BY Sam King

Over the weekend, I was able to attend Yours and Owls Festival at Wollongong. Believe it or not, it was my first ever music festival. But now that I’m a hardened music festival veteran, I thought I’d pass on a bit of wisdom.

The secret to doing festivals on a shoestring budget.

The number one tip I can give for how to make music festivals affordable is for Blitz (or anyone else, really) to give you a free ticket. Festival tickets are expensive, y’know? But for real, food and drinks are super overpriced at festivals. I brought a backpack for my water bottle, which was super handy, but also really annoying to carry in the middle of a moshpit. My best advice is to find some sort of hat that you can store water and snacks in.

The Jungle Giants can seriously do no wrong.

Even when the lead singer and guitarist left the stage to grab a beer during ‘In The Garage’, The Jungle Giants were incredible. A mixture of songs from their latest album and some classics from their early days, every song they played was somehow on a higher level than the one before it. Incredibly entertaining, dazzlingly talented, The Jungle Giants’ set was absolutely unmissable.

Alex the Astronaut is too wholesome and we don’t deserve her.

Standing in front of Alex as she squinted in the afternoon sun, alone with a guitar, was one of the best moments of the weekend. While other bands had massive light shows, all Alex the Astronaut needed were her beautiful songs and, eventually, a pair of sunnies she borrowed from someone in the crowd. In between each of the songs, she told little anecdotes about the songs, and created a sense of camaraderie between all of us as we sang back to her. It was just really nice, ok?

Being at the very front of a concert is good. Being at the very front of a Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever show is very good.

These guys are incredible musicians, with three guitarists all swapping lead vocal duties. After all the time they’ve spent in the US, they’re still very Australian. Great fun to watch, 10 out of 10, my ears are still kind of ringing.

People throwing rubbish into the crowd.

What’s that about? Apparently it’s common practice to chuck your can at the people in front of you once you’re finished with it. Those things hurt. Definitely a dick move.

Hockey Dad are a big deal now.

I remember seeing Hockey Dad thrash out a quick set as the first opener for The Jungle Giants a few years ago. The lights had been left on, and it felt like these guys were busking, just jamming and throwing their long hair around everywhere. Now, in what feels like no time at all, the duo have two massive albums under their belts. It felt like every second person I saw at the festival was wearing Hockey Dad merch, and their Sunday afternoon show had one of the biggest crowds all weekend. But still, they carry that same wild energy into massive shows as if they’re playing in their garage.

Angus Stone is the human embodiment of Byron Bay.

He walked on stage in a shabby suit, hair and beard matted, with a wine glass in his hand. Even though it was eight o’clock at night, dude wore a big felt hat, because he’s Angus Stone and he does what he wants. Angus and Julia are basically Australian music royalty at this point, so it’s no surprise their gig was outstanding. They threw in a cover of Dope Lemon’s Uptown Folks (Angus’ solo project), which was made a hundred times better by the addition of Julia’s stunning voice. And I thought that, having flown Virgin Australia a few times, I never wanted to hear ‘Big Jet Plane’ again. But seeing it live, with the lights from a thousand phones sparkling in the air, was nothing short of magical.

Image Credit Yours & Owls Festival

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