Pagan rituals inspire festival costumes at Splendour

ATTENTION TO DETAIL: Llama Kendall, Jade Elise and Maggie Schreiber revel in Splendour in the Grass costumes.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL: Llama Kendall, Jade Elise and Maggie Schreiber revel in Splendour in the Grass costumes. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

FIRE twirlers, dancers dressed as pagan gods and actors from a twisted Victorian era will be just some of the performers taking to the Tipi Forest stage.

The Tipi Forest is the festival's live electronic dance site and will this year feature 39 performers with acts every hour.

A highlight of the performances is the elaborate costumes created by Byron Bay designer Llama Kendall.

Ms Kendall said the theme for this year's Tipi Forest was "pagan love ritual".

"All of the artists on every level, whether music, stage art, or performance art, are trying to embrace that idea," she said.

An example is two young Victorian-era girls gone "wild and feral" after their great aunt in the manor house died.

"They're wearing torn Victorian petticoats and they've actually started to morph into animal beings, so they have these animal horns and headdresses," Ms Kendall said.

"Those girls are going to run around the dance floor and give out little stained bits of paper with lots of little wishes to people," she said.

The Egyptian god Isis was the inspiration for another pagan-themed costume.

As well as creating all 39 costumes, Ms Kendall, in her role as "performance wrangler" for the Tipi Forest site, has also worked to organise and match performers to the DJ timetable.

The Byron Bay costume designer has worked for festivals for more than 20 years, including Big Day Out and the Burning Man festival in the US.

This is her fifth Splendour in the Grass.

"This is probably the best situated Tipi site in the whole festival that we've ever had," she said.

Ms Kendall works on her label StrangeDreams, out of her home studio in the Byron hinterland.

She said the concept behind the label was about being able to live an unusual and creative dream.

"It's a little bit about taking all of those fantasy elements and putting them together and letting people play out their fantasies," she said.


Festival goers can relax and grab a bite to eat at the craft café which is inside a vintage bus with skylights and living grass walls.
Festival goers can relax and grab a bite to eat at the craft café which is inside a vintage bus with skylights and living grass walls.

New Initiative

BANDS are not the only things drawing a crowd at Splendour this year.

Workshop space Splendour in the Craft was so successful last year, organisers had to call in security to manage the crowd.

Festival goers can use the centre to make piñata boom boxes, guitar pick charm bracelets, jazzed-up sunnies and beard embellishments.

It also features a "Mend it like Beckham" stall where festival goers get mending for free.

This year, the craft centre is back by popular demand and will feature an added extra, this time catering to Splendour singles.

It's called Craft Singles and organisers described it as "speed dating over the warmth of a hot glue gun".

Splendour in the Craft co-curator Tory Bauer said the idea of "craft singles" had started as an ongoing joke.

"We had been joking about it and then we actually found a workshop in Sydney that was doing something similar so we contacted them (to run it), " she said.

Festival goers can relax and grab a bite to eat at the craft café, inside a vintage bus with skylights and living grass walls.

The Southside Tea room, as the craft café is known, is run by members of Australian indie band The Grates.

Ms Bauer said she believed music festivals were no longer just about the music.

"People are looking for a point of difference and it just seemed an obvious thing for people to do," she said.

Topics:  splendour in the grass

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