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Live Review: Golden Plains 2024

12 March 2024 | 1:15 pm | Noah Redfern

Golden Plains was one of the best festivals of the decade so far.

Golden Plains

Golden Plains (Credit: Joshua Braybrook)

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With multiple music festivals taking place over one weekend, the hot weather was not ideal, but some shows must go on, and Golden Plains was the perfect place to be during Victoria’s record-breaking heatwave. A truly diverse, rich and passionate lineup of eclectic and mind-blowing acts combined with a resilient and community-minded crowd made for the best festival experience in years.

The Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre became the home to several thousand music and art enthusiasts over the Labour Day weekend, featuring a lineup of oddballs, experiments, storytellers, and groovers from around the globe.


Opening the festival with Melbournian punk swagger were Split System – exactly what you need to start a blistering hot day. Frontman Jackson Briggs brings the classic no-holds-barred punk rock energy every time, and today was no exception despite the temperature already hitting the mid-thirties. The closing track, End Of The Night, never fails to move the feet even in the heat, reminiscent of Buzzcocks classics of old.

Multidisciplinary creative and Washington DC native Sneaks came through with a set of stunning originals, mixing her brand of riot grrrl with club pop. Also from the United States, alternative rock screamers Wednesday brought the fire with some genuinely edgy and interesting indie rock. 

In the late afternoon, Zambian rock legends WITCH (We Intend To Cause Havoc) captivated listeners in one of their first-ever Australian appearances. The band converted a crowd of new listeners into hardcore fans with their signature mix of stoner rock with African grooves - a mix that was impossible not to move to. This kind of experience is exactly what Golden Plains is all about

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The band's recent single, By The Time You Realise, perfectly encapsulates the combination of fuzzed-out riffs and afrobeat percussion that defines the Zamrock sound of WITCH—pure bliss for those looking to boogie. 

Nothing could’ve prepared audiences for the pure witchcraft, worship and sorcery that is Boris—a band that is equal parts Melvins and Sabbath, but also something else entirely. Once the band began, the walls of noise became all-encompassing, and all was revealed. Frontman Atsuo cast many a spell on Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre with his wild theatrics – combining cosmic spell craft dance with threatening charges across the stage, locking the attention of all to his terrifying ritual. 

Boris are not of this mortal coil. Do not miss them next time they are in town. 

Jazz drumming virtuoso Yussef Dayes chilled out punters after the scorcher of a day and the absolute insanity of Boris with a fantastic set of contemporary jazz, hip-hop and fusion. Swung grooves, syncopated rhythms, and cool chords played their part in weaving the tapestry of cool while waves of 16th notes kept heads bopping. Unexpected changes in time and dynamics didn’t break the flow - Dayes is beyond mastery of his craft. His patience in creating a mood is unparalleled. With a band of jazz geniuses and a resume filled with legendary references such as drum tutor Billy Cobham – a Miles Davis contemporary – there is no doubting the status of Yussef Dayes as a current-day groundbreaker.

90s Aussie favourites Regurgitator played out through midnight with a set of fan favourites. Tracks from 1997’s Unit including Black Bugs, ! (The Song Formerly Known As) and Polyester Girl, as always, were singalong madness, but Gurge took the time to try out some fun new hip-hop tracks, chat to the crowd and throw in a Metallica cover for good measure.


Frankston indie rock upcomers The Belair Lip Bombs opened Sunday’s festivities with their signature singalong rock and roll. Singer Maisie Everett’s excellent range was on full display through hooks on tracks Out Of Here and Stay Or Go.

Later, indie rocker MJ Lenderman brought the energy with a brilliant blend of country rock and shoegaze—perfectly encapsulated in his strange original Knockin, a tribute to the many times covered classic Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door written by Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton. It's a real blistering set, great for hot weather in the cool shade.

Kenyan-born, Australian-raised rapper Elsy Wameyo came along in the mid-afternoon for some rap and RnB, followed by amazing vinyl turntable genius DJ Kuco. A treasure hunt of samples, classics, and references left the crowd reacting in recognition at least once every couple of minutes as they heard either a song they had dug or a sample used in a song they loved. It was a true tribute to vinyl nerds in the best of ways.

UK indie-classical post-rock storytellers Black Country, New Road came through with a remarkable performance for the dinnertime slot. Fans will know the tale – BCNR dropped two brilliant records of anxious post-punk post-rock before their frontman Isaac Wood departed due to mental health concerns. Many wondered where the band would go next, but no one expected an entirely new repertoire and a revolving door of singing duties.

Somehow, BCNR have embraced the change and grown into something new entirely. Long-form tracks The Boy and Turbines/Pigs demonstrate their pure musicianship and sonic identity, still strong with buildup and crescendo just like their earlier work but also embracing a fun fairy-esque feel, perfect for a hippy-dippy festival such as Golden Plains.

King Stingray took to the amphitheatre for a high-energy mix of indie, punk and Yolŋu pop rock. Frontman Yirrŋa Yunupiŋu brought such fantastic energy and positivity to the band, allowing for a pure experience of rock ‘n’ roll fusion like no other.

Closing out the evening before the DJs took over were UK hitmakers The Streets. Mike Skinner was quick to point out the energy of the crowd and took every opportunity to thank them for their patronage. Bangers Fit But You Know It and Has It Come To This? filled listeners' ears with a truly British sense of troublemaking fun like no one else can.

Overall, Golden Plains was one of the best festivals of the decade so far. Make sure to make the trip up to Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre as soon as you can for either of its festivals for a guaranteed hell of a weekend of love and music.