LAST year Dashville Skyline broke new ground with record crowds and a major headline act in The Waifs.
If Dashville was motivated by the same obsessions as the corporate world they'd demand growth and gauge the fifth edition as a failure. But you suspect most Skyline punters view the festival through a very different lens.
This year Skyline gave alt-country fans a glimpse into the future. While established acts Archie Roach and Wagons performed, it was many of the emerging acts that left with their names written in the dust of Dashville.
One such artist was Ballarat's Freya Josephine Hollick on night one. With a mullet and little leopard print shorts, she gave off a hillbilly vibe before she opened her mouth to sing Dolly Parton-inspired country-pop ditties like Mister One Time.
Alabama's Hannah Aldridge was another unknown quantity, but it didn't take long for her smoky southern-rock in the vein of Melissa Etheridge to attract a crowd to the porch stage.
Despite being heavily jet-lagged and only meeting her Australian band that day, Aldridge gave two polished performances at the festival which earned a host of new admirers.
Archie Roach's wealth of experience and esteemed place in Australian folk commanded plenty of respect from Dashville as he shared a host of lengthy stories between songs.
Newcastle's ever-reliable James Thomson unveiled tracks off his forthcoming album, including the warm Americana of lead single Desire. The indications are the album will be something special.
It was many of the emerging acts that left with their names written in the dust of Dashville.
But the highlight of night one was New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based troubadour Skyscraper Stan and his band The Commission Flats.
Two years ago Skyscraper Stan, real name Stan Woodhouse, performed on the porch, but his performance went to another level on the main stage. Armed with a quality new album in Golden Boy Vo.1 and Vo.11, he gave a charismatic performance of humour and intensity.
The six-foot six beanpole even showcased his dance moves when an over-excited bride-to-me jumped on stage.
Cooler conditions and drops of rain didn't dampen the enthusiasm on day two.
Central Coast indie-folk band Little Quirks provided the shot of energy anyone nursing a hangover required. The band, which features teenage sisters Abbey (guitar), 19, and Mia (drums), 16, and their cousin Jaymi (mandolin), 22, have a fantastic knack for pop melody.
Abbey and Jaymi constantly bounced and swayed their hips as they produced soaring harmonies. This was Little Quirks' first major festival and they were loving every minute.
The mood took a more sinister turn when Newcastle's Ahlia Williams gave Dashville a dose of garage-punk. Channelling the spirit of Patti Smith in a pair of footy shorts, the 21-year-old Williams was simply mesmerising.
Fans of more traditional alt-country would have taken solace in the Dead Marines - the supergroup trio of Bernie Hayes, Bow Campbell (Front End Loader) and Brendan Gallagher (Karma County).
The Sunset Super Round at Dashville could be worthy of its own festival. The Saturday session at dusk featuring a handful of the festival's headliners each playing a cover was truly a music fan's treat.
From James Thomson's opening American folk classic, Cripple Creek, it was on.
He was followed by Brenda Jacks, Van Walker (and Disco), the Dead Marines, Jason Walker, Andy Abra, Toby Robinson, Freya Josephine Hollick, Ben Leece and Tori Forsyth, Lachlan Bryan, and The Re-Mains.
The collaborations themselves are part of what makes the Skyline weekend so enjoyable, the shared enthusiasm for songs, the reaching out for an old classic, or seldom-heard tune that's worthy.
And while country was the dominant flavour, there were other main courses that rattled to the bone. Like Newcastle's Nicholas Connors, who's all-out garage-rock attack was a helluva statement, capped off in his red mechanic suit and sharpie mullet.
Another act to shake up Saturday evening was Northern Ireland 20-year-old Amy Montgomery. She's possesses a voice way beyond her tender age, somewhere in the realm of Janis Joplin.
It's raw, visceral and highly visual. Expect to see Montgomery on bigger stages like Bluesfest when she visits Australia next.
Perth's The Kill Devil Hills take alt-country to it's most alternative degree. It was a four-guitar assault of psych-fuelled rock that conjures up comparisons to Crazy Horse.
They certainly provided the heaviest set of the weekend.
As for William Crighton's closing set, it was great to hear the Bellbird resident's songs evolving. With didgeridoo player William Barton adding a brilliant new element to his soundscape, the clarity of Crighton's message seemed more clear than ever.
Take for instance, Priest, a signature song from day one. The arrangement was new, adding even more depth and drama, Barton's didge echoing throughout, pushing sound into breaks, adding tension to space.
A shift to daylight savings can be dangerous at music festivals and it proved that way for Archer & Kangaroos with Machine Guns. The band were forced to kick off at 10.30am when Archer hadn't turned up to perform.
After several calls over the loud speaker of, "If anyone knows where Archer is, can you tell him his band is waiting for him on stage," a dishevelled Archer raced across the arena and walked stage without missing a beat to deliver a haunting bush poem about drought as his three-piece painted a gothic-country soundscape around him.
You can hear or see anything at Skyline - country, blues, folk, rock, and even a guy running from his tent to perform on stage.
And as this edition proved, you're also likely to catch a glimpse of the future.