Beat The Drum: Celebrating 40 Years of Triple J

Everybody loves a good birthday celebration! But on January 16, there was a very big reason to celebrate – triple j turned 40! And remember that saying how “40 is the new 20”? Yudda yudda yudda. Well, in this case, 40 is looking sweet!

Going into the celebrations, I was all alone. I’d flown in to Sydney from Melbourne and decided to make a day trip out of the event. Full day of retail work the following day? Sure, why not. But I wasn’t alone on this kind of solo venture. Sitting right next to me on my flight was a girl doing the exact same thing. “My friend was meant to come with me, but she bailed so I decided to still come. I’m just gonna go out or sleep at the airport or something, and fly home early tomorrow morning.” Doing much the same myself, I’d found a friend for the adventure.

It is at this moment that I really must adress the fact that, silly me – I had dressed for a Melbourne festival, with Melbourne attire, apparently wearing my Melbourne-ness all over my face. It’s almost as though once you truly enter Sydney, people can just smell the Melbourne on you. Oh yeah, and that whole weather thing – I probably should’ve checked that before donning a beanie, a denim jacket and leather leggings. But, y’know…Melbourne.

I arrived in Sydney, checked into my hotel room, watched some shitty TV, ate some lunch, got ready, and made my way into The Domain. It was one of the most beautiful days I’d seen in a while – and there’s nothing better than a dose of Vitamin D at a festival.

This is probably where I should start the whole ‘But Melbourne is better than Sydney’ argument. Having not really seen Sydney properly for a number of years (stop-offs on the way to Splendour In The Grass really don’t count), I was amazed at how truly beautiful the city was. Elements of New York sprung up all over the place, and the city looked beautiful. As a true Melbournian, I can happily say that you’re alright, Syderz.

Arriving at The Domain not much after the gates had opened, the venue was already packed – booming crowds all ready to beat their drums to the celebrations. Young and old, families and groups of friends, musicians and producers, DJs and publicists, journos and people that were just wanting to have a great time – everyone was there! There was an all-round electric vibe that made it’s way throughout The Domain that entire day, I won’t be able to forget it. And although it seemed as though crowds were filling every square inch of that venue – almost making it mildly claustrophobic, everyone was in good stead. Where usually music festivals, especially ones of this calibre, would see copious amounts of dimwits running around causing havoc, there was very little, if anything of that sort on this occasion. Well, at least from what I saw.

Beat The Drum was an historical moment in Australia’s live music history – bands and artists that have graced triple j at one stage or another throughout the four decades that it has been around congregated together to pay credit where credit was due; both to each other, and the station as a whole. From newer acts like Tkay Maidza, to those a little more senior like You Am I, it was evident that there was a mutual respect amongst all artists. Likewise, presenters new and old made their way to the venue to celebrate with the crowd in style.


The highlight of the day, however, had to be given to Silverchair frontman, Daniel Johns – whose dusk lounge rendition of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit encapsulated the multi-faceted audience. It was at this moment of the day that I well and truly felt that sense of pride and utter happiness. Sure, not everyone agreed with me. Two individuals in front of me were not happy with Johns’ performance. And as they vocalised it, I – as a long-standing member of the Pretty Much Obsessed With Silverchair Club – had to vocalise my thoughts back. With a few (perhaps one too many) Smirnoff Double Blacks in my system, I interjected their conversation of hate with “Show some respect! He’s a national treasure!” Before scuttling off to another section of the crowd. Look, I probably shouldn’t have said anything, but I had to stick up for my man!

If I had to give any negative feedback for the event, they would be truly minor notes – have a few more extra toilets, and a few more extra bars. Nothing to have a sook/genuine rant about, however. Beat The Drum: Celebrating 40 Years of Triple J did just that! And I’m calling it now – it was easily one of the biggest highlights of this year.

Thank you for everything, triple j. Here’s to many more decades of killer music and good vibes!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

*