There is nothing more exciting than an adventure, especially with a group of your best buddies. Whether you’re venturing internationally or just around the corner from home, there are so many road trip escapades to embark on. From day trips to weekends away, the road can take you anywhere, and between April and May each year, Australian’s hit the road to their nearest Groovin’ The Moo (GTM).
Australia’s only regional touring music festival presented by Cattleyard Promotions and supported by Triple J, Channel [V] and Spotify, GTM saw thousands of attendees flock to the hosting regional towns of Oakbank, Bendigo, Townsville, Bunbury, Maitland and Canberra last and this month as the festival ran for its 11th year.
Although it’s fundamentally a festival, it isn’t always about catching a glimpse of and groovin’ along to some world renowned acts from across the nation and globe, such as Jarryd James, Illy, Odesza, Twenty One Pilots and Golden Features to name a few. Many venture merely for the atmosphere and road trip adventure that accompanied.
I for one had very little knowledge of who majority of the twenty odd acts that the line up list consisted of were, and this year saw my first attendance at Bendigo’s Groovin The Moo.
Yet, for someone like myself, who has previously seen themselves immersed in the festival atmosphere between Australia, Norway, England and Kenya, I have a rough idea of what to expect when it comes to attending festivals, packing for them and just all-round general festival knowledge – such as always getting cash out prior to arriving to avoid the monstrous ATM lines at the festival itself.
All festivals are different and that is the first thing you need to learn, because that, my dear readers, determines key things such as outfit choice for starters, but also accommodation and transportation to and from the festival.
Festivals vary from one-day outings, to three-day benders and, for the ultimate experience, some even last as long as a week! Groovin’ The Moo, however, falls under the one-day category, lasting for twelve hours with a start time of 10am and finishing up around the 10pm mark. Knowing that it is a one-day fiesta is vital as it means you have to factor in considerations like if you are not from the area the festival is hosted in, are you going to travel up the day before or the day of the festival? Are you going to head home from the festival or arrange accommodation nearby? If you plan on staying the night, where are you going to stay? These are just some of the things you need to think about and organise well in advance.
Now that you know it’s only a one-day event, that narrows down how much you have to pack, but knowing what to pack can be a bewildering experience, especially if you’ve never been to a festival and aren’t sure about the dress code. Well let me tell you now, if you’re heading to the Bendigo based GTM, then take those booty shorts and braletes out of your bag this second because that is not the attire you will want to be wearing. There are two reasons for this; firstly, when GTM occurs it is no longer summer and the weather can be highly unpredictable, and secondly because of the location its held at, Prince of Wales Showgrounds, if the weather turns out to be wet it can get muddy, dirty and cold. Replace the shorts with jeans instead, by all means wear a crop top if you fancy but definitely take a jacket with you, especially if you plan on being there till the last act.
Although it’s no Coachella, if conforming to the face glitter festival stereotype is what you so wish to do, go for it. A big glitter advocate myself, I contently smeared some glitter on my face in a decorative manner and grooved away.
The next most important thing to plan, besides what to wear, is accommodation and transport. I would recommend travelling up the day/night before, this way you won’t be rushed the morning of the festival – plus it turns the one-day festival into a weekend adventure with your buddies. Where you stay is up to you, but things book really quickly so it is best to organise your accommodation well in advance.
You may decide to stay in the city centre so you’re closer to the show-grounds or perhaps you want that full on festival experience of camping, so staying slightly out of town at Big4 Bendigo Park Lane Holiday Park might be what you’re after. The latter is where I opted for, and would recommend to others for the reason that the entire holiday park is pretty much booked out by GTM attendees so the partying starts well before you even show up to the main event, the festival itself. Better yet, the holiday park is kind enough to organise your transport to and from the festival by running shuttle buses between the park, festival and city centre at the small cost of $10 per person – no need to book taxis or organise a designated driver, score!
Be warned though, if you decide to camp remember that the weather can be incredibly moody, and if you happen to find yourself, like I did, caught in a hurricane-like-storm, make sure you invest in the sturdiest tent possible. Otherwise opt to stay in one of the available cabins because, let’s be honest, you do not want to fumble around at an ungodly hour of the morning trying to gather your blankets and dive for cover in your car as your tent collapses and floods.
However, if staying overnight or camping isn’t your thing, you could always hop the V-line from Southern Cross to Bendigo station and grab one of the shuttle buses to and from the festival; just keep in mind it’s a two-hour train journey and probably not as fun as a weekend away would be!
There were so many highs to this trip, to name a few;
↠ the top bunch of friends I went with
↠ the atmosphere at the festival
↠ broadening my musical knowledge to bands and artists I’d never heard of before but now love
But having said that, there were some god awful down sides, including;
↠ having the absolute worst luck with food from being told we would have to wait an hour and a half for our breaky on Sunday morning, to finding hair in two meals, to eating at places where the food looked like it had been chewed and spat out (do NOT ever go to Pizza Hut all you can eat – it will be a number one regret in your life!)
↠ getting caught in what can only be described as the worst possible storm possible when camping – honestly I’ve nicknamed the storm Hurricane Bendigo it was that bad!
I guess not all trips can be absolutely perfect and, sometimes, it’s the unlucky events like Hurricane Bendigo that make the trip memorable and an experience.
All in all, this will definitely not be my last year attending GTM and I would totally recommend it to everyone!
Top tips when heading to GTM:
- Buy your tickets and plan your accommodation early as they sell out super quickly!
- Avoid the rush on the morning of the festival and head up the night before,
- Be open-minded – just because you don’t know some or all of the acts doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy yourself. At the end of the day, if you have a good group of friends with you, you can make any trip amazing!
- Plan your outfit accordingly. The weather may not fall into your favour, opt for jeans, boots and a groovy top and do not forget a JACKET!
- If you plan on drinking at the festival keep in mind that it is a 12-hour event, so don’t go too hard too early and be responsible,
- Most importantly, go with a good group of friends and have fun!