Back in 1991, the same year Nirvana released Nevermind, Daryl Brathwaite decided to sing about "horses" and "Do the Bartman" reached no.8 on the Aria charts, a small rural town between Geelong and Ballarat named Meredith was the location chosen for what is now one of the best festivals this country has to offer.
The story goes that in 1989 local farmer Jack Nolan rode his tractor deep into his unexplored farmland, got lost and after trudging through thick foliage for a few days finally came to a clearing that was more beautiful than anything he had ever seen. A large plateau that overlooked a giant natural amphitheatre. And what was his first thought? "Good times, great bands, cheap food and your own drinks." So was born "Meredith Music Festival"
It all started of as an end of year party for around 200 people. With a small selection of bands playing on the back of a ute, they allowed tents, cars, BBQ's and most importantly BYO. It is now 10,000 strong and just by offering BYO, this festival is offering a freedom that other festivals do not.
Picking a bunch of artists of different genres that somehow all fall under the same category. Bands that you may never have heard of, artists who probably live down the street from you, who don't understand the industry and are happy to just have a band rider. Then there are the critical success stories. Bands that you hear about but have never had the means to listen to but are glad are on the bill.
This is the sneaky time before the family fun starts for christmas.. We all work hard! We don't need all the bells and whistles to make us happy! We just need a no frills good ol' time with our mates! Meredith is the one festival you feel you "should go to". Note that the organisers decided to reduce ticket sales by 500 this year as they thought last year was to crowed. Nice folks. Those nice folks also decided on enforcing a strict "no dick head policy". Although how you define a dick head is very subjective.
With no drinks tickets, no expensive mid strength vodka red bull's and no long lines. All you need is an eskie and a case of tinnies filled with ice from the never-ending ice machine.
With just the one stage, you don't loose your mates by midday. In fact you just bring a couch set it up under a tree and sit back till early morning. But if sitting in front of a stage for the best part of 16 hours isn't your thang. Then walk across to the top of the plateau and watch the sun set with the natural ampitheatre transmitting the sounds across the valley. While your there why not make eyes with that special "one".
Once the sun goes down Meredith starts to breath fire. Lanterns scattered through the trees above the stage, lasers shows and wild dancing with the added heavy petting . Last year Tame Impala showed everyone their success is backed up by one of the best live shows there is to offer. Transforming their two albums into a seamless mix that crossed from psych rock to reggae to hip hop, it stops, then picks up from where they left you twenty minutes ago.
Meredith also offers punters to party till the early hours of the morning, bringing in DJ godfathers from around the world. Last year Four Tet spun our minds around and around and around, moving in and out of the same beat leaving you wondering where the last hour went. This year brings the pioneer of techno Derrick May who is sure to put a face to some of the most influential dance songs from your early years.
You wake up on the final Sunday to the sounds of the fezzy creeping into its chilled final. You walk down and grab a B&E roll lay down on the grassy knoll and watch the afternoon acts lull you into a false sense of security. As the hangover starts to kick in and just before you have to go back to camp and take care of your mess, the traditional nudie race reminds you of some the embarrassing moments you may or may not have done over that past two days.
This year brings soul & disco legends Chic, rock gods Brian Jonestown Masacare, brooklyn's youngest and finest Joey Bada$$, the prince of indie pop Mac Demarco & english producer Jon Hopkins to name a few. If you were lucky enough to get tickets, Meredith is this Friday the 13th!