A guide to surviving Splendour

23 July 2014

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This weekend marks the annual Splendour in the Grass music festival in Byron Bay, where thousands are gathering to the inevitably muddy campsite setting for the three-day event.

But before they pack, there are some crucial things that are required to handle the 72 hours of music celebration. If you are making your way to the festival, these tips may help you on your journey.


If you are serious about enjoying Splendour, you are either going to bring gumboots or you are buying them at the venue.

Before the festival starts your shoes will be ruined if you don’t put on gumboots, and by day three you will be shin deep in mud. So bring gumboots, please.

Portable phone charger

There are three choices on this one; pay for charging inside the festival grounds, don’t use your phone or bring a battery powered charger.

The charging tents do actually charge your phone, but they aren’t free and there is a long wait to get to them. So if you are planning on getting the perfect Snapchat of Art vs Science to brag about seeing them, bring a battery powered charger. Otherwise you will have to just put your phone away and actually enjoy the performances, as boring as that sounds.


Bringing alcohol into the ground is strictly forbidden, but there is nothing stopping you from bringing 25 bags of Doritos. Not everybody is prepared enough to bring their own portable barbeque (although it would be handy to make friends with somebody who does), so loading up the car with a mountain of snacks is a genius idea.

It goes without saying that food inside the grounds is expensive, so bring as much food as your car can carry, or if you are flying fill an extra suitcase with boxes of shapes. Just don’t expect to eat nutritionally over the weekend.

Plan out your timetable in advance

Or don’t. This is always a sticking point with festival goers. If you are desperate to fit Ball Park Music and Peking Duk into your schedule make sure you plan where you are going on the way to Splendour. There’s nothing worse than missing out on seeing your favourite band because your musically-challenged friend dragged you to the wrong place.

On the other hand, sometimes it is best to go with the flow. So often the bands that you pass over when re-reading the line-up put in the best performances. You may not have listened to much of Danny Brown before Splendour, but could walk away his biggest fan. Perhaps following the crowd from stage to stage is more your style. Choose your path wisely.

Save your wardrobe

Leave your best clothes at home. You will want to be comfortable during the car rides up and back, so wear your tracksuit pants and leave your favourite jeans at home. Bring that fourth pair of jeans you have at the back of the wardrobe, because it will get ruined and you will be happy just to throw them out afterwards.

Also, don’t bring anything white. It will never be white again.

Don’t expect to look your best

First off, don’t expect to enter day three looking at your best. You will be run down, dirty and smelly, but so is everybody else. If you can get yourself to the shower block every day, do it! It will make you feel better about yourself, but odds are you will be engulfed in stink once you put your clothes back on.

Load up on deodorant and your favourite make-up if you choose, but at the end of the day everybody is going to be worse for wear. When it comes to beauty, the festival always wins.

Rest up before the event

You will probably spend 48 hours before the festival sitting in a car, but try to stay rested. Splendour is a marathon, and it will involve more dancing than Shirley Temple. Don’t expect to be off your feet for very long, but do expect to find yourself dancing to some random DJ in a Native American themed area at 3:00am, because the vibe is good.

Brag to all your mates

Fill your Facebook with road trip photos on the way there, and then tell everybody at length about the top five performances of the festival. Besides the memories, why else are you going other than to let everybody know you went?


Josh Barnes is a second-year Bachelor of Journalism (Sport) student at La Trobe University. You can follow him on Twitter: @barnseyy