Don’t Look Into The Toilet & Other Life Lessons I Learned At My First Meredith Festival

Meredith Music Festival, now in its 29th year, may have slipped you by like it has done for me for many iterations. A gathering of people in the Supernatural Amphitheatre (the ‘Sup) about 105 clicks from Melbourne, with a strict No Dickhead Policy and acceptance for only good energies. It’s all BYO and everyone is welcome.

2019’s edition was my first ever visit to the ‘Sup, and I can understand why people rave about it – that place is nothing short of magical. And within that magic held deep in the hills, I learned a lot of very important things.

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We’re so lucky to have the ‘Sup.

The traditional custodians of the Meredith area are the Wathaurug/Wadawarrung people, and they’ve preserved the the ‘Sup for over 120,000 years. This year’s Meredith began with a Welcome To Country and a smoking ceremony for the first time in the festival’s history (the first one in the ‘Sup was at Golden Plains), where everyone is invited to step through the smoke, signifying a new chapter as we leave a decade. It was a special moment, and hearing stories of the area’s indigenous history was the perfect way to kick everything off.

Getting, and giving, The Boot is a treasured moment.

A long-held tradition of the ‘Sup is that when you’re recognised a golden, only-happens-at-Meredith moment of the festival, you take your shoe off and hold it above your head in the crowd. At first, I thought people were calling for a shoey to be performed and was kinda grossed out that somewhere as magic as Meredith Music Fest would allow such behaviour but nope, it’s a much better, much more wholesome signal.

BOOTS UP. (Image: Chelsea King)

Bring earplugs.

You’ll need them for when you’re right in the middle of the pit at midnight, and you’ll need them when you wake up at 4am to the most abrasive techno permeating the entire festival site and campground.

You’ll probably see someone getting married.

There’s a little archway at the top of the ‘Sup, where people are very likely to get engaged or married. On Saturday around 11am I watched as two people dressed in all silver got hitched in front of a crowd of people in all gold. I’m about 80% certain it was legit.

You’ll develop a Pavlovian response to the one (1) PickUp song.

Shania Twain‘s ‘Man I Feel Like A Woman’ will forever make me want to immediately pick up all the rubbish around me. Definitely not a bad thing.

Massive areas. (Image: Chelsea King)

Do not, under any circumstance, look into the toilets.

They are composting toilets and a whole system of sorcery in themselves, and no matter how much your curiosity wants you to peer down into the abyss of shit and sawdust; don’t do it. Just flip the lid and sit.

Oh and if you drop anything down there, mourn your loss and move on. Unless you want to be like that one guy who ended up elbow deep in literal shit and piss to get your phone back (which will never ever EVER be clean again.)

The best set of the day is always Silence Wedge.

It’s Meredith lore that an unknown collective called Silence Wedge sent Aunty a tape years ago, and requested that it be played at full volume. Now it’s an annual set that happens every year, and will fast become your favourite one.

Stretching out on Sunday is a must.

Getting up and out of your tent on Sunday morning for tai chi with Master Song is a godsend, and your back will thank me for it.

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Drying out to Gordon Koang on Sunday afternoon.

The showers are always open.

A friend of mine swears by going for a rinse off at 3am. Says it’s the best decision he made all weekend.

Nobody quite knew how to pronounce DJ Koze.

Ko-zah? Ko-zee? Koh-z? However, it’s pronounced, the late-entrance into the festival (which is insane in itself, really) was a massive highlight for plenty of fans. The number of boots being held up during his set was a sight to behold.

The Gift is precious and keeps on giving.

Do not miss it. Who’s not in the mood for a bit of Sunday afternoon nudity anyway?

The ‘Sup will remain in your heart forever.

I found myself planning my return for Golden Plains in March before I had even left Meredith Music Festival. That’s just the power of the supernatural. Lean right in.