Reviewed on Saturday February 21
In only its second year of running, Mountain Sounds Festival proved itself to be a formidable summer festival contender, featuring exclusively Australian acts in a farm-like setting.
The day started off nice and easy to the pleasant folk tunes of acts like Daniel Lee Kendall and Winterbourne. These first few hours were precious calm moments before more crowds arrived and the energy started to amp up a notch. L D R U led the charge, lighting up the Nuvo Dance tent with intense beats for an afternoon party, and capping his set off by downing a triumphant shot out of a shoe. One of the most innovative touches in the electronic sets were the visuals onstage, like The Kite String Tangle’s enchanting light display that accentuated his soothing vocals. However, the sets that stood out most really showed off the producers’ musicality – for instance, Touch Sensitive’s thrumming live bass provided his chilled sound with depth and danceability, while Kilter proved his worth with impressive percussion skills and a smooth jazz guitarist.
The variety at this festival was certainly one of its strengths, as throughout the day there were uplifting moments that contrasted with the intense dance vibe provided by producers. The Griswolds made for very happy listening with impressive harmonies and bouncy indie rock beats, while Tkay Maidza performed a joyful hip hop set that made her stand out as one act to watch over the next few years.
The introduction of camping to the festival this year meant the good vibes could continue around the grounds until late with the standard deep and meaningful exchanges, and of course, a fairy-light-adorned silent disco.
However, as can only be expected given the event’s youth, Mountain Sounds is still working out a few nuts and bolts. Despite being a small festival, there was often an issue with crowd management, particularly where bathrooms and bars were concerned. There were some significant sound desk issues, particularly disrupting the polished sets by Safia and Kilter. But perhaps the major glitch of the day was the lack of communication of the fact D.D Dumbo had cancelled on the festival, leaving eager fans disappointed when they waited for him at Unicorn stage only to be greeted by another band entirely (Elliot The Bull).
But in spite of these slight drawbacks, Mountain Sounds’ most endearing quality was the sense of community displayed throughout the friendly crowd it attracted. Though there were many moments of disruption and craziness in moshes along the way, festivalgoers largely looked out for one another through their mutual goal for all to have a good time. There were many moments of kindness between strangers, and many new friends made to the strong lineup’s solid tunes. And this, ultimately, was what should make Mountain Sounds one festival worth returning to again and again.