Groovin the Moo Swoops Upon Bunbury

“With a plethora of amazing acts every year, it’s easy to see why Groovin the Moo keeps its audience coming back.”

Photography by SAM ELLIOTT of Lepak Media

A slew of sensational acts and 20,000+ music fans made Bunbury’s Hay Park home for the day on Saturday, as the annual Groovin’ the Moo festival took over. There were braids and glitter on the heads of almost every girl (and some awesome guys) and a fusion of fashion to rival the likes of Coachella and outfits that wouldn’t be out of place on a farm (mine included). It was the last stop on the national tour and the fans and artists alike definitely brought it.

The early-starters were treated to sets from local acts ZIGGY RAMO, POW Negro, Luke Fox, and Methyl Ethel. It will be great to see them all keep rising because there is a whole lot of talent there. One of the early afternoons biggest drawcards Amy Shark, thrilled the crowd in the Moolin Rouge tent with the Hottest 100’s number 2 song “Adore”. She also did a Like A Version worthy cover of Eminem’s “Superman”. The younger ones in the crowd took a while to catch on to the song but us oldies were loving it. Tearing it up at the same time over at the Triple J stage was South Australian rapper Allday.

As the afternoon wore on, festival goers were treated to a triple threat of Aussie acts, indie-pop singer Montaigne, Melbourne rockers The Smith Street Band and looping-sensation Tash Sultana. Montaigne was up first with her arty-pop songs. The fit-to-burst 18+ section swayed appreciatively with their drink of choice to her catchy songs and incredible vocals. She bid the last leg of the Groovin’ the Moo festival a fond farewell, telling us to “have a bloody good Groovin’ the Moo”. We did Montaigne. We certainly did.

The Smith Street Band boys were up next. Front man Wil Wagner gave multiple shout outs to different acts on the line-up including Amy Shark and Montaigne. It’s nice to see how much respect some of our countries best musicians have for each other. “”Death to the Lads” was a hit with the WA crowd. Lads and ladies alike were belting out every word.

The highly-anticipated set of Tash Sultana didn’t quite go off without a hitch. She got a good way through her opening song before realising that those beyond the first row couldn’t hear a thing. But the issues were quickly sorted out and it didn’t take long before her amazing voice was flooding the crowd. The one-woman-band has had to cancel multiple shows lately including the Maitland and Bendigo legs so it was great to see her eventually getting to do her thing without any hint of strain. The whole set was a treat to the ears but the crowd amped it up a level for “Notion”, “Jungle” and Tash did not disappoint.

Still dealing with the loss of founding guitarist and songwriter Tom Searle, it was wonderful to see metalcore group Architects light up the Moolin Rouge stage. It must be so hard for the guys to continue but their adoring fans were certainly appreciative.

As the sun set on the last day of Groovin’ the Moo, The Jungle Giants smashed out an impressive list of songs. They were followed by Milky Chance. I honestly never knew how many Milky Chance songs I love but the German lads seemed to be playing hit after hit. Lead singer Clemens Rebhein’s voice sent more than a few shivers down my spine.

By this stage of the night, the alcohol was settling in, the fence jumpers were bringing down barriers on people’s heads, the people who forgot large portions of their outfits were beginning to get a little cold and spontaneous dance parties were breaking out all over the place.

I had a real dilemma choosing between George Maple and Pnau. After hearing Pnau’s “Wild Strawberries” and “Chameleon”, I then made my way over to Moolin Rouge to hear what George Maple had to offer. The Aussie songstress put on a sultry and breathtaking performance. She looked amazing belting out some of her own songs and “Gemini”, the What So Not track that she is featured on, but it was her powerhouse vocals that really blew me away. I will be catching her live again!

There was still time for some mind-blowing sets from UK act Snakehips, The Darkness, Hayden James, Opals basketballer Liz Cambage, Command Q, and Bobby Chance. The last set on the Triple J Stage was from The Wombats and what a masterful display it was. When it came time for the last song a few of us got a little over excited at the mention of a “My Heart Will Go On” cover but they decided to close out the set with their hit song “Let’s Dance to Joy Division”. Despite those of us who are massive Celine Dion fans being a little devastated, it was the perfect finish to their enigmatic performance. Aussie faves Violent Soho finished the night on the Cattleyard stage with an awesome performance that included smashing up their gear.

Afterwards, some of the crowd made their way to the Mootown stage for Boston Switch and a large portion headed to the Moolin Rouge stage for Dillon Frances. The area looked ready to explode with hip-shaking and booty dropping young adults. But the highlight of the set was the closing sing along to Daryl Braithwaite’s “Horses” and those of us who decided to skip out early to beat the rush back to Perth are really kicking ourselves right now.

With that, the crowd of music lovers made their way out into the night and Groovin’ the Moo was over for another year. It’s hard for festivals to have staying power in this country and in particular WA, but with a plethora of amazing acts every year, it’s easy to see why Groovin’ the Moo keeps its audience coming back. Let’s hope it never ends.

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