We walked through the gates of the music festival in the vines Hot Dub Wine Machine (HDWM) and were greeted by a giant blow-up wine bottle, Luen Jacobs killer DJ set booming out over the vineyard and a group of head-banded guys in spandex leotards drinking their wine out of the bottle through their long joined straws. They were absolutely hilarious and my first thought was ‘this festival is going to get loose’.
I hadn’t been to a festival in a vineyard before and was intrigued by the sound of this boutique event having capped numbers, bubbles and wine served by the bottle, delicious food trucks and only one stage where each act performed one after each other. It sounded very grown up and civilized, no rushing around from stage to stage chasing my faves and certainly not like the festivals I had been used to in my peak festival-going days.
We made our way down the hill to a chilled and sprawled out shade-chasing crowd. Picnic blankets were down, gourmet hampers were being nibbled on, minted cocktails, bubbles and wine were being sipped upon. It was a very relaxed, settled in and pacing yourself kind of vibe. First impressions were erased.
We decided to wander around before settling in and the grounds of the vineyard were gorgeous with a running river on one side and well-established trees dotted around providing heaps of shade. ‘The Goonies’ area had been set up for VIP’s with a frontal view of the stage and included a private bar, bench chairs and tables, lounging chairs and a red carpet which led to a vine-rimmed photo frame. Off to the side of the stage was ‘The Cellar Door’ area which included a cocktail bar, lounges, a giant chess board and Connect 4, a glitter station, vintage clothes, flower headdress stalls and also a red carpet area ending with two high-backed chairs for photos. One thing was for sure, chairs in both of these areas were coveted by all. If you nabbed one, you thought twice before you left it because they was like fresh meat amongst a bunch of cheerful but hungry vultures.
It was impossible not to notice the ATM line being a mile long (continuing to be for the whole festival) and there were signs on every outlet saying CASH ONLY. I was glad I threw some money in at the last minute. It highlighted how much of cashless society we had become and as we lined up to get a drink we heard grumbles all around us from people who didn’t bring cash and then couldn’t pay by card.
We had VIP access so we headed down to The Goonies and before long two of the coveted seats were free and we set up with a perfect view of the stage and there we settled in for a while. The headliner for the day was Hot Dub Time Machine and he was supported by Sneaky Sound System, The Kite String Tangle, Touch Sensitive, Luke Million, Tom Tilly (who was our compere and also a DJ), Owl Eyes, Luen Jacobs and Falcona DJs.
Talented artist Owl Eyes (aka Brooke Addamo) performed songs from her new album ‘Nightswim’. She asked us to please be kind as she had only performed them live twice before, before smashing it out of the park.
Tom ‘let’s get this party started’ Tilly set up next with a DJ set of classic party anthems like ‘Sing Hallelulea’ ‘Everybody’s Free’ ‘World Hold On’ and Rihanna’s ‘Please Don’t Stop The Music’.
Luke Million took to the stage with vintage synths and bad-ass drum machines, inundating us with his unique and contagious sound. He was an awesome one-man show, absolutely went off on his keytar and performed his new single ‘Come Together’.
Touch Sensitive (aka Michael Di Francesco) performed some songs from his debut album ‘Visions’ and the sound he created playing bass was incredible. The crowd responded with a flood of people rushing to the dance floor and he ended his set with his popular single ‘Lay Down’.
We were asked to forget about our worries and be present with each other on this beautiful night by The Kite String Tangle (aka Danny Harley). He was definitely crowd fave and there were many arms up in praise and the start of some shoulder dancing. He took us on such a musical journey with his songs, many from his self-titled debut album which included ‘The Prize’ and ‘Arcadia’. He finished off with his remix of Fat Boy Slim’s ‘Praise You’ and had everyone up moving in appreciation.
It became clear by the stage rush that a large portion of the people in the crowd were there to check out Sneaky Sound System. They opened with ‘Do Ya Thing’ and continued with some interesting renditions of their classics ‘Pictures’, ‘I Love It’, ‘Kansas City’ and finally ‘UFO’ which had people all over the festival dancing as well as on the dance floor.
Tom Tilly came back to the stage introducing the final act and headline Hot Dub Time Machine (aka Tom Loud). “It’s time to get f#cking loose!” he cried. A countdown appeared on the screen behind the stage and the song ‘The Final Countdown” started playing. Anticipation built, and at zero Hot Dub Wine Machine appeared behind his deck and shouted “hope you’ve had a great day, we are going to bring this thing home”. The large oversized clock wound back to 1954 and his signature time-travelling set began with ‘Rock Around The Clock’. He had everyone reliving their happiest partying moments and up dancing through the decades.
Although our day partying in the vines had come to an end, the crowds seemed to have an absolutely cracking time and were leaving with huge smiles on their dials.
IMAGE (c) Patrick Stevenson