Starting the two and a half hour drive to the costal community of Busselton I was greeted with a halt as congestion filled the Kwinana Freeway. It seemed everyone was heading down south to see a whole lot of great Australian music.
The Drop Festival had a different vibe, one that I haven’t experienced before. It was a lot more laid back and relaxed, allowing me to enjoy the tunes in the company of the large audience that had made their way to Busselton for the weekend.
Arriving at the bustling community to the sun shining and people huddling at the entry with anticipation I knew I was in for a real treat.
Starting the day was the triple J unearthed winner local Margaret River boy, ASKYA, who’s spent the last year writing and producing in a cabin in the Swiss mountains or in his little beach shack not too far down the coast. His airy, angelic vocals matched his blend of folk and electronic textures, whisking the crowd away to his cabin in the Swiss mountains while he strummed his guitar.
I got Ed Sheeran vibes from his voice but in a much more alternative way. I’m not the only one who expects big things from this 20 something year old with a whole lot of confidence and charm.
The family friendly event brought crowds as next on the lineup was Alex the Astronaut, the blonde haired blue eyed girl making the trip from Sydney to delight her fans with her indie-pop tracks that are filled with strong lyrics, vocals and guitar.
Starting her set with ‘Waste of Time’, which was released in 2018, she spread contagious smiles across the audience, including the big grin spread across my face.
She began to talk about her hit single ‘Not Worth Hiding’ which was realised in 2017, the song that helped her break through, with lyrics speaking about how young people should be confident about who they and that there is nothing worth hiding.
“If you’re a young person and life is getting too hard please reach out to lifeline it really helps and your worth it.”
Alex the Astronaut finished with Happy Song one of her newer tracks, and it did really make everyone happy.
Seagulls tried their best to swoop down and grab left over scraps of pizza and chips from tables surrounding the food vans. The smell of the ocean was fresh in the air and the costal breeze swept through the big top tent as people gathered for the next act.
Two groovily dressed men from Melbourne graced the stage with their nineties inspired synth pop, which is pretty infectious. Client Liaison bounced around the stage throwing out dance moves that any daggy dad would be proud to see.
They paused their set to say thank you to the audience and to say how grateful they were to be in WA.
“Turn around and look at that beautiful sunset, we are so lucky to be performing in such a beautiful state, even the weather is great today.”
The whole crowd was filled with energy as they played banger after banger ending their set with ‘World Of Our Love’ a track that has had more then 10 million plays on Spotify.
As the sun set and a beautiful orange purple dusk filled the sky, you could definitely tell it was the first day of winter as the cold wind started to grip your skin. I worried a bit for the multitudes of people who didn’t bring jackets for the night sets. The would only have their bliss to keep them warm.
Waiting patiently at the stage as time began to tick past the start time for Hockey Dad, I looked to the fence and was greeted with thousands of patiently waiting fans who continued to chant ‘Hockey Dad’ in hopes they would come out sooner. The lights dimmed, the music stopped and the boys ran out onto the stage. Without speaking they jumped into ‘Homely Feeling’ from their last album Blend Inn, released in 2017.
Drummer Billy Fleming took the time to apologise to the crowd. “Sorry for being a bit late everyone, it’s Zachs bloody pedal board, play drums instead.” He insisted to the audience. Followed by vocalist/guitarist, Zach Stephenson saying they would have to play a little shorter set.
After playing a few more of their popular songs they took the time out to speak to the audience.
“It’s been a month since the last Drop Festival so in the mean time we’ve been making some new music. Here’s a new one from the album we’ve been working on, we hope you like it.” They then played a new track which had the audience in awe as everyone continued to dance.
Hockey Dad ended their set by giving the audience a choice of ‘So Tired’ or ‘Seaweed’ with the choice being ‘Seaweed’, one of their most laid back tracks from their first album Dreamin.
Seeing a few familiar faces amongst the crowd I was in awe at how many people had filled the small grassed area, all of them smiling and having a great time, even if it was bloody cold by now.
Jungle Giants thankfully brought a lot of heat to the stage, gracing Busselton with drinks in their hands and wide grins on their faces as they grabbed their instruments and jumped straight into their set.
“We’ve just been touring around America and it’s so nice to come home to such a warm and friendly crowd,” The Brisbane band told us as they had a breather between songs.
Lead singer Sam Hales stole the show with his incredible energy, dance moves and contagious smile that spread across the almost sold out festival. Grabbing a pair of white sunnies that had been thrown on stage, without the frame attached he balanced them over his eyes and continued to sing before throwing them off in a dramatic manner.
After performing hit single ‘She’s A Riot’ a member of the audience threw a hat on stage.
“That train driver and I have a connection he threw his hat, I wore it, I threw it back it landed on his head, he’s in the band now.” Hales laughed as the audience screamed out for more of his amazing dance moves.
Finishing the night were the Stone siblings who had the biggest audience of all. Everyone had been braving the cold winds just waiting for them to walk onto the stage, and when they did they certainly caused an uproar of screaming, applause and I’m sure there was crying.
The two danced around the stage as Julia Stone began with strong and warm vocals and smiles as she gazed across the full tent. Angus Stone would continue to jump in for backup vocals but happily cruised around stage playing his guitar.
They said a very big hello to the Busselton audience and a big thank you for coming out.
“It’s the last of the Drop Festivals tonight and we just want to thank each one of you for coming out and supporting us, I hope you’ve enjoyed your day.”
The next song Julia took the lead as she even blessed us with a trumpet solo with guitar still in hand. Her glittery boots shone in the bright lights as well as the audiences twinkling eyes as they were in such awe of her talent. Angus spent most of this song sitting with the drummer and drinking his glass of wine.
Angus then stole the stage with his single ‘Coyote’ from his side project, Dope Lemon, who have just released a new single. He had the whole crowd swaying from the groovy song and his very strong vocals.
Finishing the night with a bang Angus and Julia Stone stole many hearts and I can say I am much more of a fan after seeing them up close and personal.
The Drop Festival had a different vibe, one that I haven’t experienced before. It was a lot more laid back and relaxed, allowing me to enjoy the tunes in the company of the large audience that had made their way to Busselton for the weekend. I really enjoyed the family friendly atmosphere and would love to attend again. I was smiling all day seeing everyone enjoy themselves and the company of each other and if your yet to attend the Drop Festival, please promise me you’ll go next year!