In partnership with Beyond The Valley
After a jam-packed three days, December 31 – and the last day of Beyond The Valley – finally arrived. The day was dominated by scorching Australian sun and disco outfits, with punters donning sequins, sparkles and bodysuits galore for the festival’s Studio54 New Year’s theme.
Despite the 30-degree heat, crowds aplenty turned out for the last set of the festival, taking in an eclectic array of sets from international artists, including a much-anticipated return to stage for Canadian pop icon Nelly Furtado. Check out some of our New Year’s highlights below.
Punters braved the heat for Yung Lean
Often described as one of the biggest stars of SoundCloud rap, Yung Lean looked the part in dark sunglasses and black, bat-wing-like face paint. The Swedish rapper had a sweltering afternoon set on the Valley Stage, but still managed to power through in a wind breaker and cargo pants, stopping occasionally to towel himself down between songs.
The rapper’s dark, emo music was a definite switch-up from previous performances at the 2022 festival, but he drew a large audience despite the oppressive sun. Instructed to jump around, the crowd surged and swelled as Lean worked through songs like ‘Hotel In Minsk’ and TikTok favourite ‘Ginseng Strip 2002’, stage-side sprinklers dousing the revellers as they sweated in the pit.
SG Lewis shows why he’s earned a strong Aussie fanbase
SG Lewis’ enthusiasm was a true pleasure to watch. The UK producer had a permanent grin plastered on his face during his Valley Stage performance, crowds flocking to catch a glimpse of his set.
It was Lewis’ first Australian festival show in more than four years, and he expressed his delight and surprise at the number of people turning out to see him. “Last time I was here there were less people,” he said with a smile.
It’s not hard to see why he’s garnered such a strong fanbase here, moving dexterously between the keyboard and the decks as he played house bangers ‘Chemicals’ and ‘One More’, during which he also jumped on the mic and shimmied around the stage.
BENEE charmed the crowd with quirky banter
After spending much of 2022 on the road, it was time for BENEE to play the Valley Stage for her last show of the year. Speaking to NME prior to the performance she said she was feeling “a little bit emotional” about it coming to an end, but that didn’t stop her from delivering an infectiously playful set.
She was met with shrieks of excitement from the crowd as she bounded onto the stage, revealing that she’d cut her fringe just before coming out and apologising for the remnants of hair sticking to her face. It was one of many quirky moments from the New Zealand singer, whose unbridled energy was soaked up by the enchanted audience. She twirled her way through fan favourites ‘Kool’, ‘Soaked’ and ‘Snails’, before wrapping it all up with 2019’s ‘Supalonely’.
Kaytranada brought vibes to the valley with a 90-minute set
Earlier that day, Kaytranada had been the name on everyone’s lips, with people around the campsite expressing their eagerness to catch the Canadian producer and DJ live. The crowd swarming the Valley Stage at 8.45pm was a testament to this, doof sticks high in the blazing sunset sky as he appeared behind the decks.
Kaytranada emanated an effortless cool as he took the audience through a mammoth 90 minutes of smooth electronic beats, laced with hints of disco, soul, hip-hop and funk. His flip of The Weeknd’s ‘Out Of Time’ and Chance The Rapper’s ‘All Night’ in particular had people dancing blissfully, bathed in an impressive light show that only added to the DJ’s allure.
Nelly Furtado’s first full set in five years was worth the wait
As midnight crept closer, the moment everyone had been waiting for finally arrived.
It had been more than five years since Canadian pop icon Nelly Furtado performed live, with her last show taking place in Switzerland in 2017. Addressing the Valley Stage crowd, she said she’d been five months pregnant at that last show, so being onstage again for a New Year’s set at Beyond The Valley was a completely different experience.
If Furtado had been nervous about her performance, she certainly didn’t show it. With only 35 minutes on the clock, she delivered powerful renditions of her biggest hits – including a cameo from SG Lewis and a remix of her Timbaland collaboration ‘Give It To Me’, courtesy of Australian producer Dom Dolla, whose set was up next.
She looked ever the superstar in a white, sparkly catsuit, flanked at one point by two dancers – RuPaul’s Drag Race queens Tynomi Banks and Kween Kong – who stunned in glittery, gold get-ups. Rounding out the night with 2006’s ‘Promiscuous’, Furtado’s return was a triumphant one – and hopefully the first of many more live shows to come.