Before even arriving in Australia, attending a music festival was already high on my list of things to do out here. I love the atmosphere and freedom of music festivals, so a few months back Emma and I went on a search and compiled a list of the best festivals we could find that Australia has to offer. Rabbits Eat Lettuce came out as a winner and we went ahead and bought tickets in November, giving us 5 whole months to get excited, as well as cheap tickets to boot on early bird rates.
Whilst we didn’t know this at the time of booking, the festival dates ended up falling in the middle of our farm work stint. This meant that from the day we first moved to Mooroopna to begin farming, until the day of setting off on the long drive to Gold Coast (via Dreamworld, obviously), it was pretty much all we had to be excited about. We spent hours planning our outfits, practicing our makeup and getting ahold of as much glitter as possible. The festival had an ocean theme on the Saturday, so Emma also dedicated her spare time to making herself a very cool ocean themed dress, made to look like the waves of the sea.
The festival takes place over Easter weekend, located near Kippenduff, a few hours inland from Byron Bay. Surrounded by fields and mountains, the festival is held is deep in the Australian bush, far away from any form of civilisation or phone reception. Starting on Friday morning and finishing Monday night, the entertainment runs for 24 hours, playing a range of dance music genres across various stages. For anyone travelling from afar, the nearby Rappville pub puts up campers the night before, allowing you to get to the festival bright and early for it beginning on Friday morning.
We arrived shortly before gates at 9am to find an already very busy queue of cars. After around two and a half hours of slow moving traffic, we finally got into the festival through the limited security check (our car was too rammed for them to bother searching) and found ourselves a nice camping spot. Unlike Scottish festivals I’ve attended in the past, you can camp with your car and aren’t required to leave it in a separate car park, making packing for the festival a much easier task. Adam had the good sense to make us grab a spot up on the hill under the shade of the tree, which was an absolute lifesaver when trying to recover from our hangovers in the Australian heat. We organised our belongings in the car and set up our little Kmart tent, and with that the festival weekend had begun.
As I mentioned before, entertainment ran for 24 hours over 4 days. Shipwrecked and Waabooz were the two main stages, and where we spent most of our weekend. In addition to that, they had some more chilled out music and activities in the smaller stages, lots of chill out zones, a campfire blazing every night and many tasty food stalls to choose from. The atmosphere was brilliant and the site looked spectacular, with colourful art projections and installations throughout. Not knowing any artists at the festival, made this quite a different experience to most music festivals I’ve been to. There was no rush or pressure to move from stage to stage, we just went with where the mood took us and enjoyed each day at our own pace. A big difference I noticed to previous festivals I’ve attended was the lack of distinction between campsite and arena. We had a small stage just two minutes from our tent, and you could walk freely between the main stages and camping without having to pass through gates.
We didn’t attempt sleep until the early hours of every morning, and unfortunately with the heat the tent was unbearable by around 8am. So every day we’d crawl out our tent, lay in the sun and slowly get ready for the evening ahead of us. Even though the festival offered things to go see all day, we were more interested in chilling during the day and partying in the evening, so we didn’t see what the daytime entertainment on offer was like. However from what I gather from the lineup and pictures, it looked awesome.
A big positive for this festival for me was it’s extremely remote location. It was very refreshing being away from phone reception, forcing people to enjoy both the performances and each others company and not caring about snap-chatting your day to the outside world.
This year, the organisers had also introduced a cashless system, using RFID tags on wristbands. It was a little disappointing they hadn’t pre-warned us about the $3.80 first time top-up fee, but it was an amazing system, not having to worry about carrying around a purse for the duration of the event.
I have only a few minor gripes with the festival. Firstly, the showering facilities and staff knowledge on the issue was a shambles. Twice I went to the showers and put my $2 coin in (and at $2 a minute it wasn’t cheap!) only to find the showers were out of order. The staff hadn’t put up any signs to warn us of this, so many people were doing the exact same as me. It then took multiple trips to information and being sent backwards and forwards before being given a refund, and no information on when the showers would next work. In typical festival style, there was also often a lack of toilet roll available, but that’s not really anything new. Minor issues really in the grand scheme of things.
Rabbits Eat Lettuce overall was an amazing festival was something to offer everyone, from hardcore partying to relaxing and doing yoga, there’s plenty to keep you entertained across the weekend. We all enjoyed it so much we’re hoping to go again next year!