Shore Thing @ Bondi Beach, Sydney (31/12/2012)

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Drunk, loud, brazen and a touch crass in places, Shore Thing is a strange and scary sight to the uninitiated and even a somewhat overwhelming one for the sober, regular festival-goer. It was my sobriety that made me better understand why there had been announcements made of Shore Thing’s demise, decided under duress by complaints from the more reserved local community. Something close to 15,000 fake tanned, semi-clothed, drunk, gelled, dance fans descend on Bondi Beach every year. It was no different on the last night of 2012, the day that Shore Thing as we know it has been tipped to die. And it was a strange and daunting sight for the unliquored such as myself and my accomplice, who trailed behind me.

It became apparent that once we grasped press passes, gained entrance and felt the push of shirtless, testosterone fuelled mobs, that the bar was the first place to head. After the sheer onslaught of people and astronomical booze prices (that’s so common among all music festivals it’s hardly worth noting) I went to work with the backing track of Fedde Le Grand’s mash of everything house pumping behind me, making my way through the crowds fenced into Bondi Beach Pavilion. After much more flash firing and shutter clapping, Peking Duk arrived in Fedde’s wake. With an interesting yet flawless mix of everything from current anthems to 90’s rave tunes, the huge moshpits, spread across three levels, began to pulsate. It was at this point that I realised my +1 had lumbered off in search of greater quantities of alcohol and a space to dance, as Peking Duk kept the set flowing and the crowd bouncing.

After spending the rest of their set barging, manoeuvring and shooting my way to the press pit, I was ready for Knife Party – and it became clear so to was the crowd, as the set kicked off chaos broke out in the moshpit. Bass faces, grinding, screaming, fist-pumping and a continual bounce spread through the crowd during the entire set. Internet Friends, the clear set standout, brought out the most warmly-produced, happily-sung death threat you’re likely to hear from a few thousand people. I couldn’t think of a better place for a solitary, slightly sobering photographer to be on New Year’s Eve.

That was a point accentuated by the emergence of the legendary Chemical Brothers. Opening with a lengthy build-up, the Brothers revved the anticipation into a sticky, sweat-clad mass crying out for a beat that finally dropped as the end of 2012 rapidly approached. As the countdown started, the beat continued and the eruption of fireworks, pashing and cheers washed over any signs of apathy in the front of me, everyone screaming in 2013.

As the last beat bounced out across the crowd and people began to disperse, my +1 re-emerged surprisingly intact, smiling. I returned the bright white beam and we both agreed that to deal with the harsh reality of Shore Thing’s demise and the growing crowds at the gates, strong drinks were once again required. So as we stumbled into 2013 in search of a glass-bottomed piece of mind, we knew that even if we had just witnessed Shore Thing’s last breath, it had gone out swinging.