An eclectic mix of artists, a well-designed space and an energetic but controlled crowd made Canberra’s Groovin the Moo a festival success. Showcasing a mix of musical genres, with buttery pop from the likes of Jack River and Angie McMahon, indie rock energy from DMA’S and Holy Holy, and a pool of popular RnB, electronica and DJ sets, Groovin spread wide its artistic calibre.
The day hit off with powerful vocals from Angie McMahon, who took centre stage, whilst the likes of electronica trio Haiku Hands and Rejjie Snow hyped crowds in the equally-packed, tented Moolin Rouge stage. Following McMahon’s caressing vocals on the Cattleyard stage and energy from young and emerging Aussie talent G Flip, US artist A$AP Twelvvy started to lift the crowd’s energy with his hip hop stamina. Meanwhile, crowds were pumping to the cheeky electronica of Wafia.
Thelma Plum provided soulful pop on the centre stage, before queen of sugary 2000s-inspired tracks, Jack River, wowed crowds with her catchy pop tunes. Performing crowd favourites like ‘Palo Alto’, ‘Fool’s Gold’ and ‘Sugar’, River brought a warmth and energy which carried through the festivities. The artist’s sing-along charisma, especially in ‘Sugar’ and ‘Fool’s Gold’, sparked the crowd’s enthusiasm for later performances.
Following a charismatic set by US rapper Dckworth, quirky Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora gave it her all on the Moolin Rouge stage. Aurora took the crowd to a transient space with her dark and eccentric pop style. Jumping around the stage erratically, Aurora transfixed the Canberra festival-goers with an unparalleled performance energy. A sweet gratitude masked a powerful voice and the festival’s most animated performance by the Norwegian talent.
Crooked Colours closely matched this energy with catchy electronica tracks that finally saw the crowd commit to the festival mosh. As per usual, Australian indie rock sensation DMA’S filled spirits with iconic heartfelt anthems like ‘Delete’ and ‘In The Air’. Perfecting the art of soulful but gritty rock performance, DMA’S sped things up with their more rock-energetic tracks.
Taking the crowd into the night, was US party anthem king Coolio. The apt choice for transition into the festival’s more party atmosphere, Coolio engaged crowds his iconic hit ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’. Coolio’s pop hip-hop blend initiated the festival’s shameless dance party vibe, which carried on into the equally party-mode tracks of Aussie hip-hop vertrans Hilltop Hoods. The iconic Aussie group had all demographics dancing to legendary tracks like 1955 and Cosby Sweater, as crowds tried to stave off the bitter cold.
Danish pop sensation MØ’s irresistible dance tracks offered yet another remedy for Canberra’s chilly night air. Bringing a similar level of energy to that of Aurora, MØ frantically hopped around the stage, compelling the tiring crowds to access their last recesses of energy. MØ brought life to the mosh with global hits like Lean On, Kamikaze and Final Song, as festival-goers prepared for headlining act Billie Eilish.
A global teen pop sensation, Billie Eilish, drew the crowds in with her iconic dark and angsty pop anthems. The crowds roared to boppy hits like ‘bad guy’ and ‘bury a friend’, as everyone near perfectly sung along to Eilish’s existential lyrics. Drawn in by Eilish’s enigmatic energy, crowds cheered as the pop icon addressed the audience with captivating personality. Attempting to start a wave-like mosh bop and banning the use of mobile phones, Eilish was the charismatic headline act we’d all been waiting for.
Where some festivals utilise the space poorly, Canberra’s Groovin created a reasonable distance between the main stages and demarcated the over and under 18s sections without considerable inconvenience. The festival’s implementation of pill testing was also widely considered a success, with the seven identified dangerous substances discarded by patrons.