The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating

Trip Start Sep 08, 2011
Trip End Jan 08, 2012

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What I did
Pyramid Rock Festival 2011

Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Sunday, January 1, 2012

Full circle; that's where I was on the final stretch of my trip. On my first day here in Australia (just three months ago), I landed in Melbourne and went straight to Polyfest, a Polynesian music festival. On my last days in Australia, I’m on Phillip Island (though I was in Melbourne for 4 hours) attending Pyramid Rock Festival: perfect symmetry.

I had originally planned to go to Canberra, but two things affected my thinking:

1)      I’d been all over Australia and seen some incredible things and one of the things that had least excited me was Sydney. Add to that, Canberra is considered to be the most boring city in Australia, if not the southern hemisphere, maybe it wouldn’t be such a good idea to go.

2)      Alan was leaving for Pyramid Rock Festival a day earlier than I had thought, so I really had to get my backside to Melbourne as quickly as possible.

After an 11 hour trip, which was uneventful, except for the fact that I managed to sleep through most of the journey – to the point where, when the driver stopped for his scheduled breaks, I couldn’t be bothered to get off the bus to stretch my legs (or have a cigarette) – I gladly flopped on Alan’s couch watching the first test between Australia and India, while he went off to work. Just four hours later, we were back on the road – a couple of hours’ drive to Phillip Island.

Phillip Island has two main tourist attractions: penguins and Moto GP. There’s a penguin parade that takes place every evening, when the penguins come on to shore and find their nests, walking straight past (and next to) people on the beach. An amazing sight, apparently..., but I won’t be seeing it. It’s also home to a Grand Prix track for bikes, so it hosts the Superbike and Moto GP races in February and in October. Again, I won’t be seeing either of those, though the Pyramid Rock Festival is right next to the Grand Prix track at... Pyramid Rock. As it became clear to me over the days, the 'Rock’ in the title did not refer to the style of music, but actually to a real rock sticking out of the end of the island. There are no prizes for guessing what it looked like.

Pyramid Rock Festival was like a coming of age party and was an orgy of sun, sex and drugs for three days. The music was almost secondary, as everyone was either drunk, stoned or both...and sunburnt, but they didn’t care.  The people that went to the festival were really young, so much so that not only were they wearing a wrist band as proof of entry, but they had to wear another band showing that they were over 18 (in order to buy alcohol).

The first day of the festival was spent watching the stage being set up and listening to the sound men’s ipod throughout the day, followed by films on the giant screen in the evening, the highlight of which was a film called First Love, a documentary about 3 girls from Phillip Island who love to surf.

The next day was when the concerts began. I pretty much had the best ‘seat’ in the ‘house’ and so I was able to watch everything on the main stage without any problems.  To review each band would be a monumental task, but let it be enough to say that my appreciation for Australian music has increased.  Naturally there were a few bands that left me cold, but I was impressed by Spiderbait (great live act), The Living End (providers of the title of this blog entry), The Bamboos (I’d always wanted to see them live), and Spank Rock (not Australian). The definite highlight of the day and the weekend, however, was Ash Grunwald. Up until he came onstage, the day had been a mixture of indie music and rock, but Ash Grunwald played old style blues. To see the reaction of the kids was amazing, as, at first, they were all slightly bemused by the music, as if they’d never heard blues before, which they probably hadn’t, and then slowly they warmed up and then they looked at each other as if to say, "I don’t know what this is, but it rocks!!!", then they all flipped out!

The final day (New Year’s Eve) had more of a hip hop slant to it. I’d heard some stuff on my travels, but now I love Aussie hip hop. Drapht, a Perth rapper, absolutely brought the house down in his set, as did Illy (from Melbourne). Other than that there was an interesting mix of talent, other highlights included Grace Woodroofe, Jonathan Boulet, Calling All Cars and The Getaway Plan. However, as midnight approached, there was a drop in the standard of the groups. The penultimate act before the headliners was Bluejuice, who were, quite frankly, rubbish. The only thing of note about them was that during one of their songs they had a porn video playing in the background. The headline act  of the festival was Scissor Sisters. I didn’t think it was the best way to see in the New Year.

Nevertheless, it had been a unique experience. I’d spent a total of 38 hours at the festival and saw some wild things. New Year’s Eve in Australia – there’s nothing quite like it.
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Sun on

It rocks! I love Ash Grunwald!

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