Words: Nikki May
Photos: Jade Kennedy
At 28 years old I can sadly say I have never attended a music but I was determined to change that this year so I attended Groovin The Moo in Townsville.
GTM featured an impressive line up including headliners such as Alison Wonderland, Boy & Bear, Illy and Ratatat however I was mostly excited for British India, In Hearts Wake and one of my favourite bands, Twenty One Pilots.
Heading into GTM I didn’t really know what to expect, would it be a chilled out afternoon of great music or would it be seas of sweaty drunk people and pure debauchery?
Late afternoon I head to the Moolin Rouge tent to wait for British India to take stage. As I watched Alex Dyson wrap up his set I couldn’t help but notice the Moolin tent had a really nice relaxing atmosphere to it. There were crowds dancing under the studio stage while groups of friends sat around in the shade just enjoying the music.
After wrangling my way to the barricade it was time for British India and I really enjoyed their set. They played a few tracks off their album Controller such as Plastic Souvenirs and I Can Make You Love Me as well as Suddenly from their album Nothing Touches Me, but what really got the crowd dancing was their cover of Killing In The Name Of by Rage Against The Machine which was a fantastic way to close their set.
Next up in the Moolin tent was Byron Bay boys In Hearts Wake. I was excited to see In Hearts Wake because I only discovered them a few days prior to GTM and instantly fell in love with their tracks. They started the set off fast and heavy instantly getting the crowd going. They commanded the stage while performing hit songs off their albums Earthwalker and Skydancer as well as playing the emotionally charged stripped down Like a Version of Wildflower. I was captivated by In Hearts Wake as they opened up the pit for a wall of death and their interaction with the crowd throughout the whole set. I found that even though I was close to the pit and against the barricade the whole crowd seemed respectful of each other space, there was no needless pushing and shoving of people trying to get closer or cut in front of you. As someone who usually suffers from anxiety in crowds this made me feel much calmer and at home in amongst the crowd.
It was time for my favourite part of the day, the signing tent. Sadly I just missed out on meeting The Rubens but I made it in time to meet British India. What impressed me what instead of sitting behind the table they came out the front of the signing tent and interacted the fans. After British India was the In Hearts Wake signing and all the lads were so down to earth and happy to have a quick chat while signing. Even though I had more acts to see, those moments had made my whole day.
Over on the Channel V stage the theatrical boys of Twenty One Pilots took over kicking straight into Heavydirtysoul off their album Blurryface. The crowd went crazy while they continued to play Stressed Out and Ride. From the moment they hit the stage they didn’t stop, they played while standing on top of the crowd and Tyler Joseph even climbed to the top of the scaffolding while he sang Car Radio. There were smoke and confetti cannons and the crowd loved every second of it. Sadly I didn’t have the same positive experience in the crowd as I did over in the Moolin tent. I found the crowd to be less relaxed and a lot more aggressive with their pushing to be in front but I didn’t let it detract from the amazing entertainment of Twenty One Pilots. I honestly felt like their performance should have been closing the festival rather than a late afternoon time slot.
Overall for my first time at a festival I really enjoyed it, it wasn’t the horror fest I had read about in articles over the years. I discovered new bands, I got to meet some amazing artists, saw death defying stunts, got to sing at the top of my lungs to my favourite songs and mostly just enjoy a nice day out. I know there has been some talk about GTM not coming back to Townsville but I really hope it is just rumours as I am now music festival convert. I am hooked and I need more.