Splendour in The Grass: The Coachella Down Under

Photo Credit: Splendour FB

By: Olivia Poglianich

Just when the seasons turn and it gets too cold to surf on Australia’s east coast, Splendour in the Grass gives the Land Down Under something massive to look forward to. It’s been around since 2001, so this July marks its 17th year in Byron Bay. Splendour is one of the largest festivals in the country and undoubtedly the biggest event of the season. In the past, its attracted attendees by the likes of Elon Musk and Julian Assange. From the killer outfits to the stellar line up, it’s like Coachella has made its way to the other side of the world.

Photo Credit: Splendour FB

Byron Bay makes for the perfect setting – a hipster oasis of green juices and chilled out beaches. It also happens to be the hometown of Chris Hemsworth. Last year, the festival played host to LCD Soundsystem, Queens of the Stone Age, Haim and about 100 other acts. While a lot of guesses have been made around this year’s lineup, an official announcement will come at some point this April.

Historically, Splendor has attracted a large combination of local and international talents. Just last year, Aussie DJ duo Peking Duck brought on 5 different surprise guests to sing vocals and shred some guitar chords as they got the crowd moving. One of which was the famed AlunaGeorge who surprised excited fans to sing a song or two, venturing all the way from the UK to attend the big celebration.

Photo Credit: Chris Proud

When the founders Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco tossed around dozens of names back in 2001, they almost called the festival Home and Away, or even Bandcamp at one point. After searching through record shops and bookstores for inspiration, it took them 6 months to land on Splendour in the Grass.

Funny enough, the name came straight from a 1960’s movie title. One night, Jess and her boyfriend were watching the film and then she woke up the next morning deciding it was the perfect mix of quirky and uplifting.

Speaking of quirky, it wouldn’t be Splendour if something unusual didn’t happen every year. In 2011, Kanye West came on stage with an array of angels behind him, alongside cannons firing off smoke and fireworks. In 2013, Lorde played an unexpected set after Frank Ocean canceled at the last minute. Last year’s festival also included a science tent with actual doctors who answered a Q&A about psychedelics and the chemistry behind rock ‘n roll.

Kanye made headlines last year, too, even though he wasn’t a headliner. Instead, a giant inflatable mural of Kanye was the main (non-musical) attraction. It was supposed to be Sad Kanye, trending alongside the memes of him online. But he responded quite upset, so they revamped the artwork to be Happy Kanye and many festival goers enjoyed taking a photo before his giant floating head.

PC: Marc Stapelberg

Splendour in the Grass is an avid supporter of Your Choice, an Australian organization that preserves the good vibes at every festival by encouraging festival attendees to speak out against harassment. Your Choice is sponsored by a collection of artists, festivals and concert venues all over Australia. Purchase of a t-shirt goes to several artist charities.

For the past 6 years, Splendor tickets have sold out on their first day of release. Last year it took less than an hour. So, make sure you stay glued to your computer around April 15th, hit the refresh button every day until they’re out (or at least until they tell us they’ll be released. So far, they’ve been silent) … and pray you’re one of the lucky 30,000 who will snag a spot!

Check the Splendour website and Facebook  page for a line up announcement and mark down July 20-22 as the dates you can’t miss for this year’s debauchery in Byron Bay.

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