Grey clouds hung in the sky 0ver the Mt. Penang Parklands where I found myself ready to take on the Mountain at the second instalment of the Mountain Sounds Festival. While the festival may still only be in its second year, the guys running Mountain Sounds put on a showcase of local talent that blew my mind.

I kicked off the day chilling in ‘Couch City’; a set-up of couches settled around the Unicorn Stage (aka the Main Stage). Watching some Central Coast local talent like three piece indie-rock ensemble Ivy kicked off the festival day nicely. The Blackbird Collective took to the MainStage next sporting a sound that was both effortless and beautiful. A cover of Lorde’s Royals really got the early festival crowd going. By the way, you know how each indie band needs that something different to set them apart? Well, these guys have a violinist and a rather talented one at that.

I stayed at the Unicorn stage reclining in my couch while the crowds grew for Little Earthquake and the quirky onstage presence of  Daniel Lee Kendall –  a festival set that I will remember for ever since it ended with him being carried off stage. Winterbourne also graced the stage and were probably one of the best acts I saw all day. I had heard about these guys before, and listened to a few snippets of their stuff, but live they’re just phenomenal.

I decided to get off the couch and explore the other things on offer – an art installation, a stage modelled from a bus and some of the best food I’ve ever had at a music festival. I could literally have eaten it all, and I would have, but I had to run through the crowds to see the next act on my list – the kick-ass ‘take no prisoners femcee’ Tkay Maidza on the Nuvo Dance Tent. I had been hanging out to see Maidza for a while now (I missed her at Laneway because of a schedule clash) but I finally got to see her in all her glory thanks to Mountain Sounds.  She did not disappoint. Working the tent with her flow backed by heavy RnB beats, she blew the roof of the place.

The Nuvo Dance Tent was where it was at for the afternoon. Safia ,who as always bought an insane energy and power to the their set, was followed by The Kite String Tangle whose live shows remains a must-see event in anyone’s lifetime. My stint in the tent ended with Touch Sensitivesomeone I’d never had the pleasure of seeing live before, but now I have, I want more.

By the time I left the tent the light had faded from the day and a light misting of rain had fallen over the festival grounds, making the mosh for The Jungle Giants all the more intense and surreal. Playing one of the last sets of the festival, they brought the crowd together around the Unicorn Stage, a huddled mass of bodies moving along in awe.

The sweat, rain and dancing may have left some a little tired, but from the moment festival headliner Alison Wonderland took to the stage all aches and pains were forgotten. The entire festival area exploded into new life moving to the beats Wonderland gave us all. The lights, the music; it was a completely euphoric ending to a boutique festival of epic proportions.

Mountain Sounds Festival put on one of the best showcases of local talent that this country has probably ever seen. Drawing in an eclectic mix of artists from different genres meant there was an artist to suit nearly everyone’s personal tastes. Plus, it’s the only festival I know of where you can relax on couches around the main stage – that’s a big tick on comfort! With the festival taking place in an idyllic setting on the Central Coast, Mountain Sounds future looks bright as one of Australia’s stand-out boutique festivals.

5 Things I Learnt At Mountain Sounds Festival

  1. Local acts rule and are absolutely kicking ass right now in the music world.
  2. People with hoola hoops in the mosh go hard, same for people in ponchos with their faces painted.
  3. The man bun is still alive and kicking with seemingly no possibility of stopping anytime soon.
  4. When you’re told to jump, you best damn jump.
  5. Just because it’s cloudy and grey doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t wear sunscreen…you’ll end up like me, bright red and in pain.


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