The weather gods were smiling down upon us this year for the South Australian leg of the annual Groovin the Moo festival. Heading to Oakbank you could feel the beautiful autumn ANZAC Day was going to be full of sun, fun and festivities. The picturesque Adelaide Hills is the perfect setting for the annual pilgrimage. The parking was organised and traffic was well directed, making it an easy journey both to and from the event.

In the early afternoon sun, Boo Seeker rocked the main stage, followed by Emma Louise, who was dressed to kill, and provided a cool and ethereal festival sound. Meanwhile over at the Moolin Rouge stage, Remi brought the house down with his high energy, great songs and raw talent. It was a fantastic set to get the day really pumping.

‘Thrash-pop kings’ DZ deathrays rocked out with their array of hits and powerful riffs. They got the crowd worked up and created an energetic party atmosphere belting out their version of ‘Song 2’ by Blur.

IMG_3471Drapht then followed and set the bar high. He pumped out both old and new tracks and provided non stop entertainment. From his old songs, such as ‘Jimmy Recard’, to his new songs he was brilliant, and had the crowd wanting more.

Highlights of the day included British India, who never fail to disappoint in any setting. They rocked the afternoon revellers like nobody’s business. Playing some of their own hits, then powering into a mix of Fleetwood Mac and Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Killing in the Name Of’ (much to the crowd’s delight), the band is a powerhouse of Aussie rock with an amazing stage presence.

The very talented Canberra group Safia delighted the audience with incredible vocals and stage presence. Hit after hit, including ‘Counting Sheep’ had the audience dancing in the afternoon sun. They are an impressive group of musicians, who take their music to a whole new level when performing live.

Jarryd James’ late afternoon set was simply beautiful. With a powerful voice that reaches right to the soul, his set made us feel lucky to be witnessing such an amazing artist performing his craft with eloquence and feeling.

This was followed by American punk-pop duo Twenty One Pilots, who had the crowd in awe of their sound and stage presence with some special effects added to their show that really lit up the stage. They had a very unique and totally entertaining set.

I love going to a festival and seeing an act for the first time and having my mind blown. At GTM ’16 this was Client Liaison in the Moolin Rouge tent. This entertaining, fun and captivating party group awed the crowd with dance moves that would make your mamma blush! They paid homage to Australian politics with their song ‘Canberra Won’t Be Calling Tonight’, and then closed with an amazing performance of Michael Jackson’s ‘Black or White’. It was like Freddie Mercury and Janet Jackson had a lovechild.

IMG_4063As the sun went down, The Rubens electrified the night followed by Boy and Bear, who both played their hearts out. There was a rock meets blues meets country vibe filling the air waves, which made for a beautiful sunset in this stunning rural setting surrounded by the gum trees and rolling hills.

After the sun had set and the stars were out in full force, the biggest star of them all took the stage, in US rapper Danny Brown. He has such a charismatic stage presence and, with an entourage of great songs and natural talent, he had everyone singing and dancing. With a wonderfully unique voice and style, he was the absolute highlight of the festival.

Melbourne MC Illy took the stage in the Moolin Rouge and, as always, performed with skill and professionalism. The man really knows how to work a stage and an audience, and his music speaks to people of all ages. Playing his hits, as well as songs from his soon to be released album, Illy also had his mate Drapht join him on stage to bust out some tunes together. Like a fine wine, Illy just gets better with age.

Finally the night was closed by headliner Alison Wonderland. Despite being of small stature and with a big stage to fill, she delivered in spades, filling the night sky with electronic magic in her own unique style. A highlight of the set was when the Sydney-sider was joined by Safia, singing up a storm on the hit, ‘Take it to Reality’.

IMG_3889Music filled the country air and delighted the crowd throughout the day and night; it was one great performance after another. As far as festivals go, Groovin the Moo is one of the best. It has a clean, eco-friendly message, rewarding people for recycling cans by knocking a dollar off your next drink, resulting in next to no rubbish.

Yes it’s a bit of a hike, but this is part of the appeal. The scenery at this time of year is spectacular,and Oakbank is only 30km from the city. If you can afford a VIP experience, it is worth every penny, with a designated area including a bar, toilets and lounge area with a great view of the stages. They also cranked the heaters at the start of the evening, which provided some relief from the chill of the evening air.

The GTM people absolutely know how to put on an organised, star studded and fun filled event.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Reviewed and photographed by Michelle Place and Shane Herriman