Back for a second year, Harvest Festival took place at Parramatta Park on 17 November. Unlike other Australian music festivals that cram the same local artists onto the line up every year, Harvest books mainly international bands. The local bands played their sets early and left us to enjoy a festival of acts we might never see again.
The Dandy Warhols were on early at The Great Lawn stage. There were a few problems with their sound; the bass was drowning Courtney Taylor Taylor’s vocals and Zia McCabe’s keys. It isn’t until the hits ‘Bohemian Like You’ and ‘Get Off’ that the crowd started to pick up and show some enthusiasm but unfortunately, the set felt like a let down.
Cake played later on The Great Lawn stage and seemed to forget that people were there to see the hits, not their new stuff. The absence of ‘Short Skirt, Long Jacket’ was incredibly disappointing for many who were only watching their set to hear that song. Playing ‘Never There’ and ‘The Distance’ right at the end added to that frustration.
Ben Folds Five drew a huge crowd over on The Windmill Stage and rightly so. The poor sound that had tainted a couple of bands earlier had been fixed, and you could hear Ben Folds’ distinctive voice clearly for ‘Brick’ and ‘Dicks on the Wall’.
Back at The Great Lawn stage, it was time for Beck. He swaggered out with an impressive light show and a talented band. The best moment of the day was at sunset, singing: “I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?” with thousands of other people. ‘Where It’s At’ had everyone moving and gave Beck the title of act of the day. The mixture of acoustic and electronic and of old and new tracks was just right.
Sigur Ros brought their atmospheric, mesmerising live show out to a huge crowd on The Great Lawn. Their music is not something I would usually listen to but paired with some amazing images on a huge screen behind them, it was very easy to get lost in it.
Santigold finished up the night on The Windmill Stage with a huge party. Everyone in the crowd was pulling out their best dance moves, trying to keep up with her dancers. The whole set was fun from start to finish and the perfect way to end a great festival.
Harvest brings something different to the Australian festival scene, friendly attendees and a relaxing atmosphere. You can tell you’ve attracted the best kind of people when the huge line snaking its way down the hill isn’t for the bar – but for the vegetarian Indian food stall. Well done Harvest, you were definitely my favourite festival of 2012.