Just as the long-hairs were preparing for the arrival of AC/DC in Sydney, party-goers of a more funky persuasion were leaving the city behind to spend 4 days at Del Rio Resort in Wisemans Ferry, where Playground Weekender took place for the 4th time over the weekend.
Getting there – anyone that went last year will remember the nightmare that was waiting in the ferry queue for hours in 40 degree heat. This year there were more ferries on and the whole process was a comparatively beautiful experience.
The Carnivale area – one of the best spots for watching all the crazies filter past. I hope the chair people from Thursday night came back to Earth at some point.
The Melody Wine Bar – new for this year and a great place to finish the night. As it was nicely tucked away at the back of the same field as the main stage it was a perfect alternative if you found the Big Top a touch on the hectic side.
The police/ security team – their presence was noticeable but not intrusive, and they behaved like they were there to make sure festival-goers were safe, rather than looking to catch people out. Small things like barrier staff at the main stage wearing Indian head dresses make all the difference.
ManChoir – 8 blokes in wife-beaters singing (near) cover versions of Bon Jovi songs, Queen songs, and even the Home & Away theme tune (which they introduced as the Australian National Anthem). Much funnier and more entertaining than it sounds.
Orbital – still one of the best festival bands around. Unbelievable. And to the girl who gave me torches to clip to my glasses as they started, I will love you forever.
Fancy dress – I salute everyone that put in so much effort. From the couple in tailored green shopping bag suits to the guy in the ball dress/ gimp mask combo, the Muppets, the Stormtroopers and the Hitcher from the Mighty Boosh, congratulations for helping make the Saturday so special.
The weather – couldn’t have been better. Whoever organised it is a genius.
The can fairies – offering 20/ 50c for every Tiger can returned to the recycling bins was a brilliant idea and a win-win-win. The army of can fairies that sprang up got enough free drinks to see them through the evening, made the festival a cleaner place for everyone and relieved pressure on the official cleaners.
The swimming pool – this qualifies a high and a low. Perfect area to be in during the day, and we are so lucky to have it at a music festival, but why do people need to shit in it? Not cool.
Pricey drinks – it makes it very hard to obey the rules and not sneak booze in when the going price for a small can of Tiger is $8. And a vodka & red bull for $12? Ouch.
Running out of cider – surely Festival organisers know by now that cider will be the drink of choice on a hot day. It was obvious, however, that the staff were working over time to bring more in. Maybe a Glastonbury-style cider bus would be a good idea.
The (Death Metal) Filth stage – great idea on paper, and a potentially great way of broadening the appeal of the Festival, but it just wasn’t that popular. A lot of the bands on there seemed pretty good, it just seemed that not many people were interested.
The comedy at the Shack – again, a good concept, but one that just didn’t fly with the punters. Tough gig though, I wouldn’t get up and tell jokes to a bunch of snarky pissheads who think they are funnier than the guy on stage.
Fancy dress – poor (= no) effort on my part. I will get involved in 2011 for sure. No excuses next time.
Playground Weekender is one of the few Festivals where you can have a great time no matter what the line-up. The music is important, but in no way essential. It has fully deserved the awards it has won for Best Crowd and Best Atmosphere, and will no doubt go on to win again. 2011 can’t come soon enough.