Heading into Splendour in the Grass 2019, I was on the hunt for one thing and one thing only: a trucker hat-wearing, James Blake-loving, softboi-reminiscent disco hubby.
Could someone Tame this Impala, or would I be Catfish and the Bottlemen‘d? Alternatively, would I just meet some nice people, eventuating in Friendly Fires?
A few days before the festival, and I was ready to swipe. Tinder’s new festival mode was a fab way to immerse myself in all things Splendour. Putting the badge up increased the likelihood I’d match with other festival goers and, once we matched, was an easy conversation-starter. It also built a lot of hype by forming a little community of people who all shared the same excitement.
To be honest, though, I was a tad apprehensive at the start when heading to the festival. Would people be trying to save precious phone battery? Would they prefer to just hang with their mates? Would people even be on their phones?
Well, there was only one way to find out – I needed to dive head-first into the quest for disco hubby. He was softly calling my name in the winds, I could already hear him… Wait, that might have been a mosquito, or the hum of a young teen trying to nail those Childish Gambino lyrics for the set.
Either way, I was to wear my working gear for the weekend, ‘cos love is a battlefield and I was well and truly ready for war.
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The first thing I quickly noticed was that you’d literally run into everyone. I assumed that it’d be hard to find people I knew, and that it’d be easy to get lost amongst a sea of strangers, but it actually turned out to be the contrary – chances are, if you matched with someone pre-festival, you were bound to bump into them on ground.
You know when you randomly bump into someone IRL that you matched with on Tinder, and you both have that moment of, like, ‘I know that you know that we know that we matched but do we say it or do we pretend that we’re strangers?’
Well, the ~festival~ environment completely bypassed that momentary-awkwardness stage, probably because of the liquid courage or ‘f^*k it’ mentality. I ran into one guy that I’d matched with, for example, and the conversation instantly kicked off with, “How’s your day been? Are you going to Ocean Alley? Let’s meet up at that Tinder Block party later on.” Instant rapport. Vibes city.
It’s like all fears had flown out the window – people are genuinely really forward and didn’t care about coming up for a chat.
In fact, jumping on ye ol’ Tinder throughout the day was a great tactic in the hunt for disco hubby. After all, it wasn’t all go, go, go – over the 3 days, there was a large chunk of time for me to unwind and lay down to soothe my aching feet. So why not go for a little swipe at the same time? Two loving birds, one loving stone.
Nothing really happened until the moon rose anyway, so meeting interesting people was a great way to fill in the time. Before the big acts started to pop up in the late-afternoon, there was ample time to meet up with someone I’d matched with for a cute arvo coffee or vino.
On one fine late-morning, for example, I met up with one guy for a coffee (when literally everyone was still sleeping, because who rises before 11AM anyway?). Once we’d shared our pleasantries between our sips of overpriced coffee, we said our goodbyes, went to hang out with our mates to watch the headliners and subsequently played it by ear, meeting at the Smirnoff tent once all the acts started to wind down.
But in all seriousness, Tinder’s festival mode actually turned out to be super beneficial for a number of reasons, from pre-festival to post-festival blues.
Being able to match with fellow Splendour-goers beforehand meant that, by the time you were at the festival, you already had a bunch of matches lined up. I didn’t have to waste precious time searching for matches – that initial stage was already done ‘n’ dusted.
Hanging out with a match at Splendour also allowed me to meet their group of mates and vice versa, meaning we could have a large #squad of like-minded people. It’s all about the networking, team.
And finally, no matter what environment you’re in, everyone’s low-key on the lookout to meet new people. The quest for love never stops, particularly at a festival.
I may not have found music bae, collective sigh, but I did meet some incredible people that’ll last well beyond the festival thanks to Tinder. As Mr. Sheen says, that’s winning.
Here’s to next year’s disco hubby.