It was a dusty start for punters on the second day of Festival of the Sun, as the weather shined on us once again. Most were slow to hit the stage as they tried to wash their hangovers away - some quite literally with the ocean just metres away. A little late to enter ourselves, Tropical Zombie had already the stage by the time I made it in, delivering a some appropriate tropical vibes to get us all in the mood to groove.
Against all odds, expectations and forecasts, Festival of the Sun lived up to its name this weekend in the coastal NSW town of Port Macquarie, delivering two days of great music, excellent vibes and, indeed... a great deal of Sun.
Stereosonic has grown into a phenomenally large festival to rival the biggest calender events in Australia's music scene. With big music festivals dropping like flies left, right and centre as of a few years ago, this super-scaled dance epic has managed to outweigh virtually everything that can be mentioned in the same breathe, and it has done so off the back of stellar production and flawless organisation. You can forget the fact that the biggest names in the EDM (and it's billion off-shoots) world were here to purvey the party, from Calvin Harris and Skrillex to Tiësto and Carl Cox, that was all simply an added bonus (albeit a very great one). What really worked here was how Stereosonic have filtered acts between stages so that each were consistent in both atmosphere and sound.
So I think we all now know that Thom Yorke of Radiohead endorsed this festival back in it's inaugural year by showing up on the side of stage. Outside In is much more than that though; while it's fun to use Thom Yorke's name to get people to click on things, it's much more enjoyable watching Astral People turn their festival, now in it's third year, into the wonderland of eclectic music it has become via acts which don't necessarily have a profile as big as Yorke, but are equally innovative when it comes to their music. The style has been set, in that everything from the deepest of deep house, and most left-field of experimental sounds, to the most underground of hip hop, will be on display each year as this unique festival continues to grow.
The three day Music and Arts Festival Clockenflap just wrapped up its seventh edition in Hong Kong and we were there to bring you exclusive Australian coverage! Throughout the week you'll read more reviews, see more photo galleries and watch more interviews from the event - but to kick things off, I've picked my five favourite performances from the festival, including a bit of a Hong Kong discovery...
Why didn't anyone think of this sooner? Only in it's second year, the Airlie Beach Music Festival stands in the ineffable surrounds of, well, Airlie Beach in the famed Whitsundays. Yes, that's right - a music festival in The Whitsundays. Already you're beginning to get a picture of something much different than what festival regulars are used to, and you'd be right. The festival is not only unique in atmosphere, but also structure and style; the direction the line-up points in is quite obvious when headliners includes The Screaming Jets, John Paul Young, and The Eurogliders.
Back in the first half of the year, I thought WAM did a pretty crazy thing with the State Of The Art Festival that hosted dozens of local singers and bands and scattered them around the Perth Cultural Centre. Last Saturday they outdid themselves once again, extending their reach beyond the Perth Cultural Centre and transforming Northbridge into a communal music fest. Centred around a carpark, the event lived up to its title of the Saturday Spectacular; gear up for the home-grown warm and fuzzies.
As advertised, 2014 Harbourlife was all about the House music. Packed from the moment it started to the moment it finished, the influence of bass was ever present. The venue was as per usual absolutely stunning. The backdrop of Sydney harbour is iconic and the weather was top notch to support it, making for a great day to host a party.
After a lukewarm start in Sydney due to atrocious sound issues, I was a bit nervous with my decision to fly down to Melbourne and do it all again. This was a line-up that was quite literally a dream for me and felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so to be underwhelmed twice would not only be soul crushing personally, it would have been indicative of what Australia and New Zealand could expect from the rest of the long-awaited tour. But all those angry tweets and general complaints that arose out of Sydney and the lack of sound checking seemed to benefit Melbourne; this time the crew behind Soulfest were on the ball. This led to a festival that felt like an entirely different, better experience than Sydney, and felt much closer to what the promoters intended the festival to be.
On Sunday October 21st Brisbane’s The Blurst of Times Festival hit Melbourne for the first time. Held at Seaworks in Williamstown, the day featured a line up of excellent Australian talent, across three stages.
Melbourne turned on the goods for the second last leg of Listen Out on Saturday. The sunshine bought out winning attitudes and a veritable goodie bag of trendy headwear. There was a static vim in the air that kept my head darting around at the seemingly endless wave of bucket hats and dreamily kept facial hair. The notable lineup inflicted a world of pain for this punter, in that I had to decide upon which acts to sacrifice for the greater satisfaction of my ears. Dense bass lines, hip cranking rhythms and banging samples had Listen Out goers is a whirr.
When Fuzzy promotions first announced a new boutique EDM festival was to be replacing Parklife, my stomach sank with dismay. Parklife had given the fondest memories and still sits in my heart as being my favourite festival experience. Yet walking up to the gates of Listen Out I was filled with excitement, the bill held some damn decent names, the rain had mostly held off, and I knew within seconds it still boasted that same indescribable atmosphere as its predecessor.
After a successful first year, Fuzzy's Listen Out continues to put forth the case for festival down-sizing, standing with just three stages and a cleverly curated line up to ensure that we got just as much variety as a more excessive festival. A bit more niche and thoughtful in it's structure, the day played out with very few hiccups and once again focused on quality over quantity, exposing the direction of the summer festival season and the styles which are getting the most shine this year.
In part two of our BIGSOUND Live Highlights from night one, Kimberley Salmond looks back at the six bands that made her night in Brisbane - from Brisbane's own The Furrs to Canadian rockers July Talk.
BIGSOUND Live is always a great opportunity to catch some of the best bands in the business while also discovering new favourite acts you didn’t even realise exist! It is such a vibrant event full of networking and all round joy.