Beat The Drum (So We Can Hear, Please)

Words by Anthea Hansen

Triple J celebrated it’s 40 year anniversary with Beat The Drum, a day-long celebration of both upcoming and timely adored Australian music. The crossover of new and old acts was astonishingly refreshing.

An array of genres from rock to dance to hip hop were on display, showing off the acts that music lovers Australia-wide have tuned in to hear over the past four decades. The diversity in age and style of festival goers was expected, but the whole crowd – less rowdy than your usual festival ‘moshers’ – were collectively peeved that the lines for alcohol were, for some, a wait that stretched more than an hour. There really is nothing like an odd 25 000 people being brought together out of the sheer anger of having to wait so long for a drink!

The sound sparked even greater outrage, with some people not being able to hear many of the main acts. Complaints and anger were flying around profusely on social media networks, while some people genuinely felt that the $90 they spent was not worth the long lines and poorly structured layout of speakers and volume.

Nevertheless, the the anger eased off, the music took flight and the night sky appeared, along with the flashy get-ups, lights and lasers. Punters quickly forgot what all the fuss was about and came together with a collective love of the music.

Some of it was great, including the many surprise artist collaborations and guest musos on stage. Daniel Johns’ cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit caused a stir, but Bernard Fanning, Tom Iansek and Vance Joy’s fantastic rendition of Reckless by Australian Crawl definitely didn’t generate enough attention.


The Presets were the second last headliner, and as always, brought a huge energy and liveliness to the crowd. Their epic 2008 classic My People was a massive crowd-pleaser, leaving the entire audience singing and dancing along, forgetting any of their earlier frustrations.


Beat the Drum was a strictly Australian event, and a vibrant celebration of the great music of the past four decades; veterans of days past came together with rising and upcoming artists alike to put on an excellent event, showing off the idea and legacy that Triple J has left in Australian music.