In its inaugural year, Good Things Festival came through Australia in a whirlwind, playing Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in three consecutive days. Parramatta Park became a dustbowl, as foot traffic on the dry ground, mixed with 30 degree heat, caused the venue to look like a scene from Mad Max. With hopes we will see Good Things again in the future, here are some of the biggest talking points of the festival
WAAX warmed the crowd up early Brisbane natives WAAX pulled a huge crowd for early in the day. Staring at 12 45 – the second band to play on the side stage, following Ecca Vandal – WAAX put on a show for the punters smart enough to get there early. Frontwoman Maz DeVita performs with enthralling energy, earning their place on the line up and leaving punters wondering why they weren’t on the main stage.
Some bands suffered from the Under 18s ban After “exorbitant police fees” forced Good Things to cancel tickets and deny entry for those under 18, some bands on the bill had crowd sizes significantly lower than other cities. Notably, All Time Low had an all time low crowd, and US band Waterparks saw three times the amount of their crowd waiting at the next stage over for hometown heroes Northlane to play. This didn’t slip by unnoticed, with several salty quips coming the crowds way.
Aussie talent brought the crowds The Aussie contingent made up one third of the bands on the line up, however most of them played early in the day. But with the likes of WAAX, Ecca Vandal, Make Them Suffer and Void of Vision on the line up, it showed that Australian music is nothing to be scoffed at. Sydney band Northlane pulled one of the biggest crowds of the day, and ripped into their performance with gusto, leaving nothing in the tank. Complete with ten foot high flames and lilac confetti (the only band to have confetti, bar Corey Taylor’s signature confetti cannon), Northlane gave their all to the hometown crowd that had come to greet them.
Over on the side stage, Tonight Alive and The Smith Street Band put on performances not to be scoffed at, and pulled in loyal crowds despite dealing with some heavy hitter clashes (The Used and Stone Sour, respectively).
Babymetal absolutely smashed it Hitting our shores for the first time ever, Babymetal saw people lined up outside the venue well before gates. With cult-like fanfare, the front barricade was draped in Babymetal signs and flags as loyal fans rushed the gates to be right up front – braving hours in the blistering sun watching the bands on before Babymetal.
Babymetal had easily one of the biggest crowds for the day, and the beautifully dressed and choreographed women on set did not break a sweat, despite the 30+ degree heat. Opening on Megitsune, they had diehard fans dancing along in sync, and even the curious bystanders were dancing by the end. Finishing their set a bit early, clocking in at 7 songs, Babymetal did not disappoint on their first Australian visit, and any promoter worth their weight will be doing their best to get them out here on a solo tour.
Palaye Royale drew the short straw Competing with Babymetal was always going to be a hard one, but Palaye Royal did it with style, also on their maiden voyage to Australia. Despite playing to a mere handful of people, they put their all into it, literally hanging from the rafters at one point. A rousing cover of My Chem’s Teenagers brought a few stragglers in, but a well-oiled performance wasn’t enough to tempt over the crowd from Babymetal, and Palaye Royal’s lost some well-deserved viewers due to drawing the short straw and clashing with Babymetal.
Side stage setbacks For all the talent running through it, the side stage wasn’t without its hiccups. The stages themselves were small, barely fitting some of the bands, and not allowing much room for on stage movement, while the photo pit had photographers and security guards squashed in like tinned sardines. There were also some issues with the sound, with The Smith Street Band’s set sounding like a bassy, muddled mess at times. There was also the sad incident of a security guard having a heart attack and passing away during Tonight Alive’s set. This was handled with professionalism and care by all involved, security, ambos, and also by the crowd. We send condolences to his family and loved ones, and hope they find comfort in knowing those at the festival did everything they could.
The internationals brought the goods – and the nostalgia. Good Things was a festival that was nostalgia-heavy, bringing bands along such as Dashboard Confessional, The Offspring and The Used. Unfortunately with some olders bands, they reign it in for their live shows, knowing that they will pull a crowd regardless, and they just put on a sub-par performance. Happily we can say that none of the bands at Good Things were like that. Every single band put on a tight, energetic and emotive performance. Dashboard Confessional had people in tears, playing The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most in full, while over on the main stage The Offspring (playing Smash in full) had fans young and old enthralled. Dexter Holland still has his signature vocals – showing them off in a piano rendition of Gone Away. Closing the festival on The Kids Aren’t Alright, festival goers went home sunburnt, covered in dust, and knowing they had just seen something special.
Good Things is set to become the next Soundwave – if it fixes a few hiccups The location was great for a mid-sized festival, but the entry and exit points need to be bigger to accommodate for the crowds. There was a good selection of food trucks, catering for all tastes and having enough around that the lines didn’t end up being 45 minutes long by dinner time. A stellar lineup of bands who all put their heart into their performances – despite being on the second day of a three day festival run, and the second day of 30+ degree heat. Parramatta Park was turned into a dustbowl by the foot traffic, and the lack of shade was an issue, with large groups of punters huddled around whatever trees they could find. With a few minor fixes, if Good Things brings a second year as good as the first, it is set to become the festival Australia needs.