Harvesting the best festival

The day began as an expensive and frustrating hunt for a car park, but it was a mere freckle on what was one of the most prestigious line-ups this festival season.

The sun shone brilliantly on Saturday as Brisbane's Botanic Gardens hosted the inaugural Harvest Festival.

It was a run of artists that attracted everyone from the hippest of hipsters, nostalgic baby boomers and uninhibited music nerds.

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First band I saw? Just one of the first multi-gender, multi-race funk bands in the world. That's right; The Family Stone (minus Sly) played a best-of set with most of the original members in tow.

Their grooves (and moves) were energetic and they were still toting their flower power ethos.

Brooklyn's "can-do-no-wrong" collective, TV on the Radio, were electric and divinely charismatic on songs Golden Age and Wolf Like Me.

I used to consider Bright Eyes an overrated Elliott Smith rip-off, but their sunset gig was a frenetic mix of indie-juiced Americana and crowd-quieting ballads.

Prodigal leader Conor Oberst looked like a teen but howled like a man beyond his years.

New York's nephews of gloom The National welcomed the evening with a run of songs mostly from their latest album, High Violet.

They sounded like new-found classics, delivered in Matt Berninger's smooth growl and communicated through lyrics wrought with sadness.

From doom to daisies, The Flaming Lips are one of the most feel-good bands on the planet.

With hits She Don't Use Jelly to Do You Realize, leading lip Wayne Coyne ruled his kingdom of singing minions with balloons, confetti cannons and a seizure-inducing light show.

Nineties trip-hoppers Portishead provided the most awe-inspiring set of the festival. With their glitchy, spasmodic, bass-thumping scorchers, the Bristol trio emerged as a band that's still relevant and still making unconventional music.

Magic occurred when they played the tunes from their seminal 1993 debut Dummy.

The stripped-back epics Glorybox and Wandering Star no doubt changed a life or two.

Come back next year, Harvest.



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