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For its third year in a row, Maroochy Music & Visual Arts Festival had turned the old Horton Park Golf Course into a gorgeously decorated amphitheatre for punters to escape to for their Saturday festivities. The festival showcases exquisite art from local artists and performances from Australian and international heavyweights.

When we arrived at the festival, we walked along the dusty, dirt path to the gates, which opened to reveal a whole new world of excitement and thrills. Eager to see what was in store, we were instantly mystified by the The Love Suite stage, which was home to DJs pumping out jams all day long. Further into the festival, we discovered the range of scrumptious food choices, from massive injectable doughnuts (you inject the doughnut, not you!), vegetarian feasts, seafood and loaded fries – you couldn’t walk past the stores without salivating.

The visual artists put their spray cans to work, creating intriguing designs on a graffiti wall haven, perfect for punters to get their Instagram snaps. The artists were in their natural habitat and produced a wall full of gloriously colourful masterpieces. Conrad Square, one of the visual artists returning for his second year, highlighted the festival with his vibrant oeuvre.

Smack bang in the middle of the golf course we were welcomed by the main stage, adorned with art designed by abstract artist Beastman.

Skegss were the first act I caught a glimpse of, quickly becoming an eager participant of their raucous crowd! The three dudes from Byron Bay were delighted to play for their Sunshine Coast fans. Their performance got ridiculously rowdy with Toby Cregan getting egged on to chug his drink before they headed into L.S.D.

“We’re called, umm, something,” chuckled Toby as the band began Spring Has Sprung. The screams and echoes of everyone singing along to the lyrics were seriously unforgettable. Skegss left an imprint on fans both new and established that afternoon.

While MMVAF is an 18+ the age range throughout the day was astonishing, but regardless of whether you were a seasoned festival attendee or this was your first festival, punters young and old came together for the love of music.

Northeast Party House continued the party with their funky dance moves and groovy beats. The Melbourne band played tracks off their 2014 album Any Given Weekend and 2016’s Dare in an electrifying show. The six-piece got everyone up onto their feet to crank out their edgiest dances moves to tracks like Calypso Beach. The atmosphere on stage and amongst the sea of festival goers was buoyant. To keep the energy alive, Zac Hamilton-Reeves faced the crowd and shot shirts into the crowd, getting fans to jump as high as they could to catch them. Northeast Party House definitely put on a stellar set and I’m looking forward to what the band has in store for the rest of the year.

The sun was slowly setting and some of us were starting to feel peckish, and, having already broken the seal, it was a relief to note that there were enough portaloos to accommodate everyone without a ridiculous line. Plus, snaps to the ground crew for keeping the festival grounds pretty close to spotless.

The short walk to the food stalls over the hill brought us passed giant inflatables shaped like eggs. Reaching between 3-5m high, these installations from DesignLab & Tiamco were dotted all around the grounds. Some people were having a little rest amongst the inflatables and taking photos of the cool set-up.

Heading around to The Love Suite stage, there was a decent group of folks getting down to the music that was being played underneath the flowing leaves of the bark trees. Around the grove, people were glimmering in the evening light after stepping out of the Glitted stall. Sparkles seem to be the staple item for festivals (still) and today was no exception.

Hitting the main stage after our little wander about the festival was Sydney duo Horrorshow. I had been looking forward to seeing these guys since Bardo State dropped earlier in the year. Horrorshow brought along Freddy Crabs from Sticky Fingers, who played the keys while Horrorshow delivered the goods. A personal favorite, Eat The Cake, was saved until the end of their set. Horrorshow gained the attention of many when they expressed their love for QLD, which warmed the hearts of many fans in the crowd.

While there wasn’t a Powderfinger reunion on the main stage like there was a Splendour In The Grass, Bernard Fanning gracing us with his angelic voice was performance enough, a powerful atmosphere settling over the amphitheater. “C’mon people clap your hands together or smack your drinks or what you’re doing these days” he laughed.

Bernard didn’t have to do much to get everyone singing along to some old favourites, from These Days to a recent track off his latest album called America (Glamour & Prestige). Ending the show with a stunning sunset unfolding behind him, Bernard left us with Wish You Well, leaving all of us captivated.

Receiving the news that their album debuted at #1 on the ARIA charts that same day was more of a reason for Gang Of Youths to celebrate. GOY are unstoppable when it comes to festivals, bringing us an epically ecstatic set that left us wanting more. The band – also a returning act to the festival – were humbled to be back in the heart of Maroochy. They gave us some old faves, including Strange Diseases, as well as tracks from their second LP Go Father In Lightness, including Atlas Drowned and What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out?

“Yes, we’ll play Magnolia. Well fucking alright then… maybe later,” laughed frontman David Le’aupepe as he kicked off into the next track.

Taking us on a journey in the final performance of the night was Alison WonderlandOnly recently coming back to Australia after touring in America, Alex Sholler was back on home soil ready to bring us a fiery performance (literally – fire and confetti included). Sholler was full of stamina and it felt as if the speakers were about to blow with the music getting louder by the second, Run vibrating through our cores. The crowd mirrored the drops during I Want U, punters on each other’s shoulders and the swarm of people dancing left, right and center on their final burst of energy.

Leaving was like herding cattle out of the gates. Slowly and steady everyone made their way out of the event safely. Punters who were still hyped about the night’s festivities were heading to the official after parties. This year MMVAF had most definitely achieved bigger and better – engaging fans young and old to come out and have a boogie and to form a new love for a band or artist.

For now, I’ve got to clean this glitter out of my hair and drink a few Poweraides to recover in time for next year’s festivities.

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