Splendour in the Grass 2023 was an absolute blast! Ngarindjin / North Byron Parklands lit up with sunshine, good vibes, and rainbows as music lovers celebrated the festival’s 21st birthday edition over the weekend. And let me tell you, it was three days packed with music, art, discussions, science, food, and culture – you name it, they had it!
The lineup was stellar, with big names like Lizzo, Flume, Mumford & Sons, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Hilltop Hoods, J Balvin, and many more taking the stage. Each day, a whopping 40,000 people grooved to their beats across the festival’s main stages – The Amphitheatre, Mix Up Stage, and GW McLennan Tent – along with other cool spots like The Forest, Global Village, Rainbow Bar, Casamigos Tequila Oasis, The Smirnoff Seltzer Springs and more.
Those seeking the true festival experience, around 15,000 punters made the campgrounds their home from Wednesday onwards. Organisers implemented a wave of new measure like timed entry tickets, to make the admission process smoother for campers and put on more busses, all designed to ensure a hassle-free entry and exit with the bus services an day parking, after some issues last year.
The party started on Thursday evening when the festival grounds opened up. People flocked to check out the diverse range of food and market stalls, while Beddy Rays drew an enthusiastic crowd to Byron Bay Brewery, and Keli Holiday aka Adam Hyde of Peking Dun took to the decks at Casamigos Tequila Oasis for a suprise performance.
Friday saw some touching moments when Skegss played their final set with original member Toby Cregan, who joined the crowd for the last song. Dune Rats’ Brett Jansch filled in on the guitar, making it a heartwarming moment. Meanwhile, the Mix Up stage witnessed the magic of cutting-edge acts like Loyle Carner and Hooligan Hefs, while Jack River brought Australia’s sweetheart Tony Armstrong to the stage for a special singalong at GW McLennan. Ocean Alley and Meg Mac paid a beautiful tribute to Lewis Capaldi with a cover of his song “Someone You Loved.” ?And let’s not forget Sudan Archives, whose energetic set had the crowd in awe with her disco-influenced RnB and signature violin. The first Latin music headliner, J Balvin, also rocked the Amphitheatre with an incredible performance, before the queen of good vibes, Lizzo, stole everyone’s hearts with her message of self-love.
Saturday was all about special guests, with Meg Mac inviting Budjerah on stage for a memorable performance of his new track. Jeremy Zucker and Benee also teamed up for a live rendition of their song “I’m So Happy,” while Mallrat joined Benee for “Do It Again,” the official song of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Amphitheatre came alive with Sam Fender’s roaring set, complete with a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark.” Over at The Forum, Pussy Riot founder Nadya Tolokonnikova’s discussion with Hamish MacDonald shed light on her incredible story, followed by their standout performance at GW McLennan. Marlon Williams weaved his enchanting spell, and Flume delivered an electrifying set with epic guest appearances from Kucka, Vera Blue, May-A, Tkay Maidza, and Tove Lo.
Sunday’s lineup was equally thrilling, with emerging Australian acts like Full Flower Moon Band, Forest Claudette, and local Unearthed winner Gimmy starting the day with a bang. The boundary-pushing performance of K-pop group Balming Tiger at the Amphitheatre left everyone buzzing, while Royel Otis proved why they are one of the hottest up-and-coming acts in the country. Dune Rats rocked the stage, joined by rock’n’roll royalty The Angels, Ruby Fields, and TOTTY for an iconic rendition of the Aussie classic “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again?” Tove Lo brought her fierce feminine energy, followed by a heartwarming crowd singalong to Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own.” UK rockers IDLES closed out the festival with their rowdy and rambunctious set. And let’s not forget the Splendour favourites Hilltop Hoods, who were joined by special guests JK-47, Jess B, and Z Pluto, before PNAU brought the energy and Mumford & Sons delivered a sentiment-filled folk-rock anthem singalong to close out the 21st edition of Splendour in the Grass.
Co-founders Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco were over the moon with the fantastic weekend. They extended their heartfelt thanks to all the Splendour patrons for their continuous support, whether they were loyal returnees or first-timers in 2023. The festival was a beautiful event, with everyone looking out for each other, exploring, and discovering new experiences. The love was real, and they can’t wait to see everyone again next year!
All in all, Splendour 2023 was an epic celebration of music, culture and good times. With such a fantastic lineup and a sea of smiling faces, it’s no wonder the festival continues to be a favourite with Aussie music fans. Until next time, keep the good vibes rolling!