Reviewed on Saturday March 15
What happens when you take Splendour, kidnap the local artists, order a few dozen bales of hay and transplant the whole lot to the Central Coast?
You get the inaugural Mountain Sounds Festival; an event with a heavy emphasis on localism, sustainability and a relaxed attitude towards footwear. Boasting an all-Australian lineup, the crowd was exactly what you’d expect – a sea of Hunter S. Thompson impersonators (but with longer, bleached blonde hair) interspersed with floppy felt hats and nose rings.
Central Coast natives Sea Legs kicked things off on the main stage to a small but dedicated crowd. Thieves’ folky rock had festivalgoers swaying over an early cider in the sun. The Club Mod ‘stage’ (read: black truck with neon graffiti) provided a place for those just needing to ride on some good vibes for a while. Convulsing dancers looked tribal, but didn’t care at all. Floral wreaths provided by Octopus’ Garden adorned many a long-haired head, adding to the #freespirit mood.
At about 3pm, the inevitable hay fighting began at World’s End Press. It was a testament to the band’s infectious energy that a bale was destroyed and thrown high into the sky – itchy arse cracks and allergies be damned. Other highlights included Snakadaktal, who would announce their split soon after the festival, and The Holidays, who killed it with funky ‘Morning Workout’ and frontman Simon Jones’ best Thom Yorke moves.
When night fell, things started getting rowdy. Dark clouds looked to be moving in quickly as Jinja Safari took the main stage. If these boys do one thing, it is deliver a fun show – and this one was no exception. After jumping around like madmen for the better part of an hour to a good selection of old (‘Peter Pan,’ ‘Forest Eyes’) and new (‘Mombassa On The Line’), ‘Pepa’ Knight threw his sitar case into the crowd before diving in and shakily standing on top of it. If a band embodies the ‘jungle’ spirit of Mountain Sounds, it’s them.
The storm clouds passed right by (presumably thanks to a pagan rain dance to the Festival gods going on over at Club Mod). Sticky Fingers, dressed like Sublime, went hard on reggae and Aussie rock, a festival highlight being ‘Gold Snafu’. Ball Park Music closed with a predictably fun and inoffensive set that had everyone jumping, wrapping Mountain Sounds up in a nice, indie, metaphorical package.