Splendour in the Grass 2019 gets underway on Friday at the main stage.
Splendour in the Grass 2019 gets underway on Friday at the main stage. Marc Stapelberg

Day 1: The unhealthy habit that ruins Splendour for many

WHEN did young people take up smoking again? Why is it still allowed everywhere in popular music events like Splendour in the Grass?

North Byron Parklands was looking its best on Friday - blue sky, bright sun, rolling hills, so a beautiful venue welcomed 42,500 people for the opening day of the 19th version of Splendour in the Grass.

Every year, Splendour brings up clear trends in fashion, music and popular culture, and despite the venue going cashless, banning plastic straws, discouraging the use of glitter, making compostable food containers mandatory, offering water fountains and banning plastic bottles, the main trend amongst young people this year was smoking.

It was impossible to avoid - the smell of tobacco was clear in the moshpit, around the food trucks, in the Gold Bar backstage, amongst the tipi forest and even in the (gasp!) new VIP Village.

If people are not allowed to wear Native American headpieces due to cultural sensitivities, why are they allowed to smoke freely around the festival?

Yes, it is an outdoor event, but we wonder how hard will it be to pick up all those thousands of cigarette butts once the event is over.

And the event is quite busy, the biggest ever, with 42,500 people congregated at North Byron Parklands.

Splendour crowds: WITH a total capacity of 42,500 people, 7,500 more than last year, this Splendour is the biggest ever and crowd movement has been controlled more than before to ensure people are safe and have fun, even when walking among thousands.
Splendour crowds: WITH a total capacity of 42,500 people, 7,500 more than last year, this Splendour is the biggest ever and crowd movement has been controlled more than before to ensure people are safe and have fun, even when walking among thousands.

Northern Rivers talent took control

Another clear trend on Day 1 of Splendour in the Grass 2019, and a much more positive one, was the number of Northern Rivers residents showing off their talents on a number of stages.

First it was young artist Tones and I.

 

Tones and I performs at Splendour in the Grass 2019 in Byron Bay.
Tones and I performs at Splendour in the Grass 2019 in Byron Bay. Marc Stapelberg

Originally from Victoria's Mornington Peninsula, Tones And I, also known as Toni Watson, moved to the Byron Shire in early 2018 to take a chance at busking.

From the first day, she had crowds spilling onto the street, so she quit her retail job and made Byron Shire her new home.

After uploading her first release song, Johnny Run Away, to triple j unearthed last February, Triple J's top presenters gave the song an unprecedented buzz and the track had its first spin on the national broadcaster the same day.

She released a new single earlier this week, Never Seen the Rain, a song that will feature on The Kids Are Coming, Tones And I's debut six-track EP, which will be out at the end of the August.

A bit later, Northern Rivers creator Cate McQuillen went on stage with Dirtgirl for a music show dedicated to the youngest of mini rockers at Little Splendour, the family-friendly area at the event.

 

SHOW FOR THE LITTLE ONES: Dirtgirl and creator Cate McQuillan performing at Little Splendour on the first day of Splendour in the Grass 2019.
SHOW FOR THE LITTLE ONES: Dirtgirl and creator Cate McQuillan performing at Little Splendour on the first day of Splendour in the Grass 2019. Javier Encalada

The all-female band rocked the Little Splendour area and featured the music abilities of an Emmy-winning eco-friendly franchise that is about to celebrate its tenth anniversary.

And then, Wolfmother went on stage at the Amphitheatre.

The Australian hard rock band formed in Sydney in 2004, is centred around vocalist and guitarist Andrew Stockdale, who is the only constant member of the line up and a long-time Northern Rivers resident.

To say that Stockdale shone and left all his energy on stage is an understatement.

 

Wolfmother perform at Splendour in the Grass 2019 in Byron Bay.
Wolfmother perform at Splendour in the Grass 2019 in Byron Bay. Marc Stapelberg

Stockdale began recording material for a fifth Wolfmother album at Dave Grohl's Studio 606 in Los Angeles, USA, earlier this year.

Yesterday's performance not only showed the band's solid stage presence but it also confirmed how much young audiences enjoy what the band has to offer.

Some of the bands that were highlights of the first day of the festival were UK rapper Dave at Mix Up tent and Australian band Tame Impala, who took the music at the Amphitheatre all the way to midnight.

Meanwhile, in Mullumbimby...

It was cold and dark, but the Leagues Club in Mullumbimby was a centre of activity as the official drop off / pick up location for the festival.

A new feature of the event, Splendour organised ample parking at the club so parents and friends were able to wait for young music lovers to come back from the festival in a place that was safe and well illuminated, with plenty of security crews and away from the buzz of the festival.

 

DROP OFF: Buses waiting for music lovers travelling from the Mullumbimby Leagues Club to Splendour in the Grass 2019 on the fist day of the event.
DROP OFF: Buses waiting for music lovers travelling from the Mullumbimby Leagues Club to Splendour in the Grass 2019 on the fist day of the event. Javier Encalada

Today's line up:

Some of the artists in the list for today are:

- American musician, actor and DJ Childish Gambino (Atlanta's Donald Glover)

- Aussie rock goddess Courtney Barnett

- Byron Shire-resident Dope Lemon (Angus Stone)