Splendour in the Grass as captured by a Vogue editor
Changes abound in music but one of the constants on the scene in Australia is Splendour in the Grass, the festival that has been a stalwart of the annual festival calendar for nearing two decades. Through highs and lows–the latter being the less frequent of the two, though one of the largest was surely the cancellation of one of this year’s headliners–it has retained a certain mythology for attendees and musicians alike. It has played host to the world’s biggest talents and guests (Kate Moss inclusive) making the most of the sub-tropical surrounds of Byron Bay and its hinterland.
This year attended, and not for the time, balancing down time with festival time, taking in Byron Shire’s food and beaches. Armed with warm and cool weather wardrobes (temperatures plummeted after sundown), and a (loose) schedule of beach, cafe to festival, to VIP bar we documented an editor’s-eye-view, with the help of OPPO’s Reno 5G phone, of the best to see, eat and do between acts.
Above: A first stop to re-set, at Byron Main Beach, framed by pandanus trees. The first of three full sunny days which means not a gumboot is seen the whole festival.
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Check-in to home for the duration, the Lord Byron, a moment away from Byron town’s main festival bus stop with pool, (and more essentially, pool bar.)
Arrived. The walk into the main amphitheatre that fits tens of thousands as the day warms up. The stream gets steadily heavier when the sun sets.
Taking a break on the hill between the main stages, with the Tipi Forest in the background, the one stage that stays open the longest—into the early hours.
One of the biggest lines around is for Splendour in the Craft, a craft workshop with sweetly knitted letters to point the way.
The VIP gold bar. The backstage entrance is concealed somewhere within the bar (if you know, you know). Artists, media and VIPs choose this spot for downtime in the day, fun after dark, the Mary’s burgers to fuel up, and a spot near the fire pit to warm up.
Night time and Odette, hailing from Sydney’s Inner West, performs to a loyal crowd at the far side of the festival. Everyone dances with each other.
Pit stop at the aforementioned fire pit. It’s so chilly fire wardens are there to stop everyone getting as close as they are.
Side of stage for Foals.
Tame Impala go beyond, and are one of the highlights of the festival.
Lights guiding the way out and to bed.
Morning swim at the Pass. A rare moment when it’s low on surfers.
One of the best quick-stop breakfasts and old favourites is Top Shop where everyone puts down their own blanket (or coat!) when it’s busy and eats on the grass outside. The other favourites if you get in early enough to beat the crowds: the Byron Bay General Store, Folk and Bayleaf.
The Splendour warm up Spotify party at the Secret Garden in the centre of Byron town. There are tacos, music and cushions for the tired among us.
Food by Elise Loprete at The Poor Girls Pantry at the party.
Palm trees shade the secret garden.
Back into the festival, under a disco skull.
Another day of sun.
British band Wolf Alice.
In the crowd, the best place to stay warm—in numbers.
Saying goodbye to Splendour for 2019, with Cape Byron in the distance.