Golden Plains 2024

Holly and I have been going to this incredible festival as often as possible since 2018. It's like no other festival: amazing people and vibe, single stage with a really diverse lineup of bands and some kooky traditions.

It's the best festival I've ever been to in Australia. Not the gravitas and lineup heft of Glastonbury but certainly captures a lot of the vibe, better in a lot of ways even. Not easy for us to make it from Sydney, involving finding hosts for our kids, flights, car hire and getting tents and the like all the way there.

This year we had to deal with serious heat. 37 degrees every day and on the Saturday night it was still 30 at 10pm. Seriously hot, so there was a lot of sitting around sipping drinks and hoping it'd cool down a bit.

Strange traditions

One of the funny traditions of Golden Plains is The Boot. To show their appreciation of a show, attendees hold a boot aloft above their heads. Charlotte Adigéry was very confused until some of the crowd explained what was going on. People also dress up in crazy stuff. And weirdest of all, you're allowed bring furniture to the festival, so there ends up being a whole array of couches at the back of the crowd area.

The sunsets from the hill beside the main stage are spectacular. A big crowd forms on the hill as the sun goes down with cheers, claps and hoots of appreciation. They're really stunning sunsets.


Musical highlights this year: Elsy Wamayo played a great afternoon set in the heat that forced me up onto my feet. King Stingray's recorded music hadn't set my heart alight but live they were great fun. And best of the fest was Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul. I've been following Adigéry's music since 2017 so I was super excited she was on the bill and they were amazing. Absolutely owned the crowd. Cymande were also a lot of fun, spotting those samples that you've heard everywhere.

Peats Ridge Festival 2010

Holly and I took Louis to his first outdoor music festival, and his first time camping over New Year. Peats Ridge Festival is held to the North of Sydney in a valley near the Hawkesbury River and bills itself as something of a sustainable music festival. It's got mostly Australian artists, though this year they had the Shout Out Louds who I'd previously seen at Roskilde in 2006 (yes, follow that link - the photo is awesome).

We didn't know quite how it'd turn out, whether Louis would cope with dust, camping, noise and heat.  Turns out we did fine.

Bands I really enjoyed, but expected to enjoy, were Shout Out Louds, Decoder Ring and PVT. Always awesome bands.

New discoveries:
  • The Seabellies: very talented multi-instrumentalist band. Curious to hear their recorded output, if I can find somewhere to buy it that isn't iTunes.
  • Fishing: very difficult to categorize, probably closest example is some of Hudson Mohawke's output (Polyfolk Blues in particular). Amazing live mashing up of their tracks.
  • Jinja Safari: Holly saw these guys so I don't really know anything about them.
  • Trentemøller: not terribly impressed with his recordings, but his set leading up to New Year's midnight was great.

But music was only part of the fun. We spent a lot of time trying to stay cool, with temperatures heading towards 30 and over in the day. We spent a fair amount of time cooling down in the little creek running through the site.  We lazed around.  Ate some yummy food.  Drank some beers.

The really fun part was last night with a dress up night.  Louis and I have these absolutely amazing costumes made by my awesome friend Linn Linn.  Loads of fun.

All in all, a nice little festival.  Good relaxed atmosphere, very kid-friendly. The "eco" label can be a little grating, especially when they stiff you an extra $1 "container deposit" on drinks and then make it difficult to actually get your dollar back.  But I think I'd definitely go again.  We had lots of fun.

Loads more photos are on my SmugMug.

In case you haven't had cute overload yet, here's a video of Louis dancing to Lolo Lovina: