The Mic International: Electric Avenue 2020 Review
Robyn reports from Christchurch on a promising festival unfortunately slightly marred by poor weather.
A festival in February? That’s mad! Well, not if you’re spending a year in the southern hemisphere where seasons are upside down and back to front. However, it seemed that on this day, the typical British curse of a rainy downpour and field of mud had followed me all the way to Christchurch, New Zealand. The week leading up to Electric Avenue – or ‘’leccy ave, the day better than Christmas’, as my Kiwi flatmates had so lovingly nicknamed it – had been sunshine and ‘way too hot to wear a t shirt’ weather. So, I donned the loudest shorts and top combo, welly boots and covered myself suitably in glitter before heading out to pres.
The morning was spent drinking copious amounts of gin and losing many a game of beer pong as my new flatmates introduced me to some of the acts. Truth be told, when I bought my ticket the only groups I knew were Lime Cordiale and Gang of Youths – because of this, we decided to arrive for the beginning of Lime Cordiale’s set at 1. As the first ‘big name’ at the festival, it seemed that many had the same idea, yet queues for entry were smooth and it was easy enough to get in. From the moment we entered, the atmosphere was electric (no pun intended) and the crowds were dancing and singing – a sign of what was to come for the rest of the festival.
Lime Cordiale were an easy-going band to start my festival experience. The atmosphere was happy, with everyone shouting along and bouncing around to their hits such as Robbery and Temper Temper. Their tunes are certainly memorable; even the ones I didn’t know before the festival I found myself singing along to due to their catchy lyrics and melodies. The group are an interesting mix, sharing both upbeat rock moments and ‘chill day at the beach’ vibes, suggesting an explanation for why they were on so early in the day.
Whilst Lime Cordiale played the main stage, Home Brew wowed on the Lake Stage. The hip-hop group captivated the audience instantly, using their stage to make a range of not-so-subtle political statements. The juxtaposition between the soft background melody and hard-hitting words mixed well. From this, it was no surprise to me how the boys had made a name for themselves and were particularly popular among many of my uni mates.
'Their tunes are certainly memorable; even the ones I didn’t know before the festival I found myself singing along to due to their catchy lyrics and melodies'.
After this, we decided to check out the bars and food stalls – rather than using cash at the festival, we loaded a wristband with money at the start. This was a really handy thing as it enabled me to keep to a budget and I didn’t have to keep worrying about losing my purse! We munched on our Korean fried chicken and decided what we wanted to see for the rest of the day. After lunch we headed into the ‘Rave Cave’ where we were met with exactly what you’d expect – DJ sets and heavy dnb. Here in Christchurch, the Rave Cave was a real eclectic mix of people so I felt at home, but unfortunately – much to everyone’s disappointment as the rain poured – they decided to close the Rave Cave, which was the only covered space at the festival.
Matt Corby was the next to watch on our list – an act I added to my Spotify playlist the moment I heard him open his mouth. Stand out tunes from his set would have to be Talk It Out – which originally features Tash Sultana – and So Easy. If you like Tash, then you’ll definitely like this guy; his music style varies track by track, but his strong and soulful voice makes each one memorable. If I had to describe this, I’d draw comparisons to Tom Grennan.
'Despite the crowd having majorly thinned out by their slot, the atmosphere was great. It felt really intimate with David getting the crowd heavily involved and excited throughout'.
Due to the abysmal weather, we spent the next little while trying to hide in merch tents and under trees, running between stages and catching a glimpse at all the different artists. It seemed the festival goers were more concerned about buying a poncho to show off the outfit they had been planning for weeks instead of supporting the artists they had paid $150 to see. Most people bailed in this time, so I managed to shuffle to the barrier to enjoy Gang of Youths. This was one hundred percent worth it, not only for their music but also Dave’s dancing – I haven’t seen anyone move their hips like that in a long time. We belted out each track as the weather cleared up, and I was especially a fan of the violinist. Formed originally through hill song in Australia, the indie rock band has gone on to achieve international success. Despite the crowd having majorly thinned out by their slot, the atmosphere was great. It felt really intimate with David getting the crowd heavily involved and excited throughout. Stand out songs from their set include The Heart is a Muscle and probably their best-known tune, Let Me Down Easy.
I decided to bail after their set as all my mates had left hours ago and, despite the festival changing their policy to allow re-entry, few people were willing to venture back into the party after they had gone home and warmed up, and I don’t really blame them for that.