To say that I had an amazing time at my first ever Soundwave Festival is definitely an understatement.
I was born in the late 80s and grew up in the 90s. Many of the headlining acts were bands that I was aware of when I was younger but had only vaguely had interest in. The opportunity to see these bands live was too hard to resist.
My friend and I started our day at the merch tent, which unfortunately meant missing out on half of Celtic/American punk band Flogging Molly’s set. As we searched for our other festival buddy, their upbeat Irish influenced melodies kicked our energy levels into high gear ready for the eight hours we were to spend at the festival.
Next up we migrated to the left to see Canadian rockers Sum41. Unfortunately we couldn’t get very close to the stage, so we were unable to hear them properly. We decided to head over to the main stage nearly an hour before Blink-182 were set to grace the stage.
We got there early enough to enter the mosh pit area and make our way as close to the front as possible. Despite original drummer Travis Barker being unable to travel to Australia for the festival, Blink fans were so keen to get as close to the front as possible that they were pushing and shoving well before the band entered the stage.
With replacement drummer Brooks Wackerman (Bad Religion, Tenacious D) on hand, Blink-182 did not disappoint. They performed their classics and everything else in between. This was the my first mosh pit experience where I’ve completely lost my friends. I spent the rest of the set worrying about whether they were coping in the mosh pit or not. Luckily for me, as I’m quite short in height, those around me kept checking to see if I was alright.
Towards the end of their set I weaved my way out of the mosh and the area behind to search for my friends.
Next I was torn between the decision to see Linkin Park or Garbage. Linkin Park is a band I’ve been listening to on-and-off for a number of years but never quite felt the urge to go see them live and Garbage is a band that only days before the performance I realised I knew many of their classic tracks but just never knew who recorded them.
I settled for Linkin Park, however spent most of their set texting and calling back and forth in search of one of my festival buddies. We reconvened at the end of their set. In the process I bumped into two sets of friends – amongst the crowd of 60,000 – who I knew where at the festival but hadn’t planned to meet up with.
Another hard decision was met when it came to deciding which headlining acts we were going to finish our night off with. Admitting defeat we decided it would be much more enjoyable to skip out on Metallica and watch The Offspring perform for two main reasons. Firstly, both of us were more into The Offspring, and secondly, diehard Metallica fans were lining up to enter the mosh pit area at least an hour before Metallica or hanging out in the mosh pit all day. We figured we wouldn’t be able to get to close to the action.
Time came for a quick snack and toilet break to re-energise our aching and exhausted bodies for a relaxing end to the night. We originally planned to see Metallica perform first than migrate to The Offspring so we were excited when we realised that Paramore were still performing as we munched away. We only missed the first couple of tracks as we made our way into the crowd to hear and see the only female performer we came across throughout the day.
Fronted by the punk vocals of pint-sized, Mickey Mouse tight-wearing, Hayley Williams, Paramore squeezed in a couple of acoustic tracks polishing off their set by allowing a loyal fan onto the stage to sing the chorus of Misery Business, alongside her. The lucky guy couldn’t contain his excitement enough at this opportunity as he hugged her multiple times in the short time he was up on the stage.
We stayed put as The Offspring coat-tailed off Paramore to grace us with their 90s classics. Frontman and singer, Dexter Holland’s voice hasn’t aged one bit! He sincerely thanked their fans who skipped out on Metallica to see them.
As we got ready to meet with our lost friend and leave the festival, we discovered that Metallica were still performing way past their set time so we were lucky enough to see them perform one track. They finished off with Seek and Destroy and humbly stood on the stage soaking up the atmosphere for twenty minutes plus after finishing their set. It was great seeing one of the world’s biggest bands showing how much they care about their fans and mentioned their love for traveling to Australia every couple of years to perform.
Adrenalin still pumping through our bodies, we trekked out of the venue but the fun didn’t stop. We embarked on an adventure to find the car that we would be traveling home in.
Overall, this year’s Soundwave was my best festival experience in the 8+ years I’ve been attending festivals. Each band I saw perform (and the ones I missed) made me want more and keen to see them all again next time they’re touring in Australia. The festival acts have even made me keen to get into and appreciate a whole bunch of other long-running bands I’ve never been interested in listening to or had interest in seeing live. Even though I ended up by myself for a couple of hours, I still had the best time that I could.
With so many overseas headlining acts that have been around for decades, I give kudos to Soundwave Festival promoter AJ Maddah for being able to pull together such big acts together to traipse down under at the same time. I truly felt like I was in attendance at one of the many major European or American music festivals that I have forever been pining to be at.
Maybe next year I’ll be brave enough to check out some of the heavy metal bands?