The inaugural year of Castaway in South Australia began as dozens of boats sailed along the coast and crowds flocked onto Glenelg beach in waves under the burning hot sun on January 3. Originating in WA in 2015 by John Zaccaria, the man also behind music festival ‘SummerSalt’, Zaccaria Touring blessed SA with talented all-Australian artists behind the hottest contemporary electronic hits.
The line-up included our very own Adelaide duo Pines, giving us some energetic dance and electronic tunes to start the day. Lastlings, a brother/sister group, gave fans some trippy electronic pop songs like Déjà Vu and Willaris. K provided crowds with dark and moody techno beats as the sun beat down onto increasing crowds in the late afternoon.
Thousands of sweaty fans immediately migrated towards Wafia, as she softly introduced herself to us saying she used to live in Berri, SA and that Glenelg was her local beach! In a black crop and with long flowing curly hair, she glided around singing hits like Be Fine, Hurts and her popular track, Bodies, even performing a chilled cover of Frank Ocean’s Lost. Her small stature didn’t diminish from her big enchanting stage presence. Wafia thanked us for being in the sun and partying with her, smiling as she told us to “Stay safe, stay hydrated” before performing her last song I’m Good.
The extreme heat lead crowds to desperately gather underneath sprinklers and towards water fountains and ice-cream stalls. Even the sweltering weather didn’t deter the public who needed a glimpse of our summer sand Castaway party, as outsiders climbed playgrounds to enjoy the electronic dance music leaking through Glenelg. The grass filled areas of people who ate lunch, seeking shadows of shade across the venue looked both relaxed and exhausted.
The party had just begun as The Presets burst onto stage starting with Talk Like That. A second wave of fresh energy abruptly overtook heat-struck fans as they dredged through the sand to get closer to the stage. Tunes like Martini were performed and 2008’s My People, giving everyone a nostalgic classic to bop to. Thousands of people clapped along in synchronistic unison to Are You The One? in 39°c heat at 7pm with smiles and sand piles stuck in their shoes. One of the final songs of the set was 14U+14ME before the electronic superstars made way for the festival headline.
The alternative group from Sydney formed in 2010 and meld together electronic, dance, house and indie music styles with emotional and lyrical depth. The band performed You Were Right and Like An Animal, from their 2016 album Bloom. Rüfüs Du Sol’s vocalist and guitarist Tyrone Lindqvist, dressed in a long flowing black top magically stood stage front in the windy sunset singing one of the bands most pensive tunes Lost In My Mind. Jon George on keyboards and James Hunt on drums helped Lindqvist out and kept the crowd’s attention, performing Underwater and the addictive and emotively ambient Innerbloom, singing with the crowd: “If you want me, if you need me, I’m yours.”
As George welcomed us into “2020, a new decade, what a way to start!”, the band started playing Treat You Better, leading a dreamy, unstoppable dancing crowd to the ending of their set. The guys also let us know that “Just in case we didn’t get dirty or sweaty enough, give us all your sweat and all your sand”, then thanked us for their decade of success as a group, fittingly performing No Place as their last song of the night. Melodic keyboard, chimes and drum beats pounded under purple glitter lasers shining down on each band member as little fires of phone lights lit up on beachside balconies communicating with phone lights from the sand crowds below.
Looking around during the final celebration of the night, I saw friends on one another’s shoulders operating useless but hilarious binocular shaped hands “zooming in” on their friends in a squashed but friendly crowd. Feel-good vibes continued to vibrate like a blanket among the sand as people freshened each other with leftover drops of their water from their reusable bottles. Sun, water and sweat drenched fans stomped out of Castaway’s sandy mosh pit leaving a mess of memories behind from a wonderful waterfront day of unstoppable heat, fun and dance.
Live Review By Zara Zampaglione