OutsideIn Festival is Sydney’s best event. Hands down.

Written with Michael Sun

Now in its fourth year running, boutique electronic & hip hop festival OutsideIn took over Sydney University’s Manning House last weekend. For those who’ve never been, we really, really, really recommend that you attend the 2016 event. Consistently our favourite day festival in Sydney, the best part about it is that it only gets better every year. The day couldn’t be marred by a thing – late headliner cancellations, terrible weather, nothing.

Over the course of nine hours, we witnessed Manning House transformed from a dreary uni food court, to a one-of-a-kind musical haven. There’s nothing quite like OutsideIn. 

The afternoon started with the always spectacular UV boi – in classic Auscore attire featuring a red Vodafone cap. Not even the drizzle could stop a solid crowd from forming, dancing to his Vaporwave and trap-inspired reduxes of hits like Banks’ Begging for Thread and a Tkay Maidza’s M.O.B. But perhaps the real kicker of the set was final single LUV, heralded by trumpet fanfares and a purple-suited guy shouting “FEEL THE LOVE” to whoever would listen, and replete with melodic iPhone notification tones, underscoring the modern irony that UV boi has become such a hallmark of.

Moving to the main stage, the next highlight – and one of our favourites of the whole day – was Total Giovanni. The weather outside may have been a tad chilly, but the indoor stage heaved with sweat, smiles, and the sweet 70s-inspired sounds of Can’t Control My Love and Human Animal. In the dim red light of the main stage, we were entranced by the band’s thoroughly enjoyable schtick, grooving on stage in platinum blonde wigs and shimmery dresses. There was something Mighty Boosh-level surreal about seeing four grown men perform such a brilliantly throbbing set in these outrageous costumes. It was bliss.

Catching the seductive rhythms of Pomo, GL, and Charles Murdoch, the tone of the OutsideIn’s daylight hours was set by their sweet electronic beats – the perfect complement to the chilly rain, sporadically showering down upon the heaving crowds. Devin The Dude changed it up with his green-tinged hip hop. The rapper, in his first ever visit to Australia, looked like he was having the time of his life up on the main stage, and the the crowd lapped up every moment, with hands up in the air, huge cheers, and an immediate cloud of weed smoke.

Our favourite act of the day, hands down, was Stormzy. For those who aren’t too sure about the whole UK grime thing, we can safely assure you that it’s no gimmick. Stormzy blasted the stage with infectious passion and a loud, proud attitude that had the entire crowd immediately swept up. The South London rapper brought it down, inciting a massive mosh pit and the sweatiest dance-floor of the day. It’s hard to explain the energy we felt in the crowd – outside the plastic walls, the rain was pouring down and the wind was getting nasty, but within those walls, the atmosphere was incredible.

The final headlining act was hip hop legend Big K.R.I.T., whose hard-hitting sound was the perfect way to cap off the event. Running through classics, from Cadillactica to I’m On 2.0 and Yoko, it was wild and energetic, but to be completely honest, it just felt a little flat. I’m almost certain this is entirely due to the intensity of Stormzy’s set, which came immediately beforehand. Nevertheless, it was a solid way to end a brilliant OutsideIn – a day that we won’t forget for a long time.