Sunday, 15 December 2019

Boots and beats at Meredith as Gallagher, like the festival, wows the crowd

MEREDITH MUSIC FESTIVAL
Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre,
December 13-15

Meredith's 2019 edition brought all the cheek and cheer that the three-day music festival has become known for in its 29 years.

The welcome to country on Friday afternoon reduced some to tears, and Indigenous rapper Briggs was the first artist to captivate the crowd on Friday evening.

That the Shepparton rapper transitioned directly into British rocker Liam Gallagher's set epitomised the variety on offer.

Liam Gallagher brought the crowd together with ‘Wonderwall’.Credit:Rick Clifford

Gallagher endured a headline-grabbing week in which he was forced to end his show in Melbourne early, but the former Oasis frontman man avoided controversy during his hour-long set.

Those pondering whether he would play some of his old stuff

were not disappointed.

"I used to be in a band called Oasis. Is it all right if I play some of those tunes?" he said, before launching into Wonderwall.

Saturday began with the City of Ballarat Municipal Brass Band, honking its way through the Supernatural Ampitheatre onto the one stage from 10am. Revellers responded by mimicking ballroom dancing and forming a dance circle as a man with a trumpet played The Hokey Pokey.

Despite increasing talk of pill testing and an incident at Wild Horses festival in regional Victoria last week where one in four cars was found to be carrying drugs, police presence, like other years, was non-intrusive at the farm about 95 kilometres west of Melbourne.

Electrifying: Amyl & The Sniffers on stage at Meredith.Credit:Rick Clifford

On both evenings hundreds of partygoers came together at Sunset Boulevard, with views across the nearby wind farm.

Overcast, cold conditions – light rain fell on Friday night – stifled the sunsets, but that disappointment was compensated for in party cheer, with about 100 people raising their boots and singing Simple Minds' Don't You (Forget About Me) on Friday.

Boot raising signifies one's favourite song at the festival, and the highest number were in evidence during German artist DJ Koze on Saturday afternoon.

After being parachuted into the festival as a last-minute replacement, Koze ended on his popularOperator, to hundreds of boots in their. The song subsequently became the unofficial anthem of this year, constantly heard at camp sites across the festival.

Swedish group Viagra Boys, whose front man Sebastian Murphy has a name as un-Swedish as he looks – he is covered in tattoos and has short brown hair – took the Supernatural Ampitheatre into the evening on Saturday with high energy and bluster.

Melbourne pub rock band Amyl and the Sniffers did the same, before Roisin Murphy's set came packed with raw emotion, the Irish singer-songwriter at one point rolling on the ground of the stage as she sang.

Roisin Murphy lit up the crowd. Credit:Rick Clifford

Meredith warned punters before the festival that they would only be allowed to bring signs, or "doof sticks", as large as a cauliflower. The response of several groups was, of course, to bring sticks with a single cauliflower strapped to the top.

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