I would call myself a seasoned music festival goer. One who has written advise about pro tips on how to overcome all the possible dangers you may face at a festival, such as how to avoid awkwardly having to always hold your water bottle and that wearing sandals is never a good idea unless you like bruises and dirty feet.

Well, when I walked towards the bag check point at the entry of In The Pines last Sunday I realised I hadn’t followed a single piece of my own advice. I was monumentally unprepared. I looked down at my poor exposed feet in my sandals, said fuck it and walked through the entry. Now yes, I had a great time, but you would have an even better time than me, if you listen to all the insider knowledge I am about to give to you.

First of all, please try and contain your shock when you find out that In the Pines is a music festival held on the UWA campus. Now you can place less blame on the edgy arts students, knowing the festival is largely why there were cigarette bunds outside the music department Monday morning and where all that noise was coming from Sunday night when you were tucked up in your college bed. Yep you heard me right, UWA hosts a music festival. Run by RTR.FM, it is an all ages event (with legal guardian) which supports and celebrates Perth, from the bands who perform to the beers they serve. Somerville becomes filled with food vendors, people in overalls and fanny packs swimming in a sea of picnic blankets. It is honestly something which shouldn’t be missed (plus it is only $40). RTR.FM and their crew out did themselves with astonishingly smooth transitions between bands running perfectly on time. It finishes at 10pm giving you a solid hour and 59 minutes to complete and submit that assignment so there is no excuse not to go.

My first impression upon arrival was that In the Pines is a truly majestic setting for a music festival. It supplied ample insta pic opportunities and much needed shade from the 30oC day. As we nestled ourselves amongst the veterans with their picnic blankets and chef’s table worthy spread of snacks, we couldn’t help but feel unbelievably and completely envious. We did wonder if they would notice some of their hummus dip missing. This fleeting thought passed, and we settled ourselves in to enjoy the music and some quality people watching time. Other than the ability to BYO food and picnic set up, another unique quality of In The Pines is the opportunity for pass outs. Run out of crackers? No worries, head down to Broadway IGA. Not vibing that particular band? No worries, go for a walk around UWA campus or head back to college to crack a cold one.

One fun advantage of us not being prepared, thus not setting up a prep Spotify playlist, was that most bands were a lucky dip, we had no idea what to expect. First, we would guess their genre from their name, then their look on stage and 99% of the time we couldn’t have been more wrong.

Despite a stellar line up, there were a few misses in my personal opinion, but they were weird, wacky and entertaining misses. One of which was Bolt Gun. On reflection, their bio of ‘depicting the existential horror of Stalinist Russia’ should have sounded warning bells. Looking like a bunch of dads who jam out in their mate’s garage, loaded with smoke machines, they began their set. It was one of the most suspenseful build ups I’ve ever experienced. One which would have rightfully earned its place in any dark action movie. With the bonus of scream-o growls thrown in every so often (making me jump and nervously giggle every time), it was definitely an experience.

A couple of sets later, the spooky vibe was revived with Furchick. They consisted of a large group of people onstage, one of which was a young boy rocking dark sunnies controlling one of the unidentifiable weird sound making instruments. Put simply, I was pleasantly confused by the sound they were creating, and I think their lead lady Claire Pannell is too illustrated by her self-chosen genre of ‘seriously not sure’. Again, another odd yet captivating experience.

With the misses came hits, band who unquestionably nailed it. These performers took my breath away. If you don’t enjoy them then Graham Norton Show is the worst chat show ever created, free food is a sin and everything I understand in the world is a lie.

The Tommyhawks

These ladies honestly blew me away (pun intended). The minute the drums started followed by the sensual sounds of the saxophone, I was a goner. I could have died of happiness right there and then. I really hope I am not the only one who froths brass instruments in indie bands. Smashing out pop rock bangers and most of the band members ended up on the ground (continuing to play) by their final instrumental. Yelling along with them ‘I got a new friend’ during their song New Friends, I momentarily considered bringing back the mullet, they were just that good.

Check them out supporting Roby Boots at The Rosemount on 11th May. Online tickets are $26.05.

Demon Days

Recently being signed by New World Artists (joining the likes of Allday, Mallrat and Tired Lion), just coming off a national tour AND about to hit up GTM, it is clear that I am not alone in fangirling over their unique blend of jazz, funk, soul and hip hop.  With the sun blazing at 2pm in the afternoon and everyone in the crowd fully aware of those around them, singer Bella Nicholls all the confidence you wish you had. Her level of contemporary dance moves got so out of hand that there was an unintentional mike drop, that is the kind of commitment I live for.

Mathas

Sporting a gold sequined jacket, Mathas walked out with the classic swag of an Aussie hip hop artist. He adds a darker twist to the stereotypical pop hip hop sound, and with the support of a harpist on stage, his performance was definitely a unique one. Whipping out props, epic vintage sound clips and monologues which were borderline slam poetry, let’s just say I was not the only one begging for more when his 30 min set was over.

He doesn’t have any events coming up in the near future, but I would recommend checking him out of Spotify. You. Will. Not. Be. Disappointed.

Stella Donnelly

I feel like I don’t really need to introduce Stella as the majority of Perth are already in love with her. I will never get tired of hearing her silky-smooth voice effortlessly belting out notes that I couldn’t even dream of hitting (it is at those points when my singling along becomes a little more mumbled, but yes, I know every word to every song of hers). Relatable, borderline bogan and completely lovable Stella is the definition of someone born to perform. Throw in some social issues, swear words and funky earrings her performance is perfect. PERFECT.

I didn’t last through the last act of the night Abbe May, because surprise surprise I was underprepared and broke the biggest cardinal rule of festivals – always bring something to keep you warm at night. Sitting in my car with the heat right up I tuned into RTR.FM and was able to catch the end of her set, another bonus of In The Pines. Abbe May can be described as the queen of Perth, rock goddess or any other label of the like. Even through the shitty bass supplied by my car speakers she didn’t disappoint. Imagining her doing knee slides and head banging, I sang along to her songs from her new album Fruit promising myself that next time I will be more prepared.

I’m going to end my little review with some things that In The Pines Taught me:

Next time I will be bringing a picnic basket filled to the brim with delicious snacks, have my picnic blanket under my arm and maybe even throw in some cushions. I will feel like a freaking maharaja.

Consider wearing my tote bag as a backpack. A grandpa was doing it and he looked way more hipster than me.

Commit to wearing my most extra outfit. The place was oozing with personality and creativity. Want to commit to that frilly dress with your biker tattoos? Or those unicorn leggings? or simply that sailor hat that you love but your mates tease you about? In The Pines is the place to do it.

Bring some activities, like cards or a board game. They would have complimented the spooky synth sounds of Furchick so well.

Don’t be an idiot, bring a jumper.

And above all. Just don’t wear fucking sandals.

Please, for the love of all festival goers, be smarter than me and actually listen to the advice.

I hope to see you all heading into the pines next year!

And as always, happy gig’n.

Julia Reynolds | @juliaeellen