Since it’s nearly time for Australia’s grooviest festival of the year, annnnd since I’m not going and having major withdrawals, I’ve decided to put together my very own list of Splendour In The Grass hacks. These very useful tips are specific to SITG, and in my opinion, will be relevant every year for all the newbies, as they are all the things I wish I’d been told before attending my first Splendour last year.
So I hope all you rookies have an absolute blast this year (I am jealous as HECK, btw) and hopefully use these hacks to make your Splendour experience as smooth and rad as possible 🙂
DO’S: BEFORE the festival
DO: Buy all of your bus tickets at the start. Last year it was $10 p.p. each way, so $60 in total for the three days, which is pretty bloody good if you ask me. We paid for ours all at once at the Information Centre in Byron, however I’d check closer to the dates to see if it’s the same purchase point this year. Getting our tickets in advance saved us a crapload of time both when we were heading there and leaving, plus it eliminates the possibility of being too broke/drunk/impatient to buy them at the end of the night. Just DON’T lose them :p
DO: Get cash out before you go to the festival, because the ATM lines become dreadfully long, shockingly quickly. but also take your card in case of emergencies/you want to do some shopping. Most of the stalls you’ll visit accept EFTPOS or cash payment – score! (but don’t quote me for the food stalls).
DO: Invest in a solid pair of gumboots. If the weather this year lives up to typical Splendour standards, then it’s probably going to rain, and be muddy and try to ruin your shoes. I caved in last year and bought a $180 pair of Hunter gumboots (the most money I’ve ever spent on a pair of shoes), and boy am I glad I did. Not only do they nearly go up to my knees, but they were super comfortable and withstood all of the dancing and running around for the week. Hot tip: also get some super long, knee high or over-the-knee socks to go with said boots. I found that with all the walking I did (and the fact that they were brand new) my Hunters rubbed a little on my shins on Day 1. However, as soon as I got some giant, comfy socks – voila! Perfect festival companions.
DO: Bring a sturdy (preferably waterproof) backpack with COMFORTABLE straps. I know a lot of gals like to rock a cute mini handbag and attempt to remain warm/look fabulous for the entire day, but let’s face it: if they’re succeeding then they’re probably witches. If you’re like me and like being prepared, then get yourself a quality backpack and make peace with the fact that you can take it off when it’s time for outfit pics.
DO: Pack a portable phone charger! Even if you don’t end up using it, one of your pals who are camping will definitely need it at some point. Also packing related: if you’re a northerner, bring a frigging jumper/jacket! Or even a raincoat, because it’s Splendour, and Splendour and rain go together like cheese and biscuits, so it’s probably gonna happen, and if you’re used to tropical climates like me, then you’re bound to end up freezing your ass off. And if you’ve got half a brain, then you’ll chuck a few snap lock bags in your backpack, because they are the handiest things you will EVER take to a festival. *drops mic*
DO’S: AT the festival
DO: Get your drink tickets as soon as you arrive. Kinda the same deal as the cash out thing, but the earlier you do it the less people there are, so it’s kinda a no brainer. Another hot tip: the cash line for drink tickets was always heaps shorter than the EFTPOS line whenever we walked past (which was often).
DO: On the first day, head down a little early to actually get to know the grounds, because they are so much frigging bigger than the map makes them out to be. Also, knowing the names of the stages/tents will make it heaps easier to navigate the venue and know where all of the good stalls/drink spots are (I highly recommend checking out the Kopparberg barn if it’s back this year! Their Strawberry & Lime cider on tap was rad).
DO: Have a game plan. Work out what acts you want to see everyday (even the ‘maybes’) then work out which area they are playing at (and if there will be any clashes). Remember that crowd numbers increase significantly at night time, so be prepared to be shuffling like cattle in order to see both of those artists.
DO: Take lots of photos. Bring your phone, bring your Polaroids (and shitloads of film), and that quirky little film camera while you’re at it. I thought I took heaps of photos over the weekend, when in reality it was probably only about 50 for the three days (plus videos), and now every time I look back at them I wish I’d taken more. Because Splendour is really freaking cool. Everything there is so artfully curated, and there’s so many cool props and stalls and signs and literally NO ONE gives a shit if you’re that girl making her brother take heaps of “candid” shots because there’s easily a thousand others doing the exact same thing.
DO: Go to the Electric Garden Silent Disco before 9(8?)pm. Mainly because it’s free. And on the night we went, it wasn’t too packed, so there was heaps of room to just dump your bags and have a solid boogey with your pals.
DO: Particularly for the gals – bring some toilet paper. And maybe even hand sanitiser. The toilets are okay for approximately 1 hour out of the 3 days, so be prepared for them to be gross and to have REALLY long waits in the toilet line (I’m talking 40 minutes + in some cases). Use this time to make friends with the gals in line with you, do NOT take your phone out (I saw a girl drop hers in the mud) and try to make the whole affair a strategic pee when you’ve got some spare time in between sets.
DON’T: Rely on the buses to be perfectly synchronised and on time. The first day we had no problems getting to Splendour, but on the Saturday morning/lunchtime we waited in line for the bus that was meant to get to the event an hour before our first set, and it took so long that we completely missed it
DON’T: Expect to get home straight away. This is another bus-related tip, but unless you’re planning to leave mega early before all of the headlining acts play each night (and who the heck wants to do that?) then be prepared to be waiting for up to 2 hours in the bus line back to Byron. Completely soaked and muddy. In the freezing cold rain. For the love of music, eh?
DON’T: Think that you’re going to see every act that you want to. Or at least catch all of your favourite songs. It’s the hard, cold, truth but it’s Splendour and the Parklands is a HUGE venue, and you’re kidding yourself if you think everything’s going to go according to plan. Just embrace the chaos of it all and go along for the ride, because you’re at Splendour for God’s sake, and that’s more than enough!
DON’T: Split up with your friends and say “we’ll meet at this act/tent”. Because it’s never going to happen. Not once, in the three entire days. I ran into famous models before I found my friends, and we were all under the same tent. The phone reception also goes to absolute shit, purely because there are thousands of people there all trying to text and instagram simultaneously. Sometimes it took hours before we got some of our messages through, so again, if you’re gonna split up, at least pick a food or market stall to meet back up at. You’re far more likely to find your pals on the hay bales at Grill’d than you are at the Main Stage.
DON’T: Wear anything that you’re not prepared to get dirty. Because it’s inevitable. Even if you don’t sit down for the entire 3 days, the mud will somehow end up on your elbows, and in your hair, and definitely caking your boots. I wore kinda nice clothes (i.e. nothing too crazily expensive) that got a lot dirtier than I realised, but I managed to nurse them all back to health with a good old soak in Napisan.
Annnnnd, I think that just about covers it. I hope you all have an amazing few days and really take some time just to embrace it all and breathe it all in, because there’s really nothing quite like the magic of Splendour.
Till next time,