I’d go back for the music in the kebab shop. I don’t who it was, it was just straight-forward house doof.
But I wouldn’t go back for the shin deep toxic mud outside of it.
I’d go back for the great view from the Amphitheatre hill. But not the foot-grabbing mud at the bottom that nearly took my boot.
My friend lost his sole, not just the tip of it, but the whole bottom as soon as we got in.
Besides the music they played in the kebab store, Tyler The Creator was a highlight, so was Jack Harlow quizzing the crowd in his strong Kentucky drawl.
When I bought the tickets, I was 16 years old. Now 18, I don’t think 16-year-old me would have been happy with a chaperone (as cool as you are, mum).
I don’t think I would have handled the first day being cancelled with all the artists I specifically came to Splendour to see, or being greeted by shin deep mud across the festival, broken up by the occasional boardwalk, or understood the trench foot jokes.
I don’t know if it’s covid or age, but the two years’ wait made us more tolerant, or maybe just lowered our expectations. We even called it quits before the Strokes finished, thinking we could get out before the crowds and get on a bus. No luck. The night quickly grew colder, and the low light reflecting off the lakes of cold mud gave a dystopian air.
The lack of communication, Wonderwall playing through tinny speakers, instead of announcing their crowd control instructions, the size of the crowd waiting clueless, could have caused yelling and fighting. Instead, everyone was able to remain calm and quiet, perhaps too exhausted to do anything else.
At one point, a woman to my left fainted, and a path instantly formed in the tightly-packed crowd to allow for paramedics to bring her out into the open air.
This may have been our tipping point, as my friends and I pushed our way to seek answers from the police lining the fence holding us in.
Systems not working
At this point they must have realised that this system wasn’t working, as they began shouting out names of places and saying people going there should push through.
We broke free of the crowd, and made our way to the Mullumbimby bus, on which we sat in silence; dirty and angry.
The next day the mud was thicker but the buses were faster, making our average experience seem incredibly efficient.