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Groovin the Moo 2023: your ultimate guide

Two pictures combined into one with text, The top is from the crowd of a dj set at a music festival as blue lights highlight the crowd dancing, below is from the crowd of another music festival where artist genesis owusu stands on the stage singing with a red visual from the stage screen behind him. the text reads "Groovin the moo guide: breaking down the set list"

Welcome to the ultimate Groovin the Moo 2023 guide for the April 23rd music festival being held on Ngambri & Ngunnawal country. Below you will find my guide to help any festival goer see which stages to be at and when. As I break down a setlist order that’ll maximize seeing the sickest artists from a bunch of genres from start to finish of the festival day. Scroll down to see two must-see performers for the day and learn about their music. Then before leaving to create your own set schedule, read some short and sweet breakdowns of all the types of music being performed throughout the day, so you can really start to plan your whereabouts! I am the Owl’s Tilly Bell, and welcome to pre’s and planning before the big day.

A photo of a list of all the musical acts performing across the 3 stages at the Groovin the Moo festival, with black arrows following what Tilly would pick to go and watch and numbered also.
Catch 17 sets: my guide to GTM 2023

Alrighty so GTM always has 3 stages. There’s a lot of acts to churn through and enjoy so here’s my picks. But firstly, make sure you go early to the festival! There are some awesome local acts to catch, and you’ve paid good money for a ticket may as well go and soak up all the experience you can.

By following my guide in the photo above, you’ll have an absolute ripper of a time. You will catch staple Aussie acts, a few international musicians, and local artists covering a wide range of genres including indie, rock, alternative, rap, electronic and a bit of a mix in-between also.

Extra tip! When you’re looking at the set times photo (click through to Canberra’s on photo 4 below), be aware that the stages don’t line up in regard to timing! Be sure to check the times of each set properly between the stages and get used to practicing figuring out your 24 hour time (just minus 12 from the time on the list and you’ll be good to go).

Now you might see some artists on the setlist you’re keen for that my guide misses. No stress! If you see any familiar names, be sure to check them out. But! I would be remiss if I didn’t at least recommend two must see musical talents that’ll be taking the stage.

Royel Otis: 12:40pm @ Moolin Rouge stage

To really get your fresh and funky alternative fix I’ve gotta point you in the direction of Royel Otis, if you don’t already know them. Royel Otis are quite underrated, and I’d absolutely recommend checking out their set. The two-piece band from Sydney will be blending songs from their 2022 EP Bar & Grill and newly released album Sofa Kings. Their set is sure to have upbeat tracks and some more mellow tunes. All that give off happy surf & sunny day vibes to be enjoyed next to your friends. Plus you can be one of those people that says “oh dude I saw Royel Otis before they were hugely famous”. Their song Kool Aid is such a rad representation of the fun you could be having at their set.

Genesis Owusu: 6.50pm @ Moolin Rouge stage

I can’t recommend Genesis Owusu enough. Not only is it unreal to support our local Canberran artists, but the level of performance during his sets is not just a musical experience, but art for the eyes and ears. You can count on Genesis to be wearing a sick as outfit, with his backup vocalists and hype men wearing something along the same colour scheme (usually red and black). His award-winning album Smiling With No Teeth brought Genesis the honour of being awarded the 2023 ACT young Australian of the year as it highlighted issues such as racism and depression throughout the 15 track album.

You can be whoever you want to be in the crowd of a Genesis set, he’s not just forming his songs, he’s bringing an experience to his crowd through his poetry as he explains

“I feel like encouraging drive in every person to live their truest lives will create a space where they are feeling safe and encouraged to do that. It creates a whole society where we are so enriched by different perspectives, and everyone feels like they can truly be themselves.”

So be sure to not miss the fun of bumping around with your mates to the poetic lyrics with fun hip hop backtracks performed by the local royalty. You’ll be sure to be surrounded by his plentiful fans, with songs such as The Other Black Dog, GTFO, Gold Chains & Smiling With No Teeth bringing the loudest excitement and involvement from the crowd.

Now, let’s get into breaking down the full setlist, lets categorize which artists you’ll want to check out according to your favourite genres.

This lineup is pretty unreal, heaps of genres and quite a few first time GTM performers coming our way in less than two weeks.

If you’re searching for either full on or laid-back indie/alternative/rock band performances to get you grooving, or headbanging to drums, guitar, vocals and more, check out these bands: Royel Otis, The Chats, Ocean Alley, Skeggs, and Slowly Slowly.

For some indie pop with a bit of rock and punk here’s the artists for you: Amy Shark, Ball Park Music, Teenage Dads, Teenage Joans and Canberrans Teen Jesus & The Jean Teasers.

If checking out some international artists from a variety of genres is your vibe look no further than: Fatboy Slim, Denzel Curry, Nothing But Thieves, BBNO$, Alt-J, Eliza Rose, Slayyyter, Laurel, and Sophie May.

If stepping left then right, flicking your wrist, and bopping you head in sync to music is for you then be sure to catch: Choomba, Luude, and Confidence Man.

If you’re keen to listen to Aussie rap or hip hop here’s the artists for you: Barkaa and Genesis Owusu.

Barkaa in particular is a force of nature, and one of the Australia’s most popular rappers, with GQ’s labeling her “the new matriarch of Australian rap”. She’ll be performing hit tracks such as King Brown & Bow Down from her incredibly emotional EP Black Matriarchy that’s dedicated to First Nations women.

Whilst we’re looking at the musical talent of Canberran acts at GTM, check out the up-and-coming local acts that have been added to the lineup (click to photo 4 below). Some standouts I’ve heard about around the Canberra music scene include Fitt Tek Records, Apricot Ink and Sputnik Sweetheart. Fitt Tek provide young and fresh new dj sounds, they’re often seen hitting up sets in clubs like ONE22, whilst Apricot Ink mix up dub, hip hop and pop. If alternative rock is for you then head on over to Sputnik Sweetheart, who’ve been popular in Canberra and beyond since releasing their first singles in 2019.

There’s going to be a lot going on, with such a marvelous line up there’s so much fun to be had before the festival wraps up at approximately 10.30pm. Grab your mates, dress up, dress down, get your planners out, charge up your phones, be safe and have fun! Be sure to check out Spotify’s GTM playlist to get you in the mood to party it up all day.

Photos by Tilly Bell