Mountain Sounds – review and photos


Melissa Barrass and Damon Collum headed to the boutique/sustainable Australian festival, based on the Central Coast of New South Wales:

For a small-scale festival, Mountain Sounds surely packs a punch. With a formidable and diverse lineup featuring the likes of Tkay Maidza, Deep Sea Arcade, DZ Deathrays, Northeast Party House, and many more, Mountain Sounds is the Central Coast’s coolest boutique festival.

The festival boasted a snug set up at Mt Penang, Kariong where old couches laced the grass, dream catchers hung from trees, and a hay bale pyramid provided optimum viewing. There was a great sense of unspoilt nature to this festival, as the patrons were quite relaxed and joyful despite the bleak weather. There were twister mats, bubbles, jungle-covered stages, plenty of food and drink options, and even a ‘can pick-up’ initiative.

Mountain Sounds

The staff donned khaki Mountain Sounds shirts and were equally enjoying the pleasures of the day as working hard to serve the scores of people that were flooding into the grounds.

The first act of the day that I managed to see, was East (pictured, top) at the Nuvo tent. East is a young and impressionable singer with an resonant Australian sound to her vocals that remind you of Missy Higgins. The crowd welcomed her hit “Old Age” that was recently a finalist in channel V’s October Disco[v]er segment.

After an average pizza, I caught were Winterbourne (Sydney) at the Unicorn stage. The lightly growling vocals and uplifting guitars sent the modest crowd into a springing jig. Before leaving the popular stage, I stuck around for Pepa Knight, a collective of bearded children of the earth, clad in Indian attire and 3D glasses. The stage was beautifully decorated in florals to match their get-up, and their dreamy, Indian-influenced sounds. The lead singer impressively played a variety of stringed instruments and sent listeners into a state of calm and relaxation.

Pepa Knight

After D.D Dumbo’s unfortunate withdrawal, I made sure I clambered back to the Nuvo dance tent where a huge crowd had already built up for the energetic rapper Tkay Maidza. Getting a still shot of Maidza was almost impossible, as were her adoring fans, but it is safe to say that she was a clear highlight of the day. Her
popular song Switch Lanes was a crowd favourite, and she also performed her recent release M.O.B. I admit I was a skeptic of Tkay prior to Mountain Sounds but I have been persuaded that she is indeed a national treasure, a saving grace for Aussie hip hop/rap, and a bridge between Australia and the world in music diversity.

It was my first time seeing the much-hyped North East Party House, and I cannot help but draw a comparison to Bloc Party, with the band’s big, shredding sounds. The crowd loved the set and with a few impromptu on-stage costume changes, the band kept the party mode flowing despite the ever-looming chance of rain.


However, by the middle of DZ Deathrays’ set, mother nature could not hold on any longer, prompting some patrons to find cover, leaving the loyal, long-haired rockers up the front to rinse out the sweat from the day. I have caught DZ Deathrays recently at Falls, which I didn’t get to enjoy in its entirety due to being up the very back of the
crowd, and not being able to hear the deafening, messy guitar rifs. This time was different. Being up and close to DZ Deathrays is the only way to be.

Before venturing to the Jungle stage to see late additions Deep Sea Arcade, I went to check out the Bus stage which is this clever DJ set up inside of the bus. The groovers and disco dancers were treated to remixes and original beats from Luke Million and Acaddamy. I even managed to sit in the bus a variety of times to relax after a big day of great music (or mainly to watch Acaddamy’s quick skill on the decks under the haze of dreamy lights).

Deep Sea Arcade

Closing the night for me were a personal favourite band that I really do enjoy seeing live, Deep Sea Arcade (pictured, above). The boys can really make excellent poppy psych rock, and the crowd definitely agreed by braving the continuous drizzly weather. The band played their strongest hits “Steam”, “Seen No Right”, “Girls”, and “Granite City” leaving me very happy, in fact so happy I skipped right past Allison Wonderland’s set as a cannon burst confetti into the masses and I jumped in my car to avoid the crowds and head on home.

Thank you Mountain Sounds for a relaxed and open festival. To quote one punter, Dave from Batemans Bay… “I regret nothing.”

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We’ve posted a gazillion more pictures from Mountain Sounds on Facebook. Have a look and tag yourself.

melissa barrass



Review by Melissa Barrass. Photos by Melissa Barrass and Damon Collum.