Shows here are different. That’s probably no real surprise. But we found that 95 percent of show-goers at Southbound were between the ages of 15 and 20 and that automatically put us in the category of “elder statesmen,” and that was a disconcerting feeling.

We were beginning to despair of this vibe but then Michael Franti saved everything. He put on a typically energetic, passionate, fun show. I’ve always liked MF but now I think I may love him. Combined with his Friday night acoustic set, his Saturday “sunset set” was exemplary. The crowd really responded; everything came alive, and the doldrums disappeared. I’d see Michael Franti anywhere on the planet, and you should too.

Also good: The Audreys, an Adelaide band that plays a folksy kind of rock (V. Archer Jr., you would love these guys); John Butler Trio; Blue King Brown; Matt Costa, a former pro skateboarder who has played with Ben Harper and Jack Johnson; and Wolfmother, which in case you don’t know sounds like the bastard stepchild of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. L-O-U-D, but hey, that’s rock n’ roll.

The music was great but they really need to learn how to run, and attend, a festival here. It’s probably different at shows on the East Coast, like the Falls Festival near Sydney that we couldn’t get tickets for. We may never know.

But for one thing, Southbound had too many fences. There were three stages and to get from one to the other you had to pass through a checkpoint. We spent all day passing through checkpoints.

For another, there was no campground “scene.” Nobody hung out, played music, sold drinks or grilled cheese in the campground. The campground was for sleeping, and tripping over other people’s tents, little else. Food was limited to three or four vendors outside the venue and a handful inside, so lines got very long and stayed that way. Beer was strictly regulated.

The music was incredible. But the artists were limited to hour-and-a-half sets, at the most, with no encores. I’ve never before been to a show without encores.

I could go into an exhaustive exegesis here about Australian youth and how strange it was to be surrounded by 20,000 text-messaging kids, all trying to bring back the Eighties with bubble dresses and baby-doll dresses and jean jackets and pastels and shoulder pads and tight-ankled jeans and turned-up collars and big hair and heavy makeup — but why bother.

Suffice to say: Kids these days. And add a shake of my wise old head.