Flight Facilities Share Their Favourite Splendour In The Grass Memory
I PM’ed Hugo Gruzman from FLIGHT FACILITIES, hoping to nab a couple of sentences off him if I was lucky, for a series of articles Purple Sneakers is putting together on the best memories of Splendour In The Grass from this year’s SITG lineup (which are coming soon).
He hit me back with over 800 words and gave me the privilege of reading one of the best festival stories I’ve ever seen. “It’s long but that story needed to be told” Hugo explains. This is how it goes:
By far my favourite memory of Splendour In The Grass involved my cousin, Dreems (formerly Gus Da Hoodrat). When we played Splendour back in 2011, I kept bumping into him at different intervals during the final hours of the festival. Each of which added another piece to a puzzle that was circulating amongst friends and acquaintances.
My night went like this:
I saw Gus before his DJ set.
2 hours later I saw him wearing a makeshift headscarf.
Another hour later I barely recognised him.
His night went like this:
Gus was on his way to DJ in the Smirnoff tent. It was some time during that set that he went outside for a cigarette. The security guard, deciding Gus was too drunk, then disallowed him from re-entering, disregarding the fact that the current song would end and no DJ would be present. Management got involved and they decided that not only was he too drunk to finish DJing, but he was too drunk to be in the festival entirely.
So Gus was escorted out to the festival exit, where he spoke to more reasonable security and staff. He informed them that his records were still inside and that he could not and would not leave without them. Being escorted back in, he grabbed his records and trying his new found luck, swiped a bottle of rum for good measure.
This was where the security guards decided to up the stakes and hand Gus over to the police for being in possession of a bottle of alcohol at a festival. A security guard sat him down on the side of the pathway to the festival and the police, while dealing with another matter, were due to attend to him in a number of minutes. Gus took this opportunity to fling the booze bottle into the bushes to ditch the evidence. The guard, having seen this, made sure to grab the offending bottle.
This was the perfect moment, Gus decided, thinking better of spending a night with Queensland’s finest. He sprinted off into the darkness, security and the police quickly losing him in the crowd. He was free to enjoy the festival again. But he needed a disguise. There’s only so well a bearded, red headed, severely tattooed man can hide. So donning a jumper as a makeshift headscarf, he set off like Lawrence of Arabia.
This was my second encounter with Gus. He pulled down his headscarf and his smile was beaming. Not only had he got back into the festival, but he’d convinced an artist liaison golf buggy to drive him back stage and to give him some other artist’s accreditation. He was officially someone else. He told me he was on the run and avoiding being recognised again and that he needed a better disguise.
I had dinner and made my way to meet Jimmy (the other half of FF) at the artist liaison tent. Jimmy was getting some wrist bands printed off for friends. As the lady helping us went to cut them up, she said “Argh. I just lent one of the artists the scissors. He never brought them back.”
I only realised how amazing this quote was 30 minutes later when Gus turned up wearing lipstick, glasses, his jumper as a hat and the patchiest shave job anyone has ever accomplished on a beard, using desk scissors. I fell into uncontrollable laughter, but in hindsight, this was an admirable level of commitment to remain in a festival that had not more than a few hours of music left on its last night.
You’d think the story would end here – but it doesn’t. I left the festival and went to bed. My girlfriend at the time, Jimmy and some of our friends stayed. I found out the following day that they partied until the sun was nearly up and the festival was being dismantled. They needed somewhere to sleep until daylight, so they all huddled up and hit the couches in the empty artist eating area. And who should walk in at 5am clutching multiple bottles? Gus. Supplied with alcohol by festival staff who loved whichever band his artist pass claimed to be from.
The following day he calls me from a friend’s car, who found him walking from the site (in Woodford, which has no civilisation for miles and miles, but at this point he’s the luckiest man at Splendour, so it’s understandable). He’s heading straight for the airport like an agent on the debriefing of his ‘Mission Accomplished’. I asked Gus what the hell happened and how his night ended (having been informed from my girlfriend that she’d seen him in the empty artist area at 5am). In a direct quote from Gus: “I woke up the next morning, face down in the main artist area, surrounded by not only a large amount of empty booze bottles, borrowed from somewhere else – I’m not sure – but the main organiser of the festival (with some very nice looking family friends) standing over me… where is my other shoe?”.
Words by Hugo Gruzman