I had a two year break from the Big Day Out festival but now that I am back in the Southern Hemisphere I refused to miss out and purchased my ticket to see the likes of Arcade Fire, GroupLove, Tame Impala and The Hives over six months ago. I awoke on the day I had anticipated for over half a year to hear heavy rain falling on the roof above me, not the greatest start to what I hoped would be the best day of 2014 so far. Unfortunately I had taken sleeping pills a little late the evening before which resulted in me sleeping in well passed my alarm only to be woken up by one of the punters that would be attending the pre drinks at my house which was set to kick off in twenty minutes time. Without stopping to even take a look in the mirror I pulled on the first items of clothing I found on my floor and ran out the door and up to Errol Street to purchase the beverages I would need to kick my party mood into full gear before catching the train one stop to Flemington Race Course. I got home with only five minutes to get ready. I had a quick shower to wash away the sweat caused by the muggy weather and put on my specially prepared ‘Big Day Out Fit’ which gained me multiple compliments from strangers throughout the day.
After various rounds of beer pong the rain began to ease and as a team of eleven we caught the train to the festival. Upon arrival I was surprised to see the lack of lines and crowding at the entrance. We waited only two minutes to exchange our cash for tokens and walked straight to the bar to purchase our first $8.00 can of beer for the day. The first act on the agenda was New Zealand Band The Naked and Famous who I had seen only once back in Aotearoa in 2010. My oldest friend, Pete and I watched some of the set before heading back to the over 18 bar area to sit down and watch the show from behind the cage walls. Pete and I then next went to see GroupLove perform on the red stage and they once again put on a bloody good show. I have mentioned previously that I find this band so entertaining to watch because they are so enthusiastic about making sure that every performance they give will ensure the crowd has fun. They interact, they dance like crazy people and smile a lot to prove they aint no hipsters they are musicians. At the end of their set something was thrown into the crowd which Pete and I managed to grab hold of, the set list, which was a better souvenir than anything you could have purchased from the merch stand.
Next up we headed back to the main stage to wait through the groaning noises created by Beady Eye to get our spots for Arcade Fire. I had seen the band from a distance just two days previously and I was determined to get a better view at Big Day Out. When the band came on stage we were placed less than a meter from the barrier and I was surprised that there was no surge from the crowd behind me like I had experienced at so many Big Day Out’s in New Zealand in the past. As Win come into the crowd I was just inches from putting my fingers all over his elbow and just when I thought that I couldn’t feel anymore love for this incredible band the intro the Tunnels (neighbourhood) started, the song they failed to play two days earlier. Another extremely sweaty and excited fan jumping next to me grabbed me with such force that he popped the top bottom off my shirt before flinging me up to ride the wave of the crowd. Whilst up there I felt life could not get any better, starring up and the clouds being watched by the band members of Arcade Fire and unfortunately security who screamed at me to get down which I did with such haste that my heel when straight into the cranium of a young girl bearing a NO ALCOHOL bracelet.
After the band finally finished Pete and I, both dehydrated and drenched in sweat retreated back to the alcohol cages and pooled our tokens to buy our final beverages. We lay on the grass and watched headliners Pearl Jam from a distance. As I’m not exactly a fan and they were scheduled to play for two hours it didn’t take me long to get bored so I left Pete behind to bust one final move of the day to Steve Angello who ensured that exhaustion would not get the better of the crowd with his flames, lasers and never ending rain of confetti.
At the bitter end I half stumbled, half limped out of the festival and sat alone on the train platform to wait and rolled the dregs of my tobacco into one final cigarette. My sixth Big Day Out was the best yet.