With the summer vibes of 2019 in full swing, attending music festivals are the only way you should be appropriately spending your weekends. And with the new year celebrations still rolling, Bribe Island was the place to be as it played host to the inaugural For Shore Festival.
As the sun hit peak intensity at Sandstone Point Hotel, the gates opened for keen patrons who felt like an early afternoon drink with the slick indie stylings of Future Jr playing as a perfect soundtrack. With CXLOE strutting her way onto the stage to the moody ‘Monster’, she kicked off a polished set that cemented her as one of Australia’s biggest pop acts in 2019. With only three songs officially released, a lot of her set relied on unreleased material that heavily impressed with their big hooks and engaged the crowd instantly. The 80’s vibes of ‘You Know Too Much’ slid perfectly into the seductive nature of ‘On My Mind’ before ‘Bad Guy’ gave serious bad ass and empowering feels. But it was her new single ‘I Can’t Have Nice Things’ which will be released before she joins Maroon 5 on tour next month, that got the crowd really excited. The polished synth track has this Selena Gomez ‘Hands To Myself’ vibe mixed in with the sonical flavouring of Banks and Tove Lo. Later mixing it up with a cover of Tove Lo’s ‘Cool Girl’ she wrapped up her set with her single ‘Tough Love’ and ‘Show You’ which had the crowd singing along. She effortlessly moved across the stage and interacted with her band showing a strong confidence that not a lot of newcomers have.
With the mid afternoon atmosphere kicking in, Dom Dolla took the diverse party ready crowd to the next level with his clubbing anthems ‘You’, ‘Define’ and ‘Take It’. Motez then took over with his playful set that featured crowd favourites ‘The Future’ and ‘Down Like This’ surrounded by groovy palm trees. But with the sun beginning to go down and kites flying high in the sky, WAFIA brought back the full band vibes with a lot of emotion and a whole lot of dancing. Beginning a little moody she cruised through ‘Only Love’, ‘Window Seat’ and a cover of Frank Ocean’s Lost’ before turning up the volume on ‘’Love Somebody’ and ’83 Days’. Slowing it down briefly again she delivered ‘Heartburn’ and her classic over of Mario’s ‘Let Me Love You’ which first introduced her to the world. But she kept all the party vibes right to the end and exploded with dance moves during ‘Better Not’, ‘Bodies’ and the confetti filled ‘I’m Good’ which were instant festival highlights. Her stage presence has grown a lot over the past couple of years and she’s beginning to own the stage a lot more as a performer whilst still showing that humble presence you first fell in love with. The crowd were ecstatically in love with her with a constant “WAFIA!” chant happening in between songs.
Walking out to a packed hillside, SAFIA were in instant full band mode as lead singer, Ben Woolner headed straight to his keyboard to kick off their set with ‘Over You’. Celebrating the last couple of years of non-stop touring and heavy Triple J rotation they instantly delivered all the fan favourites like ‘Freakin Out’, ‘Together Locked Safely’, ‘Cellophane Rainbow’ and ‘Bye Bye’ which transitioned into a cover of Gorillaz ‘Feel Good Inc’. “Brisbane, how are you?”, Woolner screamed to the hyped crowd who were dancing the sunset away. They continued to power through ‘Starlight’, ‘Listen To Soul, Listen To Blues’, Take Me Over’ and ‘Make Them Wheels Roll’ before a strange and well received stripped down cover of Britney Spears ‘Oops I Did It Again’ which perfectly transitioned into ‘Counting Sheep’. With fire pyrotechnics going off across the stage they wrapped up their set with ‘Embracing Me’, ‘My Love Is Gone’ and a whole lot of confetti. This set marked a momentous end to their debut album touring cycle with their sophomore release excitingly slated for later this year.
The Presets are undisputedly some of the pioneers of Australian EDM music. And they proved the sold out crowd why they are with a set full of hits, hits and hits. Opening with the iconic hook of ‘Talk Like That’ their dark visual production exploded with their high energy hooks of ‘Martini’, ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Do What You Want’. The crowd were instantly singing along to every word while ‘Downtown Shutdown’, ‘This Boys In Love’ and Youth In Trouble’ offered their slightly more experimental deliveries. Their dark lighting made it hard to see them at times and made the iconic ‘My People’ lose it’s extra flair. But their sound production was on a whole new level and made the live versions of these songs have their own life. Continuing the dance party with ‘Are You There?’ and ‘Together’, they closed out their set with ‘Until The Dark’ accompanied with a massive firework display.
Taking to the stage for their massive headline set, PNAU brought the neon fantasy to Bribe Island with a epileptic light show and some cool costumes. Joined by New York vocalist Kira Divine they started low key with ‘Changa’ and ‘Nothing In The World before dropping the heavy dance moments of ‘Change’ and ‘Wild Strawberries’. After the political undertones of ‘No More Violence’ they treated the crowd with the hit ‘Go Bang’ which really cemented the party vibes they were trying to manifest. A lot of their set was half curated to make their show feel like a giant club but it was also half an art installation with cool visuals and an experimental approach which in moments got lost with the crowd. Announcing they had a new song coming out in a couple of weeks, they premiered ‘So It Goes’ in all of it’s polished glory whilst Come Together’, ‘Embrace’ and ‘Control Your Body’ wrapped up the rest of their set. They said that they usually go off stage and come back on for an encore but they felt like letting the good vibes flow so they stayed on stage and closed the show with ‘Chameleon’ and a giant firework display. Whilst their set was visually appealing and had cool moments, The Presets probably would’ve been a more impactful headliner. But the rest of the line up was perfectly selected with some of Australia’s biggest newcomers and rising stars that are currently dominating the touring circuit.
But as the first year of For Shore wrapped up, the crowd was already talking about how excited they were for the 2020 instalment. So hopefully this inaugural festival will be back, bigger and ever better next year.
Check out the full gallery captured by Zac Montgomery Photography HERE;
Photos by Zac Montgomery