Come Saturday the 25th April, all those fans of Chardonnay and the $8.99 Echidna Shiraz from the local FoodWorks had something to look forward to. Hot Dub Wine Machine, cleverly coined from Tom Loud’s Hot Dub Time Machine, is shaking the wine regions across Australia and this past Saturday, it was the Yarra Valley’s turn – hosting 5’000+ plus of Melbourne’s finest city slickers and country courters in the beautiful Rochford Wine Estate.

There’s something about a day festival in the wine region that begs for a chartered bus, and rightly so. A group of eagerly tagged wine connoisseurs put on their finest lace and branded snapbacks and hop on a sea of white hearses (titled hearses, because most of the buses driving back to the city would be a stretch of the word).

Yet that’s what we are here for; The Best. Chardy. Ever.

It was a day of fun and festivities, and as we come to the end of the summer festival circuit – we are still very much chasing the sun. The lineup of Confidence Man, Miami Horror, Pnau, Young Franco and of course, Hot Dub Time Machine, had me convinced. Shame the sun wasn’t quite on the same page.

The venue was threatened endlessly by gloom hues of grey that hung directly above your head, omitting the odd shower to remind the crowds: let’s drink to keep warm.

The double rainbow lifted spirits.

Confidence Man got the crowd enthused, and I was rather excited to see what they could do. Their hit ‘Boyfriend’ snuck onto the radar about 6 months ago and quickly snuck into my heart, sitting right up there in the same energy as Pnau themselves. They were a perfect taste of the line-up to come, confident electronic music interpreted in segues that question your limbs from staying still. Not always in the form of dance however.

Throughout the day, I found the beauty of this line-up is that you didn’t have to spend tireless hours in the moshpit; you could sit on the bank with a picnic rug and have the beats on the tip of your earlobe while you enjoyed a Chardonnay with your newfound friends. (uh, hello? A festival that invites you to bring picnic rugs, GENIUS) It didn’t demand your attention, which for this kind of festival, I think is foolproof.

Pnau and Young Franco of course impressed, Pnau making a triumphant return to the stage – whilst many of the crowd had not seen them live for quite some time, they reminded us as to why they are one of Australia’s best electronic dance acts.

Playing all those nostalgic noughties tracks (‘Baby,’ ‘Wild Strawberries,’ ‘Embrace‘) that carried you through your high school hoedowns, you couldn’t help but feel elated when you heard that chorus. “Why has the rivers flood, still gotta die for someone, be my embrace now'”- try hearing that sung by a few thousand people at the same time. Alright, I’ll say it. ‘

Alright, I’ll say it. ‘Chameleon‘  was indeed a standout. I hadn’t forgotten. No Australian in the past 2 months has forgotten that song. Not even that girl you worked with at Coles when you were 14 has forgotten that song. I lost my rocks to that jam of ethno-positive energy – particularly when the vocals of Shakira Marshall were performed live and to perfection.

I mean, what a triumphant return to commercial radio.

This guy was loving it.

Young Franco played a strong set to follow and kept the fire alive, paving strong beats and foundations for the time warp that is Hot Dub Wine Machine.
Now, for Tom Loud.
What an amazing set, absolutely alive with energy and synchronicity not rivalled of any other act on that stage. While the tracks are only mixes of famous hits from throughout the decades, the way they’re handled, packaged, melded, burgeoned, play-doughed and delivered to the crowd is of utmost precision and absolute creativity. From Elvis to Rihanna, the 1960s to the 2010s, this set reminds everyone just how elating music can be – naturally powered by Chardonnay, Shiraz and Rosé (so the big screens said), it was an incredible way to end a beautiful day.

For those considering the Somerset and Swan Valley shows, I cannot recommend enough. Look at your glass of Shiraz, then look at your Spotify, look at yourself in the mirror, look at your Shiraz again – and buy a ticket. You won’t regret it.

Score some final tickets here before they sell out!