Rachael Simpson is a mum of a two, one of the graphic designers behind these schoolyard-envy-inducing lunchboxes and a certifiable Meredith fiend.
“I’ve been 12, 13 times,” the Melburnian tells Broadsheet. “To be honest I’ve lost count.”
But after the music festival’s 30th instalment was cancelled in 2020 because of you-know-what, Simpson has tasked herself with curating a very unofficial, almost all-Aussie line-up.
What’s more: she’s already pitched it to Aunty Meredith, the festival’s mythical caretaker – “I sent an email off to Aunty [Wednesday] afternoon with the line-up attached, so we’ll wait and see” – and posted it to a private Facebook group for Meredith and Golden Plains ticket-swapping.
And while penpal-ing with Aunty might seem out of the ordinary, Simpson assures us it’s not her first rodeo. “I email her quite a bit,” she says matter-of-factly. “I usually send her bands I like or ask her if she’s heard of so-and-so. She’s always got witty things to say back.”
“I once complained about the corn – about there being no butter for the corn. And she gave me her mobile number and told me to call if there was no butter [in future] and she’d arrange it.”
This time around, though, there’s more on the line than subpar sweetcorn. “I was just thinking Aunty would be busy with Covid-safe stuff now, so I wanted to help her out,” Simpson says. “I thought, ‘Why don’t I just put together a whole bloody list?’ And now all she has to do is chase down the artists.” Makes sense.
It’s a legit-looking, well-padded-out bill; a mixed bag of Aussie icons and lesser-known acts, with a strong contingent of female (Montaigne, Sampa the Great) and Indigenous (Baker Boy, Miiesha) artists. There’s also a few outliers, including Ladyhawke, from across the pond in New Zealand.
“Meredith always [has] a good eclectic mix, a bit of everything – hip-hop, hard metal, VB pop-rock,” says Simpson. “But with Covid, no one wants to spend money on quarantine – and why should we when we’ve got such great talent here?”
Notwithstanding the lack of international talent, it’s a star-studded roster. But there are three acts she’s particularly excited about: the inimitable John Farnham (“he’s a childhood favourite of mine and it’d honestly be the best thing I’ve ever seen”), Sneaky Sound System (“I always thought [lead singer Connie Mitchell] would rock the amphitheatre”) and the ’80s-disco-dabbling cult act Donny Benét (“he’d be amazing … and doesn’t he just look like he’s made for Meredith?”).
Simpson settled on the final line-up after a roundtable discussion at Preston’s Gold Leaf Chinese Restaurant, during a mate’s birthday dinner. But it was no walk in the park. “I could’ve done three or four of these [line-ups] with others that didn’t make the cut.”
At the time of publishing, Simpson says she had just received a love-your-work reply from the powers that be.
Your move, Aunty.