“let’s burn this festival to the ground!”


Good Things Festival @ Parramatta Park, Parramatta NSW Australia 08/12/2018 written by Brendan Lewis.

They say good things come to those who wait, well, the wait is over, and there’s certainly copious amounts of good things here today! As if the clear skies open for the blazing Aussie sun to heat us all up isn’t enough, an arsenal of punk legends are sure to do the trick and set our excitement alight! Sun-cream won’t stop the burns inflicted by bands like The Used with their blue and yellow musical flames, Bullet For My Valentine who will scream aim and fire you up to explosive levels. All Time Low who are sure to pull the pin on the time bomb in the crowds hearts, ready to explode for headliners, the fabulous notoriety of Corey Taylor in Stone Sour, and punk-rock gods, The Offspring who will finally smash and grab you by the balls in the most epic way possible, as they treat fans to a rare delight, playing their phenomenal career defining album ‘Smash’ in full, plus other fan favourites!

So much to choose from, where to start?...

I suppose at the start would be a good place. Red Hook start things off on the main stages in the scorching midday sun, and oh boy, they really do hook the crowds in with their red-hot hard-rock musical punch! No time to let that musical burn wear off, it’s time to stroll over to stage 3 for the fast growing wild fire of popularity that is Waax. It seems placing these soon to be legends on the schedule nice and early was a very smart move, because they’ve drawn a rather large crowd for an opening band on this stage! Despite the infernal heat today, it hasn’t stopped the masses here for Waax singing, jumping and dancing along to the bands’ popular hits!

Wow, what a start! Now I’ve got a bit of time to burn before the next band on my list, so let’s scope the joint for a shady place to sit and grab a feed and check out what else this festival has to offer. Pleasantly, the festival grounds are nice and spaced out, with everything easy to access, although, the uneven ground at times and the occasional gutters would bare a challenge for disabled patrons, wheelchairs and visual aid cane required users (like myself) alike. Lining up to grab a feed, I realise why security were insisting patrons cloak any bags upon entry, the prices here are beyond anything I’ve experienced, even at a festival which I’ve come to expect the high prices at! I mean, there’s plenty of nice tasty food options available here, IF you can afford them. And I’m not surprised people here aren’t evidently intoxicated and all seem in high-spirits and not causing trouble, $8 for a can of light beer and $15 for a pre-mixed can of spirits and cola make getting intoxicated quite difficult. Right, enough of my complaining at the insane prices that’ve made me send my friend broke, let’s find a shady place to sit and eat my $23 burger and chips (drink not included)…. Uhm, hmmmm… It seems there’s a few limited park benches near stages 3 & 4 and the majority of the food stalls, but otherwise, your options are sitting on the ground or…. Nope, that’s it. There are a few trees offering shade, well, depending on the angle of the sun, so I guess it caters brilliantly for fans of getting cozy with nature!

Ok, time to get back to the thing that one can’t complain about, the high-caliber music, and we’re right on time to head up Northlane before the epic marathon of Baby Metal, The Used, Bullet For My Valentine, Dropkick Murphys, All Time Low, Stone Sour and The Offspring begins! My friend has opted to head into the thick of the crowd for Northlane, I have opted to stay alive and keep all my limbs attached! These guys might not be my cup of tea musically, but bloody-hell they ramp up the fiery energy insanely to charge up the thickening early-afternoon crowd! After I reunite with what’s left of my friend, I think it’s time to have a breather, catch up with friends and re-hydrate before getting a prime spot ready for Bullet For My Valentine, and we shall see if my friends’ $60 I spent on a BFMV t-shirt at the merchandise stand is worth it.

I made it, I’ve grasped the burning metal of the front barrier ready for the wild fire to erupt in the crowds for the marathon of bands ahead and I intend on holding on for dear life! While I wait, Baby Metal shred it up with epic guitar power riffs and wild drum fires and makes me realise that my Japanese seems to be a bit rusty, as for all I know, they could be singing about Nutella waffles? Still, whether you can understand them or not, music is a universal language, and it sure spoke loud and clear! Finally before Bullet For My Valentine, is The Used. They really connect with their fans in the crowd, and although inspirational talks and bringing his young son on stage and instigating a punk-rock circle pit as we all sing the Play School theme, is rather entertaining and engaging, I feel it may be verging on overkill for a short time slot. Nevertheless, the bands’ sound does “burn this festival to the ground” as so desired and gears us all up nicely for the sequential bands! Now hold on tight, I’ve seen Bullet For My Valentine several times prior, and they sure know how to set alight an energy atomic-bomb in the crowd! Yep, today ain’t any different. Despite the lead singer informing us that he has a blocked nose (I think he said) and the band are burnt out, so we’ll need to help him out by singing as loud as we can, the lead singer nor the rest of the band require assistance in performing their music to an exact!

After witnessing the most epic gatling-gun brutality of what has to be THE most impressive drum solo I’ve ever witnessed, plus screaming so loud that I think I can taste blood, I have to abandon my post here at the barrier, as my little space has worsened, and it seems it’ll only get worse now that we’re getting to the heavy-weights on the line-up, so I’m going to stand back and watch through the binoculars I thankfully packed so I can at least see something. Wow, these binocular’s are amazing! The people on stage look like they’re right in front of me, although it’s hard to keep up with how fast they’re moving! …..Oh wait, no, that’s the crowd of people walking in front of me. Sadly, even with binocular’s visual acuity of the band, or even the big-ass screen between the main stages is still beyond my reach, thanks to not being able to see above the crowd sufficiently. Well, it seems after resting my aching legs at a park bench over near stages 3 and 4, inevitably meaning missing Dropkick Murphys over on stage 2, I guess I better find a comfy place to stand in pain (the things we do for love of music), to listen to  All Time Low, Stone Sour and finally, The Offspring.

All Time Low aren’t my cup of tea, but their performance is rather entertaining, but I do think the lead singer is lacking vocal accuracy to the recorded versions unfortunately! Stone Sour on the other hand, nothing lacking there! Their performance is brutal, fierce, wicked and all-round ace from start to end and it’ astonishing how Corey Taylor can apply himself perfectly to both Stone Sour and Slipknot songs and performances, and take on a signature on-stage persona to match. Now, for the moment we’ve all been waiting for, a nice comfy seat! …...But seeing as that ain’t happening within 4 kilometres, how about punk-rock pioneering legends, The Offspring gracing us with their album ‘Smash’ in its entirety? I’ll even throw in some other fan favourites like ‘Why Don’t You Get A Job’, ‘Gone Away’, ‘Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)’, ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’ and even an AC/DC cover, just to add to the musical spoils! As if hearing ‘Smash’ in full wasn’t enough of a momentous thrill in itself, the band really bring a well harnessed brightly lit flame, of headliner-quality sound and energy to sum it up for you!

Youch, that was hot, in more ways than one! The music and how it flowed throughout the day was incredible and without fault. The festival organisation, wellllll….. Much to learn, you still have. Is a seating area near the main stage, a bit of shade other than trees and an elevated accessible platform next to the front of house/mixing tower so disabled patrons can actually see the artists, too much to ask for?