Festival Review: Wonderland – Langley Park, Perth (18.12.15)

Perth’s most nomadic festival returned to the city foreshore for the 2015 instalment over the weekend, bringing back previous innovations of the Teepee Village, that super casual boutique vibe and of course some killer artists.

Though the weather felt like it was going to be a torturously windy day, the parameters of the festival seemed to be keeping an eden of fine weather in as the jazz filled hip hop stylings of Koi Child echoed across the park. On entry it was like hitting an amusement park; do you jump on the bumper cars or get your fairy paint on point at the Teepee Village? Which bar do you even go to first, or is it already lunch time? I’d already forgotten how less hectic a festival with a main stage was, that you actually had the time to check out all the cool little touches without missing any crucial acts.

Sweater Beats was a good backdrop to all the energy going through the festival grounds as everyone just seemed super hyped for the day ahead, before Dune Rats took to the stage, walking on with a warped karoke of Adele’s “Hello” before jumping straight into their full nonsense rock jams. Dunies played their set with the usual electric tenacity leaping across the stage and getting the mosh bouncing like their lives were for this moment. Final song “Dalai Llama, Big Banana, Marijuana” seemed to be the stand out favourite, with punters shouting along with religious intensity and smiles on their faces.

Dune Rats (Credit: Matsu)
Dune Rats (Credit: Matsu)

An intermission of rapid can collecting for drink tokens seemed to ensue between each stage break, as people raced against cleaners for those cheaper/free drinks before returning for the next act. Safia blew on stage with their perfect mix of soulful haunting tracks crossed with upbeat electronic mixes that had the crowd hooked from start to finish between “Listen to Soul, Listen to Blues” and “Counting Sheep” the entire set seemed to be a hit with their sheer diversity of sound and onstage presence making for a great performance.

Unfortunately a sad sight was caught immediately after, taking away that positive festival vibe as a punter went from being escorted from the festival by security to quickly being attended to by first aid workers with a seizure in the blink of an eye. Whatever the confirmed cause was and whatever your stance on extracurricular activities, seriously, just stay safe out there this summer.

Hot Dub Time Machine came on with plenty of deck spinning as he dashed through 90 seconds of hits from each decade and made the crowd dance like confused three year olds. Even if hiss djing isn’t your type, you can’t say no to a little dose of Rage Against the Machine.

Hot Dub Time Machine (Credit: Mathieu Marunczyn)
Hot Dub Time Machine (Credit: Mathieu Marunczyn)

There wasn’t much representation by the unique food truck craze that has taken over Perth in the last few years, but that’s not to take away from the solid festival favourites like paella, gozleme and those awesome pizza guys that give you like, 50 pepperonis. The line for the silent disco had been long for most of the day speaking to the featured DJ’s skills to pull people away from the main stage, while the Teepee Village appeared packed and bustling all day with visitors parading their new braids, henna, glitter and threads.

The Kite String Tangle was a beautiful interlude between sunset and night as half the festival grooved under his gorgeous tunes, the festival setup lit up against the riverside twilight made for many a silhouettic palm tree shot. Looking back, it was quite a strange line up from amp up performances to those mellowed out acts and back, but it made for a leisurely day enjoying a few of the country’s favourites.

“Is she from New Zealand?” was probably the funniest thing I heard anyone say all day as the kiwi duo Broods took the stage with those stunning harmonies. Sadly, most of the vocalist Georgia Nott’s on stage talk was met by the crowd talking amongst themselves, but that didn’t stop the duo powering through their richly luminescent set that made the night seem like a dream. Tracks like “Bridges” and “L.A.F” getting the crowd singing and swaying as Georgia kicked off her shoes to dance all out.

Broods (Credit: Mathieu Marunczyn)
Broods (Credit: Mathieu Marunczyn)

The final headliner saw Alison Wonderland return to close the festival after being one of the daytime acts just a few years ago, and the excitement was real as the crowd seemed to be climbing shoulders like it was sport. A camera gave the view from the decks as the DJ/producer approached and threw us straight into some heavy dancing, confetti cannons setting off every other track as she ran through heavy hip hop to a remix of Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean?”, before bringing Slumberjack on stage for a quick hello as she spun their last collab. With plenty of opinions placed Alison Wonderland’s sets across her festival appearances and warehouse tours this was definitely a headline performance.

A seriously chilled out festival with all those small touches that only Metric seem to think of, like continuing the issue of timetables on punters wristbands and the Teepee Village helping to bring out people’s “inner hippie”. There were selfies by the picnic tables and a cheeky chunder by one poor soul, bars in every corner with the shortest lines I’ve seen and my boots are still full of confetti. With boutique festivals like these running around the calendar I don’t think I’ve ever missed the monster tourers (R.I.P)