Trouble Juice do Meredith 2019
Words by James Lynch
Photography by Steve Benn, Chelsea King and Liam Brownlie
Thursday 16th January, 2020
Last month, the wonderful folk at Meredith Music Festival invited TJ along to give our hot take on the biggest weekend of the year - and although we probably didn’t need a full month to reflect on it (sorry about that Aunty Meredith), it was a pretty bloody good time.
After being tasked with the job of reviewing one of my favourite festivals ever, I instantly began developing schemes in which I could document the weekend without compromising what would otherwise be the best time ever. After a couple of ideas, I decided I would keep track of my thoughts via voice memos, to keep me up to speed with what would inevitably go on over the weekend. However, as soon as I was back in the welcoming arms of the ‘Sup with a cold tin in my hand, all plans went to the wayside and I fully succumbed to the aforementioned best time ever. So with the exception of some voice recordings from my friend Dom that told me “Eggy are the best band in the world, I wish they would’ve played at Meredith”, I’m going into this cold. Here’s why:


When on other years I’d be up at the crack of dawn on Friday morning, ready to hit the ‘Sup as soon as gates opened, this year I slept in a little and got up slightly hungover (which would probably set the tone for what was to come). However, as the festival works in mysterious ways, taking our time somewhat paid off - a review pass meant I was technically staff, so once we arrived in the magical town of Meredith, we skipped the backlog of cars and settled into Top Camp by 10am.

As always, the next couple of hours saw a sea of tents and marquees go up, drinks were put on ice and the inevitable descent into the madness of Meredith began. A couple of dumb conversations, a kick of the footy on Sunset Strip and a few beers later, and it felt like we’d never left.

3pm eventually rolled around and the festival officially began with an Indigenous Smoking Ceremony - a first for Meredith, following the ceremony’s introduction at Golden Plains earlier in the year. Led by Wadawurrung man Uncle Barry Gilson along with other traditional custodians, it was an incredibly moving start to the festival, and an important reminder of how lucky we were to be spending another weekend in the glorious Supernatural Amphitheatre.

The serene atmosphere proved ideal for Australian-Fijian rapper Jesswar to take the stage, converting the audience’s emotion into visceral energy. It may have been the first time that Meredith’s first act wasn’t a rock band ever, but the crowd was more than receptive. Next up were Constant Mongrel, who turned things up another level with their volatile punk while an irreverent horn section squawked behind them. Karate Boogaloo kept the vibe going with their mixture of party funk and jazz, as they rounded out a trifecta of acts that perfectly showcased the spectrum of sounds we’d be hearing across the days to come.

The first spot of housekeeping caught everyone in good spirits, and ‘Old Town Road’ was pipped by ‘Man I Feel Like A Woman’ as the year’s clean-up song. I grabbed some rubbish and a couple more beers, and made it back down for Julia Jacklin, who wooed us with her captivating indie-rock. Actually, I think some friends thought her set was a little lacklustre, but I reckon I was pretty wooed - I suppose this is the point where those voice memos would’ve come in handy.

Stomping Riffraffs and Briggs kept the momentum amounting, before the festival’s most contentious act Liam Gallagher took the stage. Clearly a pro, he commanded the crowd with ease, and even though his attitude may have not seemed completely Meredith-y, a fumbled attempt to acknowledge the forthcoming bushfire crisis seemed to suggest his heart was in the right place. Plus, while it’s pretty much impossible to encapsulate the wonderful bizarreness of Meredith into a singular moment, drinking O’Donells (Aldi brand Baileys) with some buds on a couch while ‘Wonderwall’ played comes pretty close.

We’re definitely in the part when voice memos would’ve been good now. I wanted to see Close Counters, but at this point Meredith was calling the shots and I think I spent the next couple of hours cruising around, doing silly things and enjoying a few Pink Flamingos (I got one with tabasco and I think it was kinda good). Can’t tell you who else played but I’m sure it was a good soundtrack to the rest of my night.


An easy way to waste your Meredith is by sleeping, so I got up and back into business as quickly as I could on Saturday morning. Scott and Charlene’s Wedding hit the stage at 11am, which seemed a little unfair considering how important a band they are to many Meredith goers, but in the end it didn’t even matter - the ‘Sup was packed and it was really special to see so many people stoked on the first band of the day. It might feel pre-emptive to lift your boot too early in the day, but tracks like ’Bush’ and ‘Footscray Station’ made it an easy decision.

U-Bahn were up next and it was a real treat having some pals up on the big stage. It was obvious that the opportunity wasn’t lost on them either, as they pulled together the best set I’ve seen from them - all weirdly confusing and glamorous and addictive at once. Cate Le Bon graced the stage a little while later and the bizarre pop hits kept on coming, her energy a little more subdued than U-Bahn yet just as arresting. While she remained relatively composed onstage, seeing her fist-pump the air as she walked off revealed even she knew her set was a special one.

It had turned out that last minute replacement DJ Koze was a bit of a big deal, but I’m a sucker for hanging out at the campsite, so had a fun couple of hours and Koze’s beats were a pretty sweet backdrop. Made it back to the ‘Sup for Viagra Boys, who’s boisterous punk served as the perfect fuel to gear us up as night fell. Amyl and the Sniffers clearly caught wind of it, and when they hit the stage a little while later they turned up the heat with a raucous set that confirmed their rockstar status. Seeming to come from a parallel universe was kooky dance queen Roisin Murphy, who had the crowd just as thrilled with an extravagant performance that was only rivalled by her infectious hits.

Once again, it was party time and as the DJs hit the stage, Meredith proceeded to engulf anyone who was willing to give themselves up for the cause. On the other hand, I was having some weird stomach problems because I ate too many Doritos or something, so I chilled out for a bit. When it got particularly gnarly, I took a trip to the First Aid which was really great - Meredith proving to be just as well-oiled behind the scenes as it is out front. For some reason I bought a calzone after that though, which really cooked my guts, and I went to bed because I couldn’t stop burping.


As always, Sunday came around and the once bustling amphitheatre was now characterised by the fragility of its occupants. Fortunately, Sweet Whirl hit the stage first, who’s wistful dream-pop lulled us into a suitably comforting haze. Backed by a full band, her gorgeous pop-smarts felt bolder and more warming than ever. Next up was Gordon Koang with his party starting take on traditional music, which could’ve quite easily been played to a packed ‘Sup on Saturday arvo. Just like the end of a marathon, Gordon’s set had us digging deep for whatever energy we had left, as he commanded us to “stand up and clap your hands”. We obviously obliged.

Not a great look since I’m meant to be reviewing the festival, but by this point we were well and truly exhausted, so we snuck off a little earlier than I usually would. Missing the Meredith Gift wasn’t really the end of the world, since you don’t need a huge imagination to guess what would be witnessed (a lot of flesh, plenty of groans from the audience and some questionable glory). Missing local punks The Faculty was a little more thoughtless on the other hand, who allegedly brought their A-game with a powerful set that successfully bowled over any last standing punters. Sorry about that, but I guess that’s how Meredith goes sometimes.

Nonetheless, Meredith had once again brought the goods and a very fun weekend was had. Something that stood out this year was that with a slightly less stacked lineup, the festival gave us ample time to hang out with new and old friends and indulge in the wonder of Meredith without feeling completely restricted to the stage. That said, when we were lured in by the ‘Sup, we were always satisfied.

With the enormity of Golden Plains just around the corner, it’s very likely that we’ll be dealing with the opposite this time around - with a lineup this strong, just missing one act will be enough to induce some high-intensity FOMO. Be as it may, if Meredith 2019 was to serve as a warm-up for Woody’s final crack on the ‘Sup in March, it was a pretty incredible warm-up at that.