The Farmer And The Owl, 14th March ’15 – Across The Ocean

The Farmer And The Owl, 14th March ’15

A festival in the Gong is best approached reclining on the train and taking in the stupendous scenery on the coast hugging jaunt.

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This is precisely what we did, ensuring we arrived as content humans eager to see what The Farmer And The Owl festival had in store for us.

Wandering past some milkcrate art I find myself kicking back in an ergonomically designed wooden chair awaiting the arrival of Richard In Your Mind. Off to my left I double take at the sculptures of grazing wallabies. In front of me I take in the spectacle of relaxed individuals lazing supinely on the verdant grass. This could well be my kind of festival.

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R.I.Y.M are the perfect accompaniment to my present state of mind, easing us into festivities with a set of mellow psychadelia. The diminutive Richard Cartwright is brandishing a sitar which is almost as big as him as bounces around singing about the reciprocal nature of high fives.

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Whilst quirky lyrics are a vital ingredient to the band’s sound, it is their elongated instrumental jams that steal the show. The doobie smoke that wafts past and caresses my nostrils is indeed a fitting aroma.

Over in the carpark an unidentified delay holds up The Walking Who by about ten minutes.

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With the drumkit up front stage left and a keyboard player being spotlit by the sun we are drawn into a hypnotic show.

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Psychedelia is also on the cards here, albeit a slightly more rocking interpretation. Two bands down and thus far I am impressed.

Upstairs and indoors, Cabins take the stage with their dark surf sounds.

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Frontman Leroy Bressington appears to be in a garrulous mood, calling us “awkward cunts” and sardonically bestowing the virtues of the shambolic pool table downstairs. The hapless band manager’s face is the recipient of a non consensual dry humping as he attempts to fix a microphone issue.

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Serious music and tomfoolery combine nicely here to make an enjoyable show.

Melbourne’s The Peep Tempel are launching their assault from the carpark.

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Vocalist Blake Scott wishes “that sun would fuck off” but otherwise seems to be loving every minute. The crowd is expanding as these chaps pump out straightforward yet powerful rock songs.

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Dynamics and stage presence are big here, no doubt a result of their extensive touring.

Indoors again and youngsters Lunatics On Pogosticks are difficult to dislike.

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Fun is contagious and these boys are clearly having fun. They even wrote a song about it. Bouncing around in a manner befitting of their title this is good time punk rock filled with banter and songs about heavy topics such as coffee proclivities.

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Cappuchinos have never been sung about with such gusto.

Austimer locals Shining Bird bring to us simplistic acoustic epics.

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Armed with a heavy keyboard presence and a boost of additional percussion, these songs are all about building an atmosphere.

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Frontman Dave Taylor’s sparse lyrics and uncomplicated chords are the foundation from which each track climbs and climbs, leaving those spectating in a trance of sorts.

Hailing from Adelaide, Bad//Dreems punch out perhaps the most rollicking set of the day.

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Brimming with enthusiasm, main man Ben Marwe knows how to fire up the crowd (from both sides of the barrier).

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An intense perfrormance that ignites some suitably raucous audience participation culminates in a cranking cover of GOD‘s seminal ‘My Pal‘.

“We got the shit stage” quips one of the mulletted Drunk Mums, before embarking on a full throttle set of smart arse punk rock.

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These Melbournites fervently embrace bogan culture (sarcastically or genuinely, I’m not really sure) and throw in some slower grinding riffs to break up the pace. Vitamin D (about “the lack of fuckin’ sun in Melbourne) stands out as a memorable moment.

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A sore point for me was the missing tambourine player/ dancer, who really stole the show last time I saw them.

Throwing us back two decades were festival finishers Jebediah, who did seem like the odd one out on the bill.

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For the predominantly youthful crowd who weren’t around “back in the day”, it was the first hit of this band that for a while there seemed to pop up everywhere. The fans weren’t disappointed as they were treated to all the expected classics such as Leaving Home and Jerks Of Attention. Grinning from ear to ear, the band looked like they were having fun up there.

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After a long and satisying day out it was time for the long jaunt home. The ride home was less fun than the ride down, with the darkness rudely blocking out the view. The less than pleasant stench of a couple of recently deposited vomits didn’t help either. Even this couldn’t take away from what had been a fun outing at a well run and healthily attended event.

It will be of interest to see who The Farmer And The Owl throw our way next year.

Photos: Benon Julius William Otto Koebsch

Gavin Stocker

Gavin Stocker

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Outside of Across The Ocean Gavin Stocker writes, records and performs music under the moniker of P Truck.

He can also be found clinging to his youth on a skateboard or wandering aimlessly through the bush.
Gavin Stocker