Golden Plains 2024: Stinking Hot and Wholesome

19th March 2024
By Kaspar Visser

I don’t think I’d be able to forget Golden Plains 2024 if I tried. The weekend out in Meredith was as much a test of physical endurance in the 38-degree heat, as it was a party celebrating high-quality music and an incredible community.


Hitting the road with new boots and can-filled Eskis, my friends and I joined the
couch-donning Subarus and fit straight into the progressive aesthetic of the crowd.

GP Couches.jpg

Caption: Carrying couches in the heat. 

After setting up on Saturday, we heard whispers that Pitch Music and Arts festival might be cancelled due to fire-danger (it eventually and sadly was shut down). Using what was left of our senses, we scrambled together a makeshift fire-safety plan – “a second warning and we’re beating the traffic”.


Yet this never happened. Instead, we suffered in the excruciating heat, dunking our heads under taps, running through water truck showers, and endlessly misting ourselves with handy little spray bottles. It was a team effort, with both the amazing work of pink-vested ‘AC’ volunteers and the generosity of strangers keeping everyone cool and hydrated.


Community spirit is something that the Supernatural Amphitheatre (‘The Sup’) gets
right. Both Golden Plains, and its older-sister, Meredith Music Festival, are renowned
for their focus on a ‘quality over quantity’ approach.



With a strict ‘no dickhead’ policy and fierce independence, Golden Plains has won
Music Victoria’s ‘Best Festival’ Award four times between 2015 and 2020 and it’s
likely they’ll provide a world-class event for years to come.


The beautiful Wadawurrung land of the Nolan family farm and its one high-quality
stage host this wonderful festival. These dependable factors have kept the event
manageable and thriving size for sixteen sweet years.


Other music festivals faced tragic circumstances in recent years, cancelling recent editions due to low ticket sales and rising insurance costs according to research by Music Victoria. However, there was no sense of trouble across the three days at the Sup, as Golden Plains truly bucks this trend.  


One reason for its success may be the commitment to hosting a diverse line-up every year, which became increasingly apparent after the Saturday acts kicked-off.


From the indie rock and country-pop delivered in a clean set from Wednesday, to the extremely energetic Zamrock from Witch and their surprise special guest Sampa the Great, the crowd grew with each successive act, as people flocked out to dance in the sun.


Truly the most unique act of the day – the Japanese heavy metal group Boris – were
defined by their unmatchable noise level. I’ve never seen anything like it, from the
sheer size of the amps on stage, to the ominous gong behind the drummer Nagata,
they delivered a performance of a lifetime. Their almost deafening war-cry set
certainly summoned the crowd, and maybe a few demons too.


Saturday’s main acts all provided something different, with the unmatched creativity
talent of Yussef Dayes sent me straight into a trance. Yet, everyone I spoke to could
only utter the words “that Belgian duo” whenever I asked about the favourite act.


Sadly, I missed the electro-pop duo from Ghent, Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupol, due to a quick pit stop at camp, but their experimental set kept coming up in conversations, both for their captivating music and progressive pro-Palestine and anti-racist stance.


We did however catch the old-timers Regurgitator, who struggled a little to land their
new tracks, while the classic hits like ‘Polyester Girl’ still sent fans crazy. They
injected a bit of silly fun and brought together generations, with bassist Ben Ely
pointing out his daughter in the crowd.

The intergenerational aspect of Golden Plains is something that can’t be
underplayed. From young timers such as myself, to those who’ve been to The Sup’ for over 30 years, everyone is welcomed into an environment my friends described as ‘totally wholesome’. Parents with young children were helped into the shade of the stage, while I was even asked to pass toilet paper across for someone three stools down.


Sitting down with one old-timer, Malcom, he explained why the festival is truly something special.


“It’s the ultimate safe space…You do you, but don’t impose yourself on others”.


Malcom caught my eye when I’d seen him drawing dancers from the hilltop, something he’d been doing for years. It’s acts such as this that captivate how Golden Plains offers something for everyone, and people come for the community, as well as the line-up.

  Malcolm sketching GP.jpg

Caption: Malcolm with his sketchbook. 

Connected to the rich sense of community, Golden Plains also emphasises First Nations culture as a key part of the festival; storytelling from a tearful Uncle Barry commanded a standing ovation, while the incredible Kutcha Edwards sent chills through my body, despite the heat.  


“It was a beautiful gig and you do it and it’s over,” Kutcha Edwards said, speaking to me after his set.


“It’s over within an hour and you just sit there and…As the band, we sat back and wow, as much as we gave on stage, the audience reciprocate[d].”


Kutcha and his band delivered a moving set, and this level of quality is something which carried on throughout Sunday night.


Black Country, New Road appeared angelic on stage, with each member having mastered at least three instruments, while DJ Koco effortlessly mixed old-time classics to set the dance floor alight. The sound systems of the Sup’ also delivered quality for every set, as tech-nerds on the Meredith Facebook group confirmed the setup had been upgraded since 2023.


Now, Golden Plains 2024 can’t be reviewed without addressing Sunday headliner The Streets, who asked the crowds to honour them with a boot. Some in the crowd considered Mike Skinner’s antics an insult to the long-standing tradition of raising your boot for the best act, while others took the performance as paying homage to festival-goers.

Mike Skinner GP.jpg

Caption: The Streets' Mike Skinner crowdsurfing. 

Packed up at the front like a sardine, I found the whole show to be pure energy. It was raw, engaging, and unique the whole way through, and while admittedly it dragged on too long – it was a sheer spectacle, as a headliner should be. 


The diversity of excellent music on display across the weekend meant that I couldn’t help but raise my boot not one, but two or three times. While not strictly following the tradition, the loving environment moved me on multiple occasions, and I leave this festival with many new tracks on my playlist.


Golden Plains 2024 and Aunty Meredith, thank you for the rollercoaster, and sticking to your guns as you always do.

The full interview with Kutcha Edwards can be found below.

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