IT was wet. It was muddy. But, most importantly, The Drop was bloody good fun.
Newcastle's new music festival made its audacious debut on Saturday in the usually tranquil coastal surrounds of King Edward Park.
It was part of the expanded Surfest program, but unless sliding down muddy slopes becomes part of the World Surf League tour, it was just an excuse to party to some of Australia's best indie talent.
Besides the annual Christmas carols by candlelight, King Edward Park has been untested as a live music venue. It passed the audition with flying colours.
The natural amphitheatre provided fantastic viewing of the stage and the park's iconic Norfolk pines created a stunning backdrop on sunset, when Mother Nature offered a fleeting respite from the constant drizzle.
However, the steep slope did have its negatives. Toilets were situated at the top of the hill at the southern end of the park and the constant foot traffic created a treacherous muddy slope, which would have left many punters searching for the Napisan Plus stain remover when doing their post-festival laundry.
Newcastle Triple J Unearthed winner Pals opened The Drop with their brand of modern grunge, before singer-songwriter Alex The Astronaut created the first singalong of the day with her same-sex marriage anthem Not Worth Hiding.
Rain continued to bucket down as a massive queue of ticket-holders snaked down The Terrace. Those lucky enough to be inside were treated to a raucous festival set by Wollongong surf-rockers Hockey Dad.
There's nothing awfully complicated about the two-piece of Billy Fleming (drums) and Zach Stephenson (guitar/vocals). They play straight-up melodic punk-rock that's been banged out in garages for decades, but they perform it with verve.
A sea of ponchos danced along with Hockey Dad's highlights Join The Club, I Wanna Be Everybody and Sweet Release oblivious to the constant rain. It was indeed a sweet release.
There was even a circle pit and a muddy game of Twister.
Electronic-rock band Client Liaison provided The Drop's left-hand turn. But it was one the audience were happy to navigate.
Monte Morgan was at his flamboyant best, dressed in an '80s big shoulder pad vest, flared white pants and over-sized ear rings.
For a minute you could have been at the baby boomer-aimed Live At The Foreshore, concurrently running at Camp Shortland, when Client Liaison performed INXS classic Need You Tonight.
The band also ripped through their fan favourite Off White Limousine as they entertained The Drop with their choreographed dance routine all the way to sundown.
As the lights took full effect, Brisbane indie-rockers Ball Park Music took to the stage and carried the festival to another level.
Frontman Sam Cromack was in terrific form. There was a new swagger in the Ball Park Music camp. Popular recent singles The Perfect Life Does Not Exist and Exactly How You Are and a Triple J album of 2018 doesn't hurt.
While his bandmates provided the foundation, Cromack was the star as he soared on the solo acoustic track It's Nice To Be Alive, before launching into the frenetic Hands Off My Body.
It was left to sibling duo Angus and Julia Stone to close the inaugural The Drop. Their more atmospheric indie-folk meant the festival ended on a more sombre note, but tracks like Chateau were a definite crowd pleaser.