Foreshore @ Commonwealth Park, Canberra (24/11/2012)

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Foreshore 2012 was what many would regard as the ideal festival day. The sun was shining, the punters were pumped and the lineup looked as though it could cater to every kind of crowd.

I’m new to Canberra, but have been to my fair share of festivals in other states so I was anxious to see how our humble little capital measured up. I think I was expecting a calmer crowd of 20-something public servants, there to enjoy a peaceful day of sun and music. It was a bit of a rude awakening to see the masses of 18 year olds who seemed as though this was not only their first festival but their first time let out of the house.

I got to Foreshore and the HiTop stage just as Major Lazer were finishing up. I caught the end of Get Free and realized that this festival was the real deal. The crowd lapped up every second of the show and it really set the scene for the kind of day it was going to be. Example was next, back at the Kicks stage, just after 1.30. He had taken to Facebook earlier in the day to announce his set times and implore his fans to bring their party feet and ravey faces. Everyone there definitely got that memo as the crowd braved the scorching sun and let loose to Elliot Gleaves stellar set.

The stand out of the day for me came at 2.30 when Calvin Harris took to the Kicks stage. It was close to two hours of continually amazing tunes, with everything from his own Feel So Close, to Justice’s We Are Your Friends. He mixed Bounce with Swedish House Mafia’s Save The World, and The Chemical Brothers Block Rockin Beats with Florence + The Machines You’ve Got The Love. Almost everyone in the area was up and dancing, and those that weren’t needed no more convincing once he played his and Rihanna’s We Found Love. I even witnessed a girl with a foot cast, jump up and limp as close to the crowd as possible, just to get amongst the incredible atmosphere. His set was topped off with Florence Welch’s gorgeous vocals when he played Sweet Nothing, and it really was one of the sweetest points of the day.

Tiesto jumped on the same stage next and it was clear that the majority of festival goers had been anxiously awaiting his set. What was a bit disappointing was that so many people were sitting down, watching, instead of up and dancing. Playing so early, coupled with the fact that most people had exerted all their energy during the last two acts, meant that the crowd couldn’t really appreciate Tiesto’s set. I think it would have been ideal if he was saved for a later time, when the sun had gone down and people were revving back up and more inclined to listen to his upbeat, electronic goodness. That said, he played a fantastic set, including one of my favourites; his mix of The Naked And FamousYoung Blood.

I rushed to the Hi-Top stage and managed to catch the second half of Flume’s set, which was as incredible as I expected. The beautiful tunes were just like melting ice in the fiery ears of the entire floor. It would have been lovely to witness the set outdoors, under the calming sun, with more room to dance and just enjoy the set in general, but Flume overame physical settings and his soulful beats transported the crowd from a sweaty, intense mosh to a serene paradise.

The Rubens were up next, back at the Kicks stage and they played an incredibly charming set – even the young lady projectile vomiting near the security barrier couldn’t detract from the gorgeous atmosphere. The one drawback was that they didn’t attract a massive crowd and would have probably been better suited at the Hi-Top stage, whileThe Stafford Brothers and Timmy Trumpet would have definitely pulled enough bodies to fill the entire lawn in front of the Kicks stage.

Illy was a welcomed addition to the day, bringing some chilled boom-bap to the high-octane festival. I wasn’t surprised – but I was very impressed – with the numbers he pulled, especially considering he was on at the same time as Tommy Trash. It was also amazing to see the calibre of people bopping along to his tunes. They were all genuine fans, excited to see him live, as opposed to so much of the day where it seemed as though people were up and dancing just for the sake of it.

Whilst Illy was rocking the Kicks lawn, Tommy Trash had packed out the Hi-Top stage, and sweaty bodies meshed together to form a heaving mob of elated fans. The highlight of his set for me was his mix of The White Stripes Seven Nation Army. His entire set was nothing short of dynamic, but the whipping of hair and dripping of sweat during this song really was the cherry on top of a super-sweet sunny-dae.

The end of my Foreshore experience came with a kinetic set from electro prince Zedd. Pretty much everyone I spoke to over the course of the day was saving themselves for this and it was well worth the wait. Unfortunately by this stage, a fair amount of people had taken as much as they could in terms of heat and all else that comes with the festival atmosphere, but Zedd’s set topped off the electro-house heavy weights and I left Foreshore quite content.

Looking back, there were definitely issues with set times, but in saying that, no crowd will ever be happy with the line-up and timing of acts. The crowd was also a bit rowdy, with people getting escorted (conscious or not) out before it even hit midday. A friend of mine summed things up quite aptly by scoping the scene during the afternoon and claiming that he had lost all faith in humanity. In saying that, every festival attracts its fair share of drop kicks, just like every festival is flooded with true music lovers and people that are there to enjoy the day and everything encapsulated in the festival experience. My initial analysis was a bit disenchanted but looking back, I’m thoroughly impressed with Foreshore and the fact that our fair little city can attract such incredible acts and put on such an insane festival.

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