The 2019 Fairgrounds Festival was a welcome respite for locals and music lovers alike, after weeks of bushfires and drought across rural NSW. A genuine all ages affair, it continues to offer an eclectic mix of old and new acts across 2 stages over 2 days with lots of activities for the little one.
A check in with fellow festival goers and everyone is in furious agreement about Friday’s highlights. Brissy artist Hatchie gets a mention with her delicious shoe gaze sound proving a real crowd pleaser. Emerging Sydney band ‘100’ caught everyone’s attention. Self described as a post punk quartet, their sound is beautifully 90s and tight. They’re obviously doing something right with their next gig supporting Barnsy’s The Barking Spiders. Festy favourites The Pinheads hit the stage hard, with everyone soaking up their sound and energy and Dope Lemon finishing off a stellar first night, caressing the crowd with that trademark relaxo, beachy sound that Angus Stone does so well.
Day 2 and my sights are set on catching Adam Gibson and the Aerial Maps. I saw them here last year and enjoyed their musical storytelling style and of course, seeing Pete Fenton and Allanah Russack on stage. The set was amusing and whimsical finishing off with crowd fave ‘I’m so bored in Westfield’. Yup we all know that feeling.
At the main stage I catch 90s band The Lemonheads. Last year it was The Breeders who brought the indy nostalgia and I can’t help but feel the promoters hit the mark again. Dando played a faultless set keeping the crowd happy with a mix of faves from the album ‘It’s a shame about Ray’ as well as newer pieces with a strong alt country edge. Eyebrows were raised about his stage outfit, but hey that’s rock n roll right?
Back at the windmill stage I catch Lenka. I was curious to see her as I’m a big fan of her former band Decoder Ring. Word had obviously got around and it was jam packed. It was a solid performance complete with strong vocals, beautiful harmonies and a big sound for a small band.
A big audience gathered to catch the queen of country, Kasey Chambers perform the Captain album. The last gig of their tour, it was a deeply personal set with Kasey sharing lots of stories with the crowd. Switching from the old to the new, all the cool kids in the know magically appeared to watch the ridiculously talented Julia Jacklin and her band perform their set. Renowned for her big vocals and haunting lyrics, this band lightly touches between indie pop and alt country.
Switching up the tempo, Glasgow artist Gerry Cinnamon got the crowd singing and dancing with his blisteringly fast paced, toe tapping indie folk set. The UK contingent went nuts, flying Scottish flags and singing along. Perennial crowd pleaser Meg Mac, maintained the vibe drawing people out of the shady areas and eateries down to the main stage. Out of curiosity I checked out wildcard act Electric Ginger. Dressed as Evil Knevel, it was light hearted fun complete with dad disco moves, singing and a good dose of humour. A fun touch for the kids.
Depending on whether you like or hate Liam Gallagher, for some the DMA’s were the undisputable headline act of the night and there was no point hanging around. There’s a reason why people love this band and keep coming back for more. The sound is achingly perfect and the musicianship is next level. Having achieved critically acclaimed success overseas, it was a pleasure to see them perform in a smaller setting and watch the crowd wrap itself around them. For any other band, they would be an impossible act to follow but Liam Gallagher did his best, bringing his irreverent potty mouth, bad boy swagger to the stage and the crowd loved it. Yep he still has it and delivered a perfect mixed set of his own stuff and Oasis backlog including Wonderwall, Morning Glory, Champagne Super Nova and Roll with It to name a few.
Thanks Fairgrounds it was a cracker of a festival, looking forward to 2020 already.
Review by Cathi Margherita
Photos by Peter Dovgan