Even before the line-up was announced, I've been tingling with anticipation for the arrival of the 2012 Harvest Festival. Now let's be clear, I'm no "festival junkie". In an age where almost all year round our parks, stadiums and islands alike are perpetually coming to life with various festival experiences, it's difficult to decide which ones are worth the now rather inflated cost. Spending hours in a drink line with every other punter, followed by double the time crossing my legs to line up to use a flooded, paperless Portaloo lost its magic for me some time ago.
For Harvest though, I make an exception. This year will be my second Harvest experience, which I believe will by far exceed my first. Last year's spectacular line-up involved the likes of the hypnotic tones of Portishead, never having before graced the festival circuit and having last played in Australia 14 years previously, rock and roll gods The Flaming Lips both acts running simultaneous, requiring me to frantically skip between the two to catch my favourite songs a surprisingly sublime performance from TV on the Radio, as well as big names in the indie seen such as The National and Bright Eyes.
These seasoned rockers never fail to grab attention
But enough about last year. With a line-up that screams 90s alternate (one of my favourite genres), it's time to dust off the Cons/Docs, ramp up the early Triple J Hottest 100 albums and take a trip back to our teenage years. Big names like Beck, Cake, Ben Folds Five and The Dandy Warhol's throw us in a time warp. Bringing us back into the future include the likes of Icelandic post-rockers Sigur Rós, the sublime crooning Mondo Cain (for the Mike Patton fan girls and boys) and Brooklyn-based Grizzly Bear.
Harvest offers along with stellar line-ups a "complete festival experience". The Retro and Vintage Art Market, stand-up comedy, cabaret, bootleg and jazz performances, culinary delights, (Gozleme, anyone?) and three stunning stages make for a great over-all experience. Set in the tranquil and shady mecca that is Parramatta Park, Harvest (Sydney) draws out the crappy parts of festival-going like overheating and fighting through crowds of sweaty drunks, replacing them with short lines, chilled out punters and plenty of ways to relax and enjoy the music. And at the end of the day that's what festivals are all about.
Harvest kicks off on Sunday November 11 in Werribee Park, Melbourne. Sydney's Parramatta Park comes alive on Saturday November 17, and the grand finale takes place in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens on Sunday November 18.