In previous years, Australia’s Splendour In the Grass was held at Byron Bay. But for it’s 10th anniversary it has a new home in the countryside. It’s just as well cause it needs the extra space.
First held way at the turn of the millennium in 2001 for nine years, Splendour In The Grass has been held at Belongil Fields, outside Byron Bay, just south of Coolagatta, the airport Air Asia X flies into for Gold Coast routes. It’s first line up was miniscule, and contained all of 4 bands that I recognize – Stephen Malkmus, Squarepusher, Pnau, Powderfinger. It was a one day event, but within a year the line up doubled in size and the event was stretched out over 2 days.
Fast forward a few years and Splendour is already Australia’s biggest winter music festival. It sells out in hours and even attracts convoys who truck/caravan across statelines. DJ Ribut, who was jetted to last year’s Splendour remarked upon the sheer difference in scale; what a difference a year makes….Â At over 200 acts, 3 massive stages, countless food stalls, Splendour 2010 made one gargantuan leap into the large, full scale rock monstrosity, and Byron Bay’s Belongil Field could not contain it.
From the reports I have read it appears the quiet folks of Bryron Bay and its council were willing to lose the economic injection into its coffers from the 30,000 estimated to turn up, but were not willing to lose sleep or its pristine scenery, even if only for a year. “Fair dingkum” as the Flying Doctors would say.
Woodford, 73km north of Brisbane, is further inland, surrounded by farms and rolling countryside and a view of theÂ rugged Glass Mountains. It’s used to seeing families of weekenders as well as trekkers and rock climbers. But it’s also no stranger to large festss. The six-day Woodford Folk Festival (which hasÂ pulled inÂ the likes of The Cat Empire, Angus and Julia Stone, Lisa Mitchell, The John Butler Trio and Clare Bowditch) is held here and from what I was told, the festival site was specifically purchased by a small cooperative for the purpose of throwing similar events. Don’t know how the cows feel though….