Reviewed on Friday December 9 – Saturday December 10 (photo by Benjamin Hunt)
Ah, FOTSUN. Port Macquarie’s beloved BYO music festival where you’re urged to “pop a tit or nut” as you pass campers, and where rules and shoes are hard to come by (costumes are not). Spirits are always high, and there’s a decent selection across two days of local bands and artists generally kicking goals.
With the sand-covered dancefloor primed and ready, The Lulu Raes got FOTSUNners moving with their sunny tracks and boozy banter early on Friday – the sight of a confident Eddie Burton strutting across stage and skolling a beer from the crowd was one to put a smile on faces, if their tunes hadn’t already.
L-Fresh The Lion, alongside his stellar MC Mirrah, kept up the energy, with ‘1 In 100,000’ and a downtempo ‘Get Mine’ from this year’s album Become proving crowd-pleasers before Middle Kids delivered to a solid audience on the teeny side stage with a rapturous ‘Edge Of Town’.
Montaigne gave arguably the most arresting performance of the weekend in her own fashion. All she needed to do was stand idly in front of the mic, busting her pipes to grab everyone’s attention – as she did when she first started – but with jolts of energetic conviction and twitches of limbs, the singer showcased her performance skills with lipstick smeared across her chin for ‘In The Dark’.
Each coming off fresh buzz overseas, Tash Sultana and Gang Of Youths headed up the tail end of day one. Despite sound issues for Sultana, the grassroots and DIY favourite persevered, maintaining her groove and bass face throughout her set. She also managed to convince her dad to get onstage to prove he can do the splits – a cameo she said was a long time coming.
The last Australian stage they graced was in the Splendour In The Grass amphitheatre but Gang Of Youths certainly didn’t wither their efforts for a significantly smaller crowd at FOTSUN. The one unusual feature during another A+ performance was an actual festival encore, with ‘Radioface’ lapped up by the crowd.
The booze continued flowing as Saturday afternoon kicked into gear, with Luca Brasi, Boo Seeka and Dune Rats each pulling out popular covers. With shoeys going down on shoulders, tinnies and thongs flying everywhere and packets of gravy mix being thrown onstage, Luca Brasi’s cover of Paul Kelly’s ‘How To Make Gravy’ was as much a crowd favourite as ‘Aeroplane’ and ‘Anything Near Conviction’.
Meanwhile, on the side stage, Good Boy, Dumb Punts and The Creases each served up grooves with their own distinct flavours, and if their sets are anything to go by, they should be gracing plenty more festivals across the country ASAP.
Bursting onstage with ‘Death To The Lads’, The Smith Street Band gave the fans what they wanted from the start as the sun started to set and Seth Sentry closed the weekend.
Musically, lyrically, in attitude and setting, FOTSUN’s decidedly Aussie tinge proudly rounded out another weekend in Port Macquarie with a solid sense of community that would be difficult to find at a festival anywhere else. Until next year, eh?