In early 2016 I wrote my first ever music review for Party in the Paddock, an annual shindig that is held on one of the many often-taken-for-granted vistas of regional Tasmania. The article was written for APHRA magazine, a now defunct online publication that folded mid-2016 after months of attempted fundraising. APHRA was a fun mag, but not a unique voice in the market.One thing they did do well though was to provide an opportunity for many budding writers to express themselves. I was grateful for the opportunity and have gone on to write for other publications, including The Pin, a site that explores Australia’s identity, which I produced with a good friend.
Following a bizarre incident where a quote of mine from the article was lifted and shared under the name of another Tasmanian writer, I’ve had a few requests from people to view the full article. As APHRA is no longer online I’m sharing it via my personal blog space.
Hope you enjoy – x Lu
– Lucie Cutting
Over the weekend I joined the throng of eager festivalgoer’s on the long and occasionally dusty road to Party in the Paddock. Set amongst the undulating hills of northeast Tasmania, the festival beckons with a chilled atmosphere and the promise of a good time. And this is exactly what it delivers.
After a slow start at the gates where punters waited patiently for the usual teething problems of the first day of a festival to blow over, we were welcomed to our weekend by a line-up of local and interstate (cough mainlander cough) acts. Within minutes of arriving at the main stage I found myself swaying to the hypnotic tunes of Denni, a Tassie local who now lives interstate. Like me, the audience was enamored and reciprocated in dance to Denni’s every move. Part way through the set Denni, a proud Palawa woman, invited an Aboriginal woman on stage to perform Welcome to Country. Festivalgoer’s were reminded to respect each other and the land, a message that was reiterated by organisers throughout the weekend.
Following Denni’s soulful sounds, Ocean Alley took to the stage and delivered an upbeat set heavy on guitar and rhythm. As the audience swelled and dust began to rise, the band of longhaired dudes picked up the groove and played a set that felt too short for all the right reasons.
The first day delivered a number of other gems, including local acts The Beautiful Chains and Zac Slater, as well as Ecca Vandal, Tkay Maidza and Violent Soho.
Ecca Vandal massaged the crowd into party mode with bangers like End of Time and Tkay Maidza kept the vibe going three sets later on the same stage. The crowd positively thrummed to the beat of Tkay Maidza’s drum, or more specifically neatly packaged lyrics and captivating stage presence. As the heavy baseline of Ghost kicked in the audience went into a frenzy of head banging and gyrating dance moves. It was as if we’d all had the simultaneous realisation that our decision to attend Party in the Paddock had been one of our best for 2016 so far.
As expected Violent Soho were great. The energy felt during Tkay Maidza’s set was the entrée to Violent Soho’s blindingly bright performance. It was a treat to see the crowd enthusiastically scream ‘Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!’ and I couldn’t help but progress from a slow head bang on the sidelines to a full on neck bending, torso twisting, earth departing body shake. The good vibes were contagious. At this point in time it’s worth mentioning part of rule 12 for Party in the Paddock is to ‘have a sick time’. With acts like Violent Soho it would be pretty hard to break this particular rule.
The surprise of Friday nights line up was, without a doubt, KOWL. A local DJ and man of many talents, KOWL picked up where previous act Nina Las Vegas left off and kept the crowd moving. No mean feat considering his gear dropped out not once, not twice but three times. The audience felt his pain and responded with nothing but support and adherence to rule 12 of Party in the Paddock.
Day two of the festival offered a rehash of some local acts from the previous day as well as new faces and interstate acts. The Blundstone Stage was almost an ode to all things Tasmanian and included local acts Zac Slater, James Parry and Seth Henderson. Zac Slater delivered a surprisingly energetic stripped back set of just a man with his guitars while the gentle tambourine tapping and soft vocals of James Parry enticed the audience to sit down and listen.
Seth Henderson wooed with a beautiful voice and lyrics that leave you somewhere between a smile on your face and a lump in your throat. His songs had the familiarity of feeling, a déjà vu brought on by hearing music that connects with your own life experience.
The two larger stages had a completely different feel. Tasmanian hardcore band Uncle Geezer was unapologetically loose, tearing through tracks as short as ten seconds long. Tired Lion encouraged nakedness and later in the night both the Preatures and Spiderbait held the audience in raptures with hit after hit.
The beauty of Party in the Paddock is in its size, both in length and capacity. The festival is two jam-packed days of good music, delivered to a small but dedicated crowd. Unlike other festivals, Party in the Paddock doesn’t muck around with extra days; you’ve got 48 hours to party and you better make the most of it. The festivals good vibes and positive message (one of their key supporters is beyondblue) make for a great weekend. Chuurs PITP, you know how to throw a hell of a party.