Gather, my fellow over-planners – let’s converse. Field Day – long forgotten. The Hottest 100? Lukewarm leftovers on the counter. Laneway? More like Lame-way.* It’s time to focus on what’s ahead – Splendour in the Grass.
Isn’t it a little early you say? After all, the dates just came out (if you missed it, the last weekend of July, at its rightful home, North Byron Parklands). There isn’t so much as murmur about who the lineup might be, and the weather bureau is months from being able to make a call about whether you’ll need your gumboots (and if it rains, I’m telling you, you do).
But the time is now, my friends, to start over-planning the shiz out of Splendour. Because by the time tickets ARE on sale, you’ll be sitting pretty, smug in the knowledge that your epic 4 day weekend is all set to go.
Who am I to tell you how to plan for Splendour? Well – aside from my own experience from the past two years (more to come on that later), I’m an over-planner to the extreme. I blame it on my Dad, who used to make us show up over 4 hours early for any international flight “in case of traffic” (I still get anxiety when I am not checked in over an hour before the flight).
So let me share with you a few ideas.
*admittedly Laneway will be really cool, so you should definitely still hit that up. Also, I tested the “Lame-way” joke on my friend at work and he gave it 10/10, so that’s why it’s in here.
1. Decide how you’re going to get there. Decide on the day you’ll head up (the Thursday or the Friday morning?) and pick a transport option. The drive is always fun (it’s about 10 hours from Sydney) and if you and your homies want to try out a few days in a camper, it’s a perfect time to book it (leave it too long and you’ll probably end up with a Wicked campervan with the word “fuck” emblazoned over the back of it.) But if you’ve got spare Frequent Flyer points lying around, I reckon a $45 flight each way (Sydney to Byron – Jetstar have a sale on right now) is hard to beat. Plus, the likelihood of picking up a hot festival go-er sitting across from you in the exit row is a lot higher (did I mention Splendour 2014 was a great year?).
2. Book your accommodation. I’ve camped one year and gotten a house the other, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that camping is the way to go. If you’re considering the camping route, there are many options, including DIY, camper vans and TentCity (they set it all up for you). You’re right in the thick of it and although sleeping can be a bit of a pain (bring earplugs), it’s great being able to duck back to the tent throughout the day and NOT have to do the daily shuttle in and out of Byron. Thinking you want a house? Start looking now and dear God, get a house close to the shuttle, or you will almost certainly end up paying a toothless man $30 to drive you home at 1am because there are only 3 cabs in Byron.
3. Get your crew together. Festivals are about sharing good tunes with good company. Start getting your peeps sorted now, because it will take them a full month of fussing about, booking leave, and generally being fence-sitters until they commit. Make sure you think outside the box too – don’t just invite your hipster gig-going friends, but think about people who might not’ve ventured to Splendour on their own accord. Last year my friend Richard came along, who didn’t know a single act on the lineup, and spent 3 weeks responding to people’s questions of “who are you looking forward to seeing?!” with “The Foals” (word to the wise, Richard had never heard of Foals in his life). Needless to say he had a brilliant time (and did indeed enjoy Foals). Alternatively, be brave and consider heading up on your own.
4. Get social. You’ve got 6 months until this shit goes down, and that’s plenty of time to engage in the online social community of Splendour before you even arrive in sunny Byron. Start by liking the Facebook page and enthusiastically tagging your friends in various announcements (“OMG guys, here we go again!”). Start engaging in speculations about the lineup (hell – start some rumours of your own). Follow music and festival blogs. Share thoughts on the lineup when it’s announced. React with dismay when bands inevitably pull out (the crap that went down when London Grammar pulled out and The Presets stepped in was ridiculous).
5. Embrace some epic tunes. Planning for a 4-day festival like Splendour is a great opportunity to (re)embrace music. Once the lineup is out, immerse yourself in some new sounds or revisit some old ones (who TBTd to Outkast last year?). Play the Spotify lists and start pencilling out your favourites. Think about checking out something different from your usual fare (for me it was psy-trance in the Tipi Forest). You’ve got a few months to really test out your faves, and who knows, you might end up going to some unexpectedly awesome sets.
6. Figure out your festival fashion. Byron in Winter ends up being a weird mash – part Summer in the day, and part Winter at night. Now’s a pretty good time to sort your Summer gear, but I’d say it’s even better to get your Winter gear sorted soon – get a good, lightweight jacket, a handful of ponchos, and of course, some gumboots (if you want your friends to pay you out, buy Hunters from The Iconic – otherwise Bunnings can sort you on the cheap). Of course, invest HEAVILY in the obligatory glow-stick bangles, John Lennon sunglasses and those metallic, fake tattoo things that every chick was wearing at Field Day. These all tend to sell out about a month before Splendour.
7. Calm the fuck down. OK – admittedly this is an over-planner’s guide to Splendour. But relax, you’ve got time (we are probably looking at tickets coming out in May) – and to be fair, you may want to wait until you’ve got tickets in your grubby little hands before you book things willy-nilly. But hey, I say go for it. Take a gamble that the lineup – and weather – will be awesome, and just book it in. Trust me, it will be awesome.
Hope to see you there.