Everything I Heard and Everything I Saw At Golden Plains Super Sweet Sixteen

In a testament to the punters’ boundless loyalty for the incredible festival, everyone including I, a career hater and critic, managed to have a wonderful time.
Arielle Richards
Melbourne, AU

Golden Plains 2024, part one of Australia’s best festival duopoly, was a time I will never forget. If not for the severe weather, the dazzling music programming, the hours spent dancing into the night, then for the sheer number of white guy dreads forced into my retinas against my will. It was awesome. 

Nolan family farm diehards were treated to 48 relentless hours of 40-degree weather. In a testament to the punters’ boundless loyalty, everyone apparently managed to have a good time. Even I, a career hater and critic, had a wonderful time. 


Across the crowd, there was no bitching to be heard, nothing but dazed grins, couples and cutesy crews languishing in rare spots of shade, water bottles being emptied over heads, and, on the dance floor, water guns ejaculating their mist into the sky, falling graciously on our scorching heads.

This year was Golden Plains’ Sweet 16th and the highlights included Japanese noise juggernauts Boris, whose life changing performance seized the Supernatural Amphitheatre and delivered me the body-shaking lobotomy I’d always dreamt of. They had a gong up on stage and, reader, I’ll assure you they gonged the shit out of it. Another highlight was techno pioneer Jeff Mills, aka the “Wizard”, who took the stage as the blistering sun finally made its descent and had everyone quickly gyrating. The Jeff Mills’ set also had a gong, but, tragically, it was only gonged once. 

Usually at a festival I’d be concerning myself with eavesdropping on conversations, attaching myself to funny people and forcing them at beer-point to say funny shit, or asking cute people to take their photos. Unfortunately, the heat was so oppressive I spent 93 per cent of my time at the festival sitting at the bar trying not to pass out. In earshot and sight of the stage, I bitched about everything within sight and earshot, and praised where it was deserved. 

The result is a half-overheard-half-spotted-half-dos-half-don’ts. I present it to you with pride. 


DO: Water truck


refreshing bore water fingers crossed we don't get cholera

If you were at the tent at the right time you might have heard the loud groan of a truck and a whoosh pitter patter. You might’ve thought, wow, that almost sounds like… a waterfall… water… oh – the water truck! And there it would have gone, trundling through the campsite, doing Jesus’ own work of spraying down airborne dirt to save the tents from dust hurricanes.

In the truck’s wake, people would appear out of nowhere in various states of dress to run, arms outstretched, like rats to the pied piper, to be doused with the blissful, refreshing spray, of what was likely grey water.

Overheard while setting up

Boy 1: Do you have any pegs?

Boy 2: Yeah, I’ll peg you.

Boy 1: No thanks mate, my buttplug’s already in. I’ll have some tent pegs though.

DON’T: White guy dreads


sorry to this man, you weren't the only one, you were just the only one I could get a good photo of

You’d think there was only one white guy with dreadlocks at Golden Plains because they all had the same outfit: a singlet, button up shirt, dad shorts, Birkenstocks and some sort of wide-brimmed hat, either teetering on top of their wad, poking through their wad or perched, terribly, on the back of the wad – a curious, gravity defying aberration. But every sighting was in fact a new person. You’d forget White Guy Dreads existed for a second and then, like an omen, one would appear. As the festival progressed, White Guy Dreads became like the hourly toll of the clock. White guy dreads, little hat. White Guy Dreads, 12:00. White Guy Dreads AND White Lady Dreads. Together or separate? They’re together! Double points. White Guy Dreads, dance floor. And on and on. And we never saw the same White Guy Dreads twice. 


DO: Goon


You, me, some poppers and a hot chardonnay goony, baby. Whaddaya reckon?


literally no one is talking about the resurgence of boxed wine. It's recession core baby, we are so back.

Overheard while packing up

Girl 1: I can’t believe I didn’t recognise Bryden, my osteo, in that

outfit. He was like “you don’t recognise me”.

Girl 2: What was he wearing?

Girl 1: Like a brown cloak and blue eyes, what’s that like “Lord of the Rings”?

DO: Let everyone know you’re a piece of shit


with a novelty tee shirt!!!!!

Overheard during the scrappy headliners, The Streets

They have one hit song and I’m pretty sure it’s about hating women for knowing they’re hot.

DON’T: Be shy to do whatever the fuck you want, even if that involves Kindle On the Dancefloor


Live like no one is looking cause they're definitely not!

DO: Honda Jazz With Flame Applique


doesn't fit the wheel? no worries, it still looks fucking hot, you know it does.

Overheard: Everything that the prophet Mulalo says is funny

Mulalo: Who the fuck is going outside the boundaries? What is outside the boundaries? I can’t imagine paying for a ticket and being dumb and going outside the festival. What are you doing?

DON’T: Show me a silly-boots bit featuring a huge, soft, cute, joyous inflatable Totoro on the side of the hill at sunset


– Unless you're rolling that mf down the hill. I'm so serious, this could have been life changing.

Overheard: Mulalo again

Mulalo: Littering is for losers. We have one Earth bitch so pick up your rubbish! Immediately!

DO: Appreciate the magical composting toilets and all that they do for you


if you say swag three times in the mirror you'll black out and wake up here

DON’T: Forget to enjoy the sunset from the hill


if you drink enough melbourne bitter tinnies you can almost take the edge off the spectacle of people playing vortex on the cusp of the hill, and resist the urge to push them down it.

Thank you again for another wonderful festival Aunty, we are very grateful!

Arielle Richards is the multimedia reporter at VICE Australia, follow her on Instagram and Twitter.