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December 14, 2011

Unicorns Under the Sea (or Meredith Music Festival)

Under the Sea Pinata

Meredith Music Festival once again provided an hootin’, hollerin’, knee-slapper of a good time.  Three days spent at what has to be my favourite music festival in Australia always kicks off the summer the right way – and this year was once again no exception.  I’ve always loved how Meredith seems like the start of summer, and its sister festival Golden Plains seems like the end – how these two wild weekends bookend the long Australian summer.

To be honest, this year I didn’t spend as much time carefully watching bands as in previous years.  Where in other years I have spent three days front and centre of the stage, wading out of the crowd for drinks, food or toilets, this year we were all pretty happy to setup a bit further up the hill, and venture into the masses when a good act came.  Despite feeling the lineup was better on paper than on stagfe, there were some definite musical highlights for me.

The real standout for me was Explosions in the Sky, who put on a brilliant set of post-rock, psychedelic riffing as the sun went down on day one.  Singing along with the entire crowd to Icehouse songs you kinda remember from childhood was another highlight.  Future of the Left played a rocking set.  Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears were awesome.  Cut Copy got everyone going.   Grinderman were really good – but they are one of those bands that I really try to like, but I cant say i love them.

But this year there were also some real stinkers:  Gang Gang Dance (whingeing the entire set about technical difficulty, offering to tell jokes – it would have been better with filler music).  I didn’t care for Ladyhawke (who apparently owes one unhappy punter $7), and by all accounts JuiceBoxxx wont be invited back anytime soon (lots of boooo’s).

But the real highlight of the festival was Saturday afternoon’s “Unicorns Under the Sea” party.  The Fizz Mitch organised party can now lay serious claim to being a Meredith tradition.  This year, up to 200 people attended the party at our campsite, with most people going to extreme lengths to get into costume.

There was limbo, a narwal pinata, unicorn races and a best dressed competition.  Costume highlights included Mak’s under the sea dress, 70’s scuba diver will, a sushi roll, jellyfish, and some amazing unicorn costumes.

View the weekend’s festivities here:

[slideshow]

After packing up the tent, sleeping bags and mattresses, finding bits and pieces of clothing strewn around the campsite, wondering how you ever got everything to fit in the car on the way up, saying your good-byes, and “see you back in Melbourne….what is everyone doing next weekend”, I always enjoy the car ride home.  Sure, i’m often exhausted, hungover, filthy, sleep deprived, hoarse and struggling to put meaningful sentences together – but thinking back at what happened over the past three days always makes me feel great.  So many laughs, so many stories, an abundance of good times, catching up with everyone you know (and people you had forgotten existed), with the radio on and window rolled down, its easy at times like this to realise how lucky we all are.

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