My body has been ready for Newcastle’s This That festival ever since it was first announced back in July. Not only was this going to be the first large scale music festival held in Newcastle since the last Fat As Butter back in 2013, but this was also going to be the first festival where I would be acting as a photographer for Semplesize. Nerves were high, anticipation was higher and as I walked down the Foreshore towards This That I was buzzing.
Standing at the back of the This stage the fresh sea breeze was invigorating whilst I sat back and enjoyed the stages opening act a new age progressive hard rock instrumentalist group by the name of Majora. Bringing in a decent crowd that writhed along to their tracks which ended in a computerised reflective monologue.
It was still early in the day but people were throwing coloured Holi powered at each other and the Halloween costumes were out in numbers (shout out to the group of friends dressed as Vegetables and the three dudes in Spandex Nun outfits) and every one seemed like they were having a good time by the time the energetic Ivan Ooze stepped out. Dude got mad skills and the most energetic acrobatic posse I’ve ever seen. Things only got more heated up on stage when shirts were ripped off, I definitely saw a girl fanning herself at that point in the set.
Standing in the photographers pit is a little nerve wrecking. Being my first festival shoot I had no idea really what I was doing. Looking around everyone’s camera is bigger and better than mine I felt a little out of place. But want to know something photographers are really nice (at least all the ones that I met) and really helpful so here’s hoping I got at least three good photos.
I’m trying to think of words to describe the colour of Asta’s hair. It was kind of like a washed out orangeXpink which paired with her blue eyes, red lip and floral crown was just as striking as her powerful vocal display during her set. With outstretched arms and flawless vocal the Tasmania local was absolutely one of my standout sets of the day.
The This stage was dropping some back to back big female artist when next up was Tkay Maidza… or as I will forever now refer to her Tkay Slayz-ya. Tkay was also one of the only artist who seemed to be embracing the fact that it was Halloween dressed in a red cape and overalls with L.K Mckay in a skeleton onesie not only did Tkay bring the fiyah she bought the fun.
It was bout the time that I left the This stage where I had been spending most of my day and join the punters under the big top at That. The That stage was the more electronic based scene for the day. Under a big top, bathed in purple lights with inflatable shapes on the roof Kilter was the first act I witnessed at the That stage. It was probably one of the biggest crowd reactions that I had seen that far in the day as Kilter banged away on his drums and even assisted by vocalist Nicole Miller during his packed out set.
Bringing some classic Triple J indie-rock to the stage next was back to back sets from The Jungle Giants and Sticky Fingers. Both acts I had seen previously and hadn’t really vibed off. However it must of been the atmosphere in Newcastle that day because by the time both their sets had finished they had definitely won over a new fan for their posse’s.
At this point I should probably say that the best festival food I’ve ever had in the history of my festival attendance came in the for of Harry’s Schnitzel’s at This That. Seriously I’ve lived in Newcastle for most of my life and how I have not heard of these guys is just a shame to myself. If you’ve ever visiting Newcastle hit them up cause it is like some kind of food porn right there.
The Kite String Tangle’s set was shrouded in lights and smoke which did make it actually one of my hardest sets to shoot of the day. Danny was joined on stage for the first time by a live drummer which bought a whole new level of to the usual sleekness of his set. Busting through the classic TKST material and dazzling the crowd and myself it’s always clear why TKST has risen to such prominence within the Aussie music scene in such short time. I mean a year ago he was opening festivals, now he’s up there hitting with the big boys.
The sun had set whilst I had been inside at TKST and the festival grounds was bathed in light from 1000’s of twinning fairy lights strung up around the place. It was really quite magical and only added to the vibes of my last two sets of the night. The first was really some kind of religious experience for me, so much so that whilst shooting it I got so caught up in fan girling that I forgot to change the settings on my camera. The Birds Of Tokyo have been a favourite of mine since I was still in high school, and at that time I didn’t have anyone to go to gigs with me so I had missed out on them. Seeing these guys play live for the first time after years of loving their music just made me weak in the knees. Legitimate giddiness with excitement whilst the boys rocked out with the crowd swaying and dancing around to every last song including my biggest fan girl moment during Wild At Heart (hands in the air, tears in my eyes).
Closing out the festival and doing it with a massive light show was Aussie legends RÜFÜS. The boys were closing out their final Aussie tour of 2016 in Newcastle so you could feel that they were giving it everything they had which then of course just made the crowd go crazy. Lasers, layered synths and those honey vocals urgh could anyone of picked a better way to finish off This That’s first year? Probably not.
If this is just the first year of This That that means that this festival is only going to get bigger and better surely. I mean it exceeded all expectations of what a music in festival in Newcastle could be. A big thumbs up the promoters and everyone involved in the day for making it a smooth, flawless inaugural year. Everyone raise a glass to many more years of stellar festivals in Newcastle to come!!! (Also here are some Photographic efforts… did I do good?)