Party in the Paddock review

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

Party In The Paddock – Never Forget Rule 12

– 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.

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Kelsey Lou – Dreams

Kelsey Lou will be playing at the MOFO festival in January 2017! I’ll be pretty darn sad if I miss what promises to be a special performance.

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Arum Rae – Loners

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2016 – the year that almost is.

2016 is almost done and in the tradition of the previous four years (or maybe three) I’ve decided to revisit this blog space, a space that I have almost abandoned, and write a yearly review.

As some of you will remember, 2015 was a shit storm and I was pretty glad for it to be over. The year ended in a paddock, as it usually does for me, watching a live band hammer guitars and scream into microphones. I stood with two good friends, a stark contrast from the previous year where I’d bailed on the festivities and returned to my campsite almost defiant in my desire to fall asleep before the new year arrived.

I’ve always believed that the way you start a year is a good indication of how that year will flow. So it’s fitting that 2015 was crap, given my desire to be an island at the start, and also fitting that 2016 was fantastic.

2016 has been a year of experiences for me. Throughout 2014 and 2015 I was a very single person. I think I went on a few dates in those years, had a number of forced conversations across the dinner table, but for the most part I was alone.

Sometime in late 2015 I wrote an exasperated email to a good friend bemoaning my relationship status. Living away from ‘home’ and removing myself from my circle of friends had made me realise just how solo I was, and I was determined to change things around.

So to hell with it, I thought, I’m going to put in THE MOST effort to not fly solo and I did. Through this experience I learned that throwing yourself into a cyclone of first dates, short term relationships and long term dalliances may not be the best way to go, but it is a way nonetheless. I learned so much about myself, other people, and what I’m like in relationships. I learned that sometimes a fling is just the thing you need. I learned that no matter how much you openly adore a person, they still have the ability to treat you like crap and will do so if you let them. I learned the importance of space, the importance of trusting your intuition and the importance of respecting what you feel you need in a relationship. I learned about me. In this year of dating I’ve felt my best and my worst and I wouldn’t trade one second of the whole experience.

2016 was also the year of permanent employment, a thing I had found challenging to find since arriving in Tasmania the previous year. Sometime in February I had an interview with a small advocacy organisation that works to improve the Tasmanian experience for minorities who live in the state. It’s a field I’m actually interested in and taps into my skills. I was nervous in the interview, which was a three person panel, firing questions one after the other. I thought I’d bombed and went home feeling pretty uncertain but within a few days I received a call back asking me to take the job. It was such a great moment. In 2015 it had been impossible to secure work in things I didn’t even like. 2016 changed all of that. My job is stressful and pays peanuts, but it’s also flexible and inspiring, so you take the good with the bad. Doing this job has enabled me to continue to work in festivals, be on radio and work on a project with one of my closest friends. A little project called The Pin.

The Pin is an energy sucking, money draining, stress inducing website that I love. It’s amazing to craft something real from an idea that was hatched on my lounge room floor sometime late 2015, which has gone on to feature some amazing musicians, artists, scientists, and people who have something to say about multiculturalism in Australia. As a mixed race kid, I’ve had experiences that have made me question how Australian I really am. Not just this, but also how seriously I am taken, how I am perceived by the world and in consequence how I perceive myself. Until I started The Pin with my good friend Nkechi, I hadn’t realised just how oppressive questioning your own national identity really is. But it’s so real, and complicated, and important. The Pin starts conversations we just don’t usually have, and they’re conversations we need to have as Australians and individuals. We reach out to people and in return they often share personal stories that have gone on to positively impact the lives of so many people. It’s so special to me and I hope it can continue for a long time, no matter how laborious it can at times seem.

So this is my 2016 in a nutshell. In the last six days of this year I will travel down the coast to Marion Bay and work at Falls Festival through till the New Year. I’ll camp with friends I’d made in the previous year, work alongside like minded people, party with them, and lament the friend we lost this year to suicide who decided life was just too overwhelming. This person was loved dearly by so many people, and is a reminder to me that no matter how scary life is – it is important to breath deeply and reach out to the people who care about you, because there are more people who care than you could ever know. I think about this person often, I sometimes say their name aloud and friends have said they do the same. A number of times this year I have found myself staring up at the night sky on a chilly Hobart night saying her name to the stars, wishing things were different and that my return to Falls Festival would mean seeing her face and saying her name in person. Of course this will never happen, and the only piece of optimism I can find is that Eloise was truly a person who would want her friends and family to celebrate every damn moment of being alive.

I hope 2017 is a year filled with challenges myself and all I know can overcome, successes, happiness, laughter, and goodness. I hope we learn, and that we grow as people. I hope we love without abandon, and know how to pick up the pieces if need be.

I hope and continue to do so.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

xx Lu

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