Potato Head Beach Club - a venue that is set apart by its idyllic tropical setting and an amphitheatre structure, featuring an iconic facade of colored antique shutters, salvaged from across Indonesia. New Year’s Eve at Potato Head is a special occasion and one that’s extremely difficult to purchase a ticket due to being one of the prime locations to countdown the final moments of the year in South East Asia.
This wasn’t the first festival I had attended at Potato Head, I had recently partied day and night at Sunny Side Up Festival as well as Kamasi Washington - both of which I had the VIP experience, however, this time around I was your casual general admission festival-goer. The experience was completely different and that’s not to say it was worse or better, just different.
This year's headliner was Guy Lawrence of Disclosure along with special guests and I believe the real beauty of music festivals is expecting the unexpected, discovering musical acts that you either don’t know or you haven’t listened to very often and although Guy Lawrence of Disclosure was headlining I had heard some of there records but I wouldn’t call myself a fan, yet he turned out to be so much better within that moment than I could have expected.
Despite being the festival’s only main act, Guy Lawrence had no issue in energising the crowd repeatedly delivering hit after hit, then the moment came, it was 10 minutes till midnight and as you glanced across the venue you could see the sheer excitement and joy of the crowd, the vibe, the moment it was all so euphoric.
5,4,3,2,1… HAPPY NEW YEAR! You could very clearly hear what almost sounded like a sausage sizzling on a frying pan - a burst of flame and a rocket the size of a champagne bottle was catapulted towards the sky, weaving around almost like a guided missile and suddenly halting at the pinnacle of its reach. Boom! Boom! Boom!
What was the song to ring in the New Year some of you might ask? It was “Respect” by Aretha Franklin and what a fitting song to end 2018 and begin 2019. An anthem for civil rights and feminism and that’s the message for 2019 put forward by Guy Lawrence. The night officially came to an end with the mega-hit “Latch” which was greeted by the crowd raising their arms and jumping energetically one final time before heading home.
Both categories have their fair share of perks and drawbacks. The VIP experience is quite incredible, possessing the best possible views of the stage, being waited on hand and foot and not constantly getting bumped into or in some cases having drinks spilled on you.
Ironically, the drawbacks of VIP are the perks of GA - the energy, vibe and overall atmosphere created by the GA festival-goers is unrivalled and unmatched by the VIP crowd. Although, the drawbacks are quite painful, in this case it was me having to wait for 20-minutes in order to top-up my wristband and another 20-minutes waiting in bar queues for a drink. Yikes!
A tip for all of you - don’t be as naive as I was and think a moderate amount will last you the night, go all out on your wristband and if you don’t end up spending it all then don’t worry as they have refund counters. A very rookie mistake on my part. In the future, I can happily say I will stick to GA, the atmosphere out-ranks the queues.
Get there early so you’re not finding yourself stuck in entry queues for the majority of your night. If you decide to leave either head out at the very end to avoid the infamous Bali traffic or do what I did which was head to one of the many neighbouring bars until the traffic dies down - man did I regret that in the morning though.
I can honestly say it was possibly one of the greatest countdowns I have been a part of and it made me realise why Potato Head is one of the most sought after beach clubs in Bali by tourists and locals alike.