This year marks Groovin the Moo’s 10th year in Bendigo.
During the decade central Victorian music fans have been flocking to the regional touring festival, 11 acts from Bendigo and surrounds.
Darts were the first Bendigo outfit to play GTM when it arrived in 2009.
Since then The Bride Stripped Back, Oh Pacific, Grand Perceptor, Abreact, Eater of the Sky, Outlines, DD Dumbo, Fountaineer, Jack and the Kids, and Tusk have also shown off central Victoria’s musical talents.
Pyramid Hill’s Daniel Aaron will be the 12th Bendigo representative at GTM when he plays at 11.40am on Saturday.
Take a look into the past as we catch up with some of the Bendigo bands that rocked Groovin the Moo.
2009 and 2012 – Darts showcase their talent twice
Darts are the only Bendigo band to line up at Groovin the Moo twice.
The band played at GTM Bendigo’s first festival in 2009 before returning in 2012.
Band member Ally Campbell Smith said being included twice was an even blend of excitement, thankfulness, and complete terror.
“We’re mostly from Bendigo, so when a big festival like GTM sets up shop in your town, as a working band, you’re crazy if you don’t apply. I guess it was one of those find-out-what-you’re-made-of moments,” she said.
“I was only in the Darts line up for our 2012 set. When we arrived, it was surreal. We were among all of these great artists, just hanging out, really.
“We’d played big stages before, but that was our first big festival stage and it’s very different, but being a local, we had plenty of people we knew in front row, so that helped the nerves.”
After the initial celebrations of being announced on the line-up, Campbell Smith said the band practised a lot.
“You realise you have a hard grind ahead. It can be a big shock, especially if you’ve never played a festival stage,” she said.
“It’s different than rocking up to a club/pub/bar to play. You have a lot more to consider, and plan for.
“But it pays off. Having GTM on the resume lead to so many more opportunities for us.”
In the decade since their first GTM set, Darts released an album in 2015 and invited to play at Canadian Music week in 2016.
“We’re currently working on our next album, constantly developing our music, experimenting with different producers,” Campbell Smith said.
“Our focus is getting an album together that we’re really happy to put out, so we’ll be doing a lot of work behind closed doors this year.”
2011 - The Bride Stripped Back’s quirky festival bid
Alt-rock band The Bride Stripped Back had a memorable bid for its GTM slot.
The band created a cow’s head from paper and fake fur which they sent to Triple J headquarters in Sydney. It work and they were signed to the 2011 line-up.
“At the time I just felt like it was the next thing for us as we had received the big Arts Vic grant to fund the album,” singer Natalie Edith said.
“We then made the album and we’re playing heaps of shows around Victoria. We had heaps of momentum so I tried to use that in our application alongside some really quirky items.”
Edith said the experience of GTM made her feel like a rock star.
“I remember it being a really overwhelming and exciting time to be part of the Bendigo Music Scene,” she said.
“The event itself had all the experiences of making you feel a bit like a rock star – the nice back stage area, complimentary drinks and food, even a ping pong table. At one stage we deliberately hit a ping pong ball into the Jezabels tent to try and nab some of their drinks.
“The time on stage was terrifying for me and if I am being completely honest – we shouldn’t of been nervous- it was a really early spot and the crowds hadn’t come in yet.”
But as well as the pros of a festival gig, Edith said there were potential cons.
“If you aren’t ready to push to that next level after being on the line up for a festival like that it can actually break you a little bit. I think we were exhausted after everything we had done,” she said.
“It was like ‘well, we’ve done GTM, we don’t need to worry about anything else after that’. I wanted to keep pushing for more but unfortunately without a big commitment from the entire band it’s hard to take that on all by yourself.
“Everyone else had their things they wanted to do so I had to respect that decision.”
Bride Stripped Back recorded four songs after GTM and played Echuca’s Riverboats Festival.
Eight years on, Edith plays with a variety of bands but hopes to write fresh material.
“All of the other players have been quite active in their musical pursuits,” she said.
“I have been playing drums in bands but I have bought a new guitar and fixed up my old ones, so who knows (what the future holds).”
2012 – Terror-rock takes over GTM as Grand Perceptor are unearthed
Grand Perceptor were possible the most unique Bendigo band to play at Groovin the Moo.
Playing what they called terror-rock, Sparrow Daley, Michael Fitt and Dean Stanton took to the stage in 2012.
“That was our thing at the time, it was sort of result of sound we happened to make when came together,” Sparrow said.
“It was a surprisingly comfortable gig. The large crowd is more comforting than small one because there’s so many people, you can’t see their eyes.”
Grand Perceptor secured their GTM spot off the back of a strong EP and a small Victorian tour.
“It was just was the next logical step – just trying to keep getting gigs,” Sparrow said.
“We applied by putting music on Unearthed and did our best to make good quality content. It felt like a reward for a lot of hard work when we got the gig.”
Since 2012, Grand Perceptor have gone their separate ways to work on other music projects.
Sparrow’s latest project is a solo loop rock show.
“I was about to have a single launch in Melbourne at the Brunswick Hotel but the venue collapsed two days before the show,” he said.
“I haven’t rescheduled yet but that will be something that is happening soon.”
2013 - Hard work launches Abreact in to music scene
Bendigo metal band Abreact took to the GTM stage in 2013.
It was had work and touring that saw the band secured as the Unearthed act for GTM Bendigo.
“We had been touring a fair bit and our debut single 'Bomber' had got to number 1 on Triple J Unearthed's metal charts and stayed there for around four or so weeks,” guitarist Lee Chatterton said.
“As a result we were able to get a small amount of airplay on the station.”
On getting the call-up, Chatterton said he couldn’t imagine anyone saying no.
“It was pretty surreal getting a phone call from Triple J. Obviously we jumped at the chance,” he said.
“It was never our aim, we just wanted to make the best album we could, play hard and tour hard.
“We do this for ourselves, no other reason. However, it does feel great when someone acknowledges the hard work you put into something.
Chatterton said GTM was a great experience for the band as well as making the most of their access all area passes, it gave them insight about how professionals get the job done on a large scale.
“It was a well oiled machine and everything went smoothly. The camaraderie between the artists was also great,” he said.
“(GTM) was definitely the biggest show we had played, but we were ready for it and had been honing our stage show for a while.
“From our point of view, we try and put on the same show whether there is 3 people there or 300. I think that work ethic meant really we just treated it like any other show, no nerves and no mistakes.”
In 2015 they were selected by Converse to record at Bryan Adams’ Warehouse Studio in Canada as part of their Rubber Tracks program.
“As a result of this recording session we released 'The Warehouse Sessions' 7-inch vinyl EP in 2016 and did some more touring,” Chatterton said.
“During this time we supporting In Hearts Wake, Bam Margera, King Parrot, Underside (Nepal) and more recently Superheist.
”We are currently working on a new album and hope to have that out this year.”
2013 – Battle of the bands win secures Eater of the Sky slot at GTM
While playing on a massive festival stage for the first time seemed like big deal, it wasn’t stressful for three-piece rocker Eater of the Sky.
“I remember although it being a pretty big deal playing such a big event for the first time but I wasn't overly stressed the entire time,” bass player Declan Hain said.
“It was really relaxing hanging out with my band mates, enjoying the awesome weather and just walking around seeing how a festival of that size operates behind the scenes.”
Along with Abreact, the Bendigo band was selected to play GTM Bendigo in 2013.
Eater of the Sky came to the festival’s notice after winning a battle of the bands.
“One of the prizes was a slot at Pushover. Our manager at the time had used that to get us a slot on GTM. He told us after our set was over and we all super stoked. It was a great surprise,” Hain said.
“Going from tiny pub shows something like Pushover and GTM out of nowhere was super unexpected.”
“We got a lot of new fans from that show.”<iframe src="https://www.triplejunearthed.com/embed/6749646" scrolling="no" style="border: medium none; overflow: hidden; height: 160px; width: 455px;">triple j Unearthed Embedded Player</iframe>
In the five years since their GTM slot, Eater of the Sky have continued to tour.
“We have played a lot of shows since then in some pretty cool places,” Hain said.
“We are still writing, recording and performing music together and have released two EPs since then. The latest was released on Australia Day 2018.”
2015 – Record deal and albums come from Fountaineer’s GTM experience
Groovin the Moo 2015 is still a vivid memory for Fountaineer.
The band applied to try to fulfill its dream of having its music played on the radio.
“It’s the chance to get a foot, or a little toe, in the door of the music world,” Fountaineer singer Anthony White said.
“I remember my wife and friends sporting Fountaineer T-shirts right up the front, bopping along to our songs about Bendigo. It was like playing AusKick on the MCG as a kid – a taster of sorts.
“But I’m (still) not sure how comfortable I feel about being partly responsible for shutting down the Showgrounds Market for a week.”
In the three years since their GTM set, Fountaineer have signed to a record label and released their debut album.
“Waking up to four-star reviews from Rolling Stone and the Herald Sun for our debut album last year was something I’ll never forget,” he said.
“We’ve gone from playing to eight people in Melbourne – mum and dad included – at the start of 2017 to playing for plenty of lovely strangers around Australia for our Greater City, Greater Love tour – including a really memorable packed basement in Bendigo.
“(Since 2015) we’ve also been lucky enough to play with (UK band) Catfish & The Bottlemen and support Gang of Youths on their recent national tour.”
Fountaineer are currently recording their second album.
2016 – Jack and the Kids recall mixed emotions at GTM selection
Jack and The Kids performed in 2016 after Unearthed by Triple J.
“Getting to play on one of the main stages was something that I don't think I will ever forget doing,” frontman Jack Kennedy said.
“Being at the festival at such an early hour like 9.30am was also pretty surreal as we got to the see the day unfold from a completely different perspective to when you're a punter.”
On being selected to represent Bendigo, Kennedy said there were a lot of mixed emotions.
“The day we heard our names read out on the radio announcing that we were going to be playing was a few different feelings, excited, happy but most of all proud that Triple J had given us some recognition,” he said.
“The festival were great to deal with, and as far as pros go, the main thing was getting more exposure than we would have got if we didn't play the festival.
“Since GTM we are still together, and have been lucky enough to play shows either alongside or supporting British India, Gretta Ray, Ali Barter, Alice Ivy and The Pretty Littles.
“We have also released a couple of songs since then too.”
Jack and the Kids plan to release some new music in the next few months and will support British India at Tap House on Friday, May 11.
2017 – Tusk spend 12 months post GTM writing and recording
In the 12 months since Tusk took to the main stage at Groovin the Moo, the band has been busy writing songs.
With releases tipped for later this year, band founder Jaydon Weppner said the plan is to just keep writing and recording music.
“We have spent the last year songwriting, getting more in-depth with our sound as a band,” he said.
Looking back on the band’s time at GTM, Weppner said it was filled with great memories.
“It’s always nice to play on big stages, so when we have an opportunity to play on a stage with some of the world’s best talent, it’s silly not to apply,” he said.
“We were shown a lot of support through a lot of different media outlets which definitely made it very exciting but a big positive was definitely the promotion side of things.
“Triple J and GTM are two very big companies when it comes to Australian music.”