words by Jess Sommerfeld // photos by Rick Clifford(@rcstills)
“..the overall vibe of Lost Picnic was relaxing as all things “picnic” should be.”
The vibe is totally different to what it was a few weeks ago with Expo Liaison. Transformed into a family friendly wonderland with a giant verbeck 73 key concert organ, chiming Australia fair as everyone walks through the gate. To the left you have ‘the dreaming space’ which is essentially a wonderland for the kiddies, equiped with hula hoops, puppet shows, magic and other wonderful bits and bobs. Moving to the right, a row of delicious smelling food and then moving forward after wading through a sea of picnic blankets and eskies and their rightful owners, the main and only stage is smack bang in the centre.
Through out the festival there were quirky little extras that made things interesting, including Theatre Company Strange Fruit performance artists. This couple who obviously had exceptionally strong core muscles were in mid air, with their hips attached to some kind of bendy poles..? The duo performed a circus/contemporary dance act together in the sky. Gliding through the air, they moved in total unison and created a tranquil and mesmerising act.
The first band Big Words opens up this sunshine filled Melbourne day and is setting the atmosphere for a beautiful and relaxing day on the grass. Their mellow mix of melodies and synth based bangers is a nice vibe for the afternoon crowd that is making its way in.
Melbourne based Odette plays next and greets her audience with a completely beautiful mix of vocals, percussion and keys. Sitting on the hill, I see people moving away from the picnic area to close to gap between the audience and the stage. Odette has this alluring presence about her performance, captivating the whole festival with her sweet melodies. She is an all round goddess and songstress, upping the vibe with her heavy-mood inducing beats and incredibly warm vocals.
Unwrapping the chilled vibe, Hot Potato Band bought to the stage massively loud and fun array of instruments, with the sort of energy that complimented the already relaxed vibe but opened the floor and got everyone up and dancing to some groove bangers. You could see kids on shoulders, adults on shoulders, it was a definitive shift in mood from the previous two acts.
Marlon Williams has this certain presence on stage that just exudes an effortlessly cool/bad ass quirk that is yet also gentle.. total contrast, I know, but what can I say, I’m a fan. Opening his set, Williams’ had the crowd swaying and feeling the feels before greeting everyone and moving quickly into his second song which he introduced as being about jealously also titled ‘jealously’.
Slowly grooving away to the slow and thematic beat of the track Williams sips on his wine and gets back to serenading the crowd with his soothing vocals. The closing track for this set left a huge weight in my head/heart, his voice is beyond anything a word can describe.
Next, a crowd fave - Meg Mac who played for the audience, her first ever track she recorded- titled, ‘Should’ve Known Better’. By this time, the crowd was much larger, no gaps whatsoever between the stage and the audience. Proving that her style is loved at all stages/ages of life. Whether you’re a Meg Mac fan or not it is easy to note that her vocal range is as full live as it is on her recorded tracks. Her voice and style are completely distinctive making it obvious as to why she has become so popular in the past 5 years. Mac’s presence on stage today compared to her earlier years displays an obvious story of confidence and growth.
It’s sort of weird because Tash Sultana has the ability to pack out the likes of Sidney Myer Music Bowl, meaning the crowd that was here for lost picnic could of easily her own headline show, but this wasn’t the case the previous acts on the bill all holding their own amongst the diverse crowd. Walking onto the stage to ‘Is This Love’ by Bob Marley, opens her set, an OM blanket covering her array of sample pads and keys, salt lamp and neon pink flamingo light - obviously her . playing environment is important. She emerges onto the stage in a way that is utterly nonchalant as possible. Instantly bringing a huge essence of tranquility through her music, her vocals hit the audience and essentially the feeling resembles trembling knees and goose bumps. The sound is hypnotic. The sea of people has well and truly reached peak with bodies swaying side to side as Tash creates a certain magic with her mouth as she beatboxes and weaves in and out of lyrics over the top of her classic multi layered instrumental loops, creating an assortment of delicious sounds.
Sultana has such a distinct sound and style that is unlike any other artists at the moment, she is refreshing and her live show washes over you like a giant yet gentle wave in the ocean. You can imagine listening to her set on a coast line somewhere, as it offers an unrefined tranquility. Her genuine joy to be on stage was hard to miss, as the smile on her face just continued to grow through out her set. As she said herself ‘it’s pretty Fucking awesome to be here’.
No fancy, elaborate words typically found in these things needed for this - Tash is a dreamy, soul filled & talented musician. She was an absolute treat & perfect fit to close out Lost Picnic 2018.
Weather obviously plays a very large role in ones enjoyment at a festive and being that it is only a natural reaction for human beings to display sincere joy and happiness when the miserable Melbourne weather spell is broken, regardless of any typical festival issue surrounding limited toilets or through the roof food and drink pricing, the overall vibe of Lost Picnic was relaxing as all things “picnic” should be.