It’s Splendour. Just Splendour. Are you Splendouring? Did you Splendour? Verb and proper noun. And an absolute monster of a thing.
I splendoured for the first time this year and I'm still processing it. There are, for sure, bigger festivals out there - bigger crowds, bigger acts and buzz. But this thing takes place in a tucked-away haven of coastal hinterland, invisible from the nearest road. For all you know as you drive north from Byron Bay, the adjacent bush is a tranquil national park inhabited by whip birds and marsupials who graze the grassland under a dappled canopy of Eucaplypts.
But you’d be wrong.
As the Splendour beast awakens each year, the North Byron Parklands become a hidden world inhabited by a wildly-dressed people who all seem to be in on an incredible 3-day secret. Walk the 1.5 kilometres from the car park to the festival entrance, step inside and it’s Narnia or Rivendell or John Malkovich’s head or wherever it is that Leonardo seeks in The Beach. Everything you know about the world shifts a tiny bit to the left. Or right. Either way, you’re not in Kansas anymore, only it feels good.
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower.
Ye blessed Creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel--I feel it all.
Oh evil day! if I were sullen
While Earth herself is adorning,
This sweet May-morning,
And the Children are culling
On every side,
In a thousand valleys far and wide,
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
And the Babe leaps up on his Mother's arm:--
I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
--But there's a Tree, of many, one,
A single Field which I have looked upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
The Pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?
Dressed up to the eyes
It's a wonderful surprise
To see your shoes and your spirits rise
Throwing out your frown
And just smiling at the sound
And as sleek as a shriek
Spinning round and round
Always take a big bite
It's such a gorgeous sight
To see you eat in the middle of the night
You can never get enough
Enough of this stuff
I'm in love
Perhaps it's more a time than a place.
Sounds like the first day of Splendour to me.