Summer Salt Festival
The sun is blaring down unforgivably on the foreshore as thousands have gathered for the inaugural Summersalt festival. The food trucks line the paddock and the queue for ice cream stretches out for miles as bands have gathered for a festival of home grown talent and good vibes.
Opening the day is local Mornington performer Tulliah, fresh to the music scene at just 19 years old, this is her first string of festivals and St. Kilda seems to be the perfect place to kick off her rapidly rising music career.
Folk legends The Waifs are the next on the bill, the Thorn sisters are veterans of the stage and no strangers to performing in front of large audiences. Seated patrons watch the sisters perform, the afternoons entertainment beginning to warm up and get people moving.
Playing solo John Butler sits behind his guitar, his voice ringing out across the field. The talented West Australian plucks his guitar with expertise, performing hits Wade in the Water, Treat Yo Mamma and a very evocative spoken word piece. We are treated to long acoustic guitar numbers, a delight for any Butler fan. Butler as usual performing with passion and energy that is captivating.
Sam and Josh Teskey, better known as The Teskey Brothers bring a full horn section to the stage for their special brand of blues rock to St. Kilda beach. Performing a string of catchy songs that make people want to get up and dance, there is full crowd participation for songs Carry You, Let Me Let You Down and So Caught Up. Finishing up with Hold Me Josh Teskey has the crowd chanting “Don’t hold me down, Carry me but keep my feet on the ground” . The crowd in full swing as Sam Teskey leads the charge, taking it right down to a whisper to fade out, making the set exceptionally fun.
As the Foo Fighters classic My Hero blasts out across the field the crowd gasp and begin to cheer as an image of drummer Taylor Hawkins projects onto the big screen. It is a beautiful tribute to the drummer whose untimely death over the weekend rocked the music community, as Dave Grohl’s vocals remind us that Hawkins was a hero to many, an undeniable force to be reckoned with and will be sadly missed.
Birds of Tokyo manage to get the rest of the crowd off their seats, as front man Ian Kenney dances and encourages people to join in. Opening with Plans, the band power through the hits Wild at Heart, The Greatest Mistakes, Unbreakable. As the final bars of Good Lord die down a very excited voice booms from the crowd ‘ PLAY LANTERNS’ to which Kenney chuckles and repeats – ” Lanterns? You want us to play Lanterns? Well, alright” as the familiar opening bars of the popular song begin. As the sun begins to set the band finish up with This Fire, bass player Ian Berney reaching out to touch the hands of excited fans in the crowd.
With the sun behind the horizon Xavier Rudd is the final performer for the night and the crowd welcome him with enthusiastic cheers as Let me Be opens the set. Seated with a guitar on one side of the stage and a quiver of didgeridoo on the other, the socially conscious musician delights the audience, a gathering of people dance in wild abandon to his music. Stunning visuals light up the stage, and its almost as if Rudd is in a galaxy of his own design. The multi- instrumentalist is impressive to watch as he enraptures the crowd with ‘ Flag’, We Deserve to Dream, Ball and Chain and Breeze.
As the evening draws to a close and the crowd begins to make their way home, the festival has been a great great success. People have united in dance, witnessed some of the countries best perform and had a day that will remain in their memories for a long time. With music spanning across several genres, fans have united, the salt air of Elwood beach and the green field transformed into the perfect setting for what was a fantastic day.
Words and images Amanda Lee Starkey