Words: Jasmine Uitermark-Thaung
There’s always a little bit of magic in the air at camping festivals, fuelled by good tunes and great vibes. Revellers party into the night trekking it back to their tents at 3am, sure they’re a little worse for wear but the abundance of memories they gain is well worth it.
Last weekend we made our way down to Fairbridge for the inaugural Disconnect Festival, boasting a line-up bill chock a block full of local and international muso’s and comedians. Our excitement got the best of us, making the drive a little earlier than expected as we scoped out the site. Meandering along the gravel roads, it was rather refreshing to see some artists chatting away whilst they conjured up imaginative live art pieces and hinted at the general mood the festival seemed to emanate over the weekend.
We got down to the Darling View Amphitheatre just in time to see Methyl Ethel be the first of many to grace the stage that weekend, making for a pleasant afternoon. The boy’s familiar set showcasing a lo-fi gaggle of tracks from their 2015 album Oh Inhuman Spectacle, resonated with festival goers, as many relaxed under umbrella’s on the grass or swayed to Jake Webb’s cadenced vocals.
It was easy to see from the get go that Disconnect was a new kind of festival; a festival that thrives on the feeling of a close knit community, catering to the punter backlash of many headliner festivals being cancelled in Perth. With its friendly atmosphere welcoming to families, everyone seemed to be on their best behaviour.
Heading over to the Secret Garden to see our lovable Grrl Pal mates party it up on stage, we witnessed the ordeal of drink tokens, only to realise later that it was actually a most effective system, minimising queues and serving up some value for money. I however had a unique appreciation for the said drink token system…like a deer in the headlights when it comes to festivals, give me a substantial amount of cash and I will lose it, give me drink tokens? I will hold onto that shit for dear life.
Cider in hand, listening to the sweet, crystalline vocals of Grrl Pal left me feeling eager for other Perth acts on Disconnect’s line-up; from the electric energy of Pond, Meg Mac’s soulful pop and the atmospheric tones of Fait (whose music is akin to the feeling of listening to a riveting movie score back to front for the first time in your life), there was more than just one artist everyone was keen to see and I wouldn’t doubt that some campers found a new favourite at Disconnect whilst boogying it up.
Every stage left room for the crowd to have a decent dance, even with couches scattered across the grassy patches of the field expanse.
Grabbing a bite to eat was playing on my mind most of the afternoon. You can only instruct your digestive system to calm its over excited self so many times before you cave in and grab a burrito. Miles apart from the usual fried stuff, I was aptly aware of the ease I experienced in locating some vegetarian delights…which never happens, and my friend found some of the bagels so riveting he spent a sum total of $54 on them over the entirety of the weekend. How someone can eat that many bagels had astonished me.
Ending our Saturday night to the sound of the Jungle Giants rocking it out on stage to Skin to Bone, an excited crowd echoed back whoops of delight, as the band’s seemingly effortless set was met with enthusiastic claps before even the last note of each song.
We woke the next morning alongside the sun and I discovered just how much of a non-morning person I am. After a well needed snooze we headed down to experience more of this wonderful festival. Traipsing around the Secret Garden and lolling back on picnic chairs, I managed to catch up with old friends, some who I hadn’t seen in what seemed like forever. It’s kind of ironic how a festival called Disconnect actually helped me reconnect, not only with myself, my pals but also where my deep love for music came from: voices like Angus Dawson’s, that resonated within beautiful venues like The Chapel. As the swell of Dawson’s chill electronica washed over festival goers in The Chapel pews, we were forgiven for our slack jaws that conveyed our distinct appreciation and amazement at the talent this festival attracted.
After shoving some delicious burgers from the Margaret River Burger Company into our gobs, the pull of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s sounds were so strong we pretty much ran down the hill to ensure a front row spot. Whilst the Gizz’s riff’s rung true, it was a little disappointing to not hear Stu Mackenzie’s vocals as clearly over all the instruments plateauing underneath him in Hot Wax.
Taking to the stage with Brontosaurus , Tkay Maidza pumped out a series of tracks she’s released over the past 3 years; a true pocket rocket on stage, it’s safe to say every one fell in love with her attitude and humble demeanour. With an infectious smile and music that put a twitch in our dancing muscles, even festival goers who were deeply craving their sleeping bags danced their hearts out for the Adelaide rapper.
Bringing the second night of Disconnect to a close, Flight Facilities’ touted their signature pilot hats and took to their designated areas at their personalised DJ booth. Strapping in for a pleasant auditory journey, the Aussie producers geared up with their Intro from Down to Earth. The real show-stopper for Flight Facilities’ set was when Owl Eyes appeared on stage for the duo’s live version of Claire De Lune. Despite a brief moment where the electricity seemed to disappear, leaving the majority of the stage in the dark, it seemed the power outage left for that magical moment we so love at festivals.
Instructing the Disconnect crowd to hold up their torches, phones and lighters, Owl Eyes sung out to festival goers, pausing for a brief ‘thank you Disconnect’. With the stars shining down on us and our lights providing a luminescent effect to the crowd, I don’t think an accidental mishap could have gone any better.