Groovin The Moo Festival Maitland

with Kaiser Chiefs, Digitalism, Bluejuice, Public Enemy, City and Colour, Ball Park Music, Mutemath, The Maccabees, Matt Corby, San Cisco

The Groovin' The Moo Festival is Australia's biggest and best touring regional music festival, and has been so for just over 7 years. Each year boasts a bigger and better lineup of musicians from home and abroad, and 2012 proved its biggest yet including a great selection of international artists such UK rock icons Kaiser Chiefs, German electro wonders Digitalism and one of the pioneering hip-hop acts of our lifetime Public Enemy all travelling to Australia to tour through regional centres across the nation.


The NSW leg of the tour has found its home in the town of Maitland, just an hour out of Newcastle, for the past 6 years of the Groovin' The Moo festival and has sold out of tickets to the capacity of 15000 patrons consistently and the 7th time around, this was no different. Locals are infatuated with the yearly event and even Sydney dwellers find their way to Maitland each year. Its reputation has exponentially built and the success is shown through the product on the day, with fantastic organisation, great live acts and an abundance of safe sex initiatives, Groovin The Moo was certainly hard to fault this year, as with most years previous.


Bright indie-popsters San Cisco was the first of the touring acts to hit the main stage, with a fairly substantial crowd turning out considering the early timeslot. The Fremantle four-piece played through their set almost robotically, with an energy somewhat lacking from most performances of the day, which frontman Jordi Davieson blamed on their "45 minute sleep" from the night previous. Despite their lack of involvement, it was evident what the crowd was there to see, as when the opening chords of their #7 Hottest 100 ranked track ‘ Awkward' were played, the crowd frenzied in excitement to be able to sing their favourite "doo doo" based chorus.


Following San Cisco on the Channel [V] stage was yet another Hottest 100 success story Matt Corby, who was the resident dreamy musician of the day. Corby pulled a huge crowd of screaming girls and jealous fellas who were hysterical even before his appearance on stage. Corby put on a great show, whose brooding looks and beautiful live vocal ability made even more connections between himself and the late Jeff Buckley. Certainly one of the early highlights of the day, Corby's #3 ranked ‘ Brother' was known and sung by nearly every patron there.


Making their debut tour of Australia, British indie group The Maccabees and New Orleans based blues-rock group Mutemath were wildcards for the festival lineup this year and were certainly a gamble worth taking by the promoters. The Maccabees were a refreshing and invigorating live act, with a surprisingly fun and exciting style of indie rock whilst over in the ‘Moolin Rouge' dance tent, Mutemath showed why they deserved to be here, putting on perhaps the set of the day. From frontman Paul Meany surfing the crowd on a mattress, to drummer Darren King taping his headphones to his head, Mutemath's set was chock full of energy, excitement and unexpected twists and turns. As far as live bands go, these guys ticked every box and considering its their first time in Australia, it can surely be said that they will be back soon.


Over the past 12 months, Brisbane sextet Ball Park Music have risen so far up the ranks, even they themselves are surprised. From tiny clubs, to side stages at small festivals, to supporting bands on national tours, Ball Park Music have finally hit a prime time slot on the main stage of a national festival, even though they are the replacement for Chiddy Bang, who pulled out of the festival for promotional reasons, its still quite a great feat for the once Unearthed act. The crowd was 100% behind the band from the very beginning until they very end, as they pulled off one of the most entertaining sets of their career. Complete with a champion light show and surprise entrances, Ball Park's signature fun-packed performance provided a perfect festival act and evidently enjoyed themselves in the process.


Following on from the excitement of Ball Park Music, was seasoned performer Dallas Green under his moniker City and Colour. His mellow and warming performance was very well suited to the twilight timeslot he was allocated. There are no doubts that City and Colour are an incredible live act, and this set certainly didn't deny this, however the performance was cut 15 minutes short for an unknown reason and the crowd unfortunately were left somewhat disappointed.


Groovin' The Moo is especially renowned for the variety of acts presented on the lineups each year, but there does seem to be a common thread of artists chosen, with most audiences being catered for. The vintage hip-hop fans were given a fantastic gift in Public Enemy's appearance at the festival this year, as they brought the noise and kept it going for their whole set and then some. Frontmen Chuck D and Flavor Flav were celebrating 25 years together and their experience showed as they worked the crowd and pulled every string that makes a crowd enjoy themselves.


Another act who is renowned for their audience engagement, Australia's festival favourites Bluejuice. It was an almost guarantee that they would put on an amazing show and yet again, they lived up to and exceeded the expectations of everyone. Frontman Jake Stone and Stav Yiannoukas led the crowd with such ease and excitement, as they played through a greatest party hits setlist that never manages to disappoint.


The unfortunate, yet somewhat predictable clash of the two stages at the end (along with the freezing cold conditions), led to a somewhat disappointing crowd turnout for the UK's finest Kaiser Chiefs, who were undeniably the ‘biggest' international act of the day, but this was irrelevant for the Leeds 5-piece who are in the country promoting their singles collection Souvenir. This being the case, it allowed for the audience to enjoy a set full of the best hits of Kaiser Chiefs' career including ‘ Everyday I Love You Less and Less,' ‘ Never Miss A Beat,' and ‘ Ruby.' The band never let the crowd down and even managed to perform whilst riding the Slingshot ride at the festival proving that they were more than worthy of headlining this incredible festival.


Sure, Groovin The Moo doesn't pull a lineup of equivalent to the likes of Splendour in the Grass or Big Day Out, but each act that they pull are all amazing performers and left the audience wanting more. This festival was fun, exciting and incredibly well organised, all under the ticket price of $100, definitely the best value for money festival in the country. In its 8th year, Groovin The Moo has proven that the recent festival slump in the cities has had no effect and in fact has made them come out stronger than ever, which indicates that this festival is here to stay for many years to come and if they continue to be as good as it was this year, here's hoping.

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