ACT News

Groovin The Moo line-up: SAFIA counting sheep until playing at the rural festival

The Groovin the Moo 2016 line-up has been revealed with a predominantly Aussie group of artists touring for the rural music festival, including Canberra's own SAFIA.

Ben Woolner, Michael Bell and Harry Sayers are no strangers to music festivals, clocking up the likes of Splendour in the Grass, South by Southwest, Falls Festival and Field Day in 2015 alone. But Groovin the Moo holds a special place for SAFIA, with the fresh-faced trio having won the triple J Unearthed spot to open the festival in 2012.

Canberra's SAFIA will play the Groovin the Moo 2016 festival.
Canberra's SAFIA will play the Groovin the Moo 2016 festival. Photo: Supplied

"It's gonna be a lot of fun, it's one of my favourite festivals to play," lead singer Woolner says.

"It's such a well-run festival, it has such a good vibe. The promoters and the organisers really know how to look after the artists and the crowds are just really easy-going, friendly music lovers and they support every band throughout the day from start to finish."

Last year, the trio headed to Europe and the US for a string of shows, but 2016 will be all about their debut full-length album, due out later this year.

"We're finishing off songs one by one and it's sounding really cool. I'm really excited first of all for when we finish it so we can have a little rest cause we've been working super hard on it and then it's also a good chance for us cause we've only released standalone singles so far," he said.

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"With singles you can't be doing seven-minute songs and full instrumental tracks so we've really been able to explore the repertoire and the structure of the songs a bit more and really flesh them out to go and hopefully take you on a bigger overall journey rather than just singles so that's been really fun as well.

"All our singles before – every song is kind of different from the last, and it's no different with the album. Lots of songs go in super different directions but they all tie together nicely."

SAFIA's inclusion on the festival line-up comes fresh off the back of coming in at numbers 35 and 23 in the Hottest 100 with Counting Sheep and Embracing Me respectively.

"To have both of our songs get so high was amazing. We thought Counting Sheep could get in but when it started passing 50 we were like 'oh no, it's probably not gonna get in' so we gave up on that one and then when it came on it was like number 35, that was one of the best moments there because that was legitimately such a surprise," he said.

The full Groovin the Moo line-up, which was announced on Thursday, also features Hottest 100 winners the Rubens along with British India, Boy & Bear, Alison Wonderland, Illy, Drapht, Boo Seeka and Remi among the local acts.

The international portion of the line-up is completely from the US, with MS Mr, Mutemath, Odesza, Twenty One Pilots plus rappers Danny Brown and Vic Mensa.

Groovin the Moo, which visits Canberra on April 24, is one of the few remaining touring festivals in Australia, with other festivals SoulFest, Future Music Festival, The Big Day Out, Homebake, Harvest, Movement and Pyramid Rock all biting the dust in the past few years.

Woolner believes its longevity is because the rural event is "run so well", and in a time where overdoses at music festivals have become a regular occurrence, is still at its core all about the music.

"The big festivals get associated a lot with people just going to have a big party and people grow out of that," he said.

"I think it's gotta be about the music first and foremost, that's why it's a music festival. So that's probably a big factor as to why they're still going and still so strong."

Groovin the Moo

When: Sunday, April 24

Where: University of Canberra

Tickets: Go on sale February 2 from gtm.net.au.