since Gene Simmons

4. Pete Doherty made it into the country and people still care

The troubled former Libertine was mobbed side of stage before Babyshambles’ Supertop performance. Dressed in stripes and that familiar captain’s hat, he swung himself about the stage, poured a beer over his head and closed the set with ‘Fuck Forever’ like it was 2005 all over again.

5. The “Mystery Band” wasn’t so mysterious after all

It was Alt-J, guys.

6. You can never underestimate the value of a good cover

Some of the best included Something For Kate absolutely nailing the Florence Welch and Calvin Harris collaboration ‘Sweet Nothing’; Fidlar’s blistering take on the Descendents’ Suburban Home; Dune Rats doing Violent Femmes’ ‘Blister In The Sun’ (in the sun); Jack Bugg’s folky version of Neil Young’s ‘Hey Hey, My My’; Architecture In Helsinki turning Tame Impala’s ‘Feels Like We Only’ into a UB40 b-side; Clairy Browne’s soul-diva take on Salt-n-Pepa’s ‘Whatta Man’; Wavves giving 100% on their Sonic Youth cover, Airbourne playing ACDC’s ‘For Those About To Rock’ for an entire set; and Alt-J’s mash-up of ‘Still D.R.E’ and Kylie’s ‘Slow’.

7. Lana Del Rey’s legacy still looms large

(Photo: Splendour In The Grass)

8. Splendour punters have great rhythm

There were double handclaps, single handclaps, overhead handclaps, synchronised handclaps and even handclaps along to Daughter’s intricate drum patterns. Did we mention that pretty much every band had a floor-tom?

9. The “no moshing, crowdsurfing, or stage-diving” rule doesn’t apply to Wookiees

10. Aussie acts are huge festival drawcards

Flume drew one of the biggest crowds of the festival playing to an absolutely jammed Mix Up and an enormous overflow that watched from a big screen, kinda like the tennis. There were more people watching Melbourne’s Alpine at the Mix Up than there were at Surfer Blood at the Supertop, while the response to The Rubens, Boy & Bear, Cloud Control, Birds Of Tokyo, Empire Of The Sun, Chet Faker, Hermitude and The Jungle Giants proves how strong our local scene is in 2013.

Comments arrow left

redman300_bulldogs said on the 29th Jul, 2013

Was a great weekend! Still can't believe SITG got Lorde as Frank Ocean's replacement. I mean come on, at least get someone of Frank's Calibre..


Stugalug said on the 29th Jul, 2013


berlinchair101 said on the 29th Jul, 2013

Would have preferred Lordi


gumbuoy said on the 29th Jul, 2013

yeah guys, geez, how hard can it be to find an internationally renowned soul/R&B singer with what is widely praised as the best album of 2012 to get to Australia with 24 hours notice?


Jimmyopendoors said on the 29th Jul, 2013

Flight Facilities,Hermitude and Jagwar Ma were highlights for me. Flume was so boring.


jacegalvin said on the 29th Jul, 2013

FIDLAR covered Suburban Home?
Fuarrrr, wish I could have seen that.


HardcoreMusic said on the 29th Jul, 2013

Holy shit, Frank Ocean is the worst musician of the past 30 years. Lorde's songs don't make me fall asleep and don't cause my ears to bleed^

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 29th Jul, 2013

hahahahaah fucking fantastic


gumbuoy said on the 29th Jul, 2013

It sounds like HardcoreMusic has a serious medical condition - dude, see a doctor.


RustyinBondi said on the 30th Jul, 2013

I adored TV on the Radio, Cold War Kids and AIH in equal does. Lorde put on a great produced set. Did she get a private jet from NZ on SITG's tab? It would be one of the only ways she could get back to NZ in time for school.

SITG did the best job for music since 2010! 9.5/10 for music and we still need some work on the facilities with more bluestone and woodchipped paths and roads and built-in showers and toilets to get them to Woodfordia standard but that will happen in the next year or two.

This will clearly be the best festival site in the country one day.

Overall 9/10 and my second fav #SITG after 2010.

Well done SITG Yelgun Brilliance in the making!

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 30th Jul, 2013

This will clearly be the best festival site in the country one day.



VegetableLasagne said on the 31st Jul, 2013

the idea to put flume on at the same time as the national was pure genius, allowed me to get proper close for the national. much appreciated splendour.