The (Unnecessary) War on Defqon. 1

Following the deaths of two people from drug overdoses at the Defqon. 1 music festival at the Sydney International Regatta Centre over the weekend, the NSW Government, headed by Premier Gladys Berejiklian, has vowed to do everything in their power to ban the festival. This is all well and good, except this war that they have decided to wage is going to do nothing to eradicate the actual problem, and that is the drugs.

Cancelling a music festival is in no way, shape or form going to stop people from making, supplying and using drugs. It only eliminates one piece of the chain. And where a piece is eliminated, another will quickly take its place. In 2016, there were 1808 drug related deaths in Australia. Guess how many of them were at Defqon. 1 or any other music festival for that matter? None! Since 2013, 9 people have died at music festivals in Australia as a direct result of drug use. Really, 9 deaths out of a potential 10 000 over 5 years is not a lot. So why aren’t they focusing on the root of the problem instead of banning what is a regular event on a lot of people’s calendars?

It’s an unfortunate reality, but drug culture has become a big part of all music festivals in Australia. Despite the best efforts of police, there is always a large drug presence at these festivals.  If the NSW government believes that banning  Defqon. 1 is going to reduce drug related deaths, does that mean that they’re also going to ban other music festivals like Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival? Not likely. There are so many other solutions that the government could initiate or support that would help reduce the use of drugs at music festivals rather than simply banning the festival. Drug education initiatives are nowhere near supported enough; if the government spent as much time putting money into educating the population about drugs and their effects as they did into changing their leader, we would have a lot less people dying from drugs. In an Australian first back in May, the Groovin the Moo festival held in Canberra offered free pill-testing. The trial returned positive results, with 128 people taking advantage of the service and up to 20% saying they were seriously considering disposing of their drugs. Young Australians (and those older, open-minded Australians) have been supporting the introduction of this service at other festivals such as Defqon. 1, with hundreds of comments on the governments social media in the last few days suggesting as such. If they can see it’s potential, why can’t those who are supposed to represent us see it and support it? Simple. Because we are still being ‘represented’ by a government that does not stand for the same issues as us and refuses to see our point of view. We are a (largely) millennial population, being led by a baby boomer government who are still stuck in the 60’s, and it’s just not cutting it anymore.

Transferring the blame to the organisers of these events is useless. There’s only so many times they can write “DRUGS ARE PROHIBITED” on their websites and social media. If a person chooses to take drugs into a festival with the intention of using without being fully aware of the potential effects, that’s on them, just the same as someone choosing to take drugs outside of a festival without knowing the effects is their own fault. Yes, they can hire all the security in the world, but if they don’t do their job properly and drugs get in, it does not become the responsibility of the organisers if drug users have an adverse reaction. It is an assumption going into an event like this that you need to have a certain degree of self care and responsibility, especially if you intend to use drugs; yes, there are first aid and security officers, but they can’t be expected to hold your hand the entire time.

Deaths at music festivals are as a result of drugs, not the festival itself. The sooner our government realises this and starts to attack the issue at its roots (the makers and suppliers), the better. This isn’t a war for inside a music festival, it’s a war for the streets, so do us all a favour and leave the festivals alone.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

A How To Guide to Choosing a NYE Festival Experience

It’s once again that time of year where festival punters are forced to make the difficult decision of where to spend their New Year’s. With line ups dropping left right and centre, and tickets on sale to all festivals, it can be difficult to make a (quick) decision about where you and your crew will celebrate the New Year.

Falls Festival 

When: December 28 2018 – January 6 2019 (in different locations across the country)

Where: Lorne, Victoria, Marion Bay, Tasmania, Byron Bay, New South Wales and Fremantle, Western Australia

The Line up: Falls has brought together some of the biggest artists from the present day and decades past to create a line up that should have something to please everyone. Headliners come in the form of Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals, British rockers Catfish and the Bottlemen (playing their only Australian show) and Australia’s own Vance Joy. One of the biggest surprises of this years line up is easily American Rockers Toto, who have become popular again in recent years off the back of their hit ‘Africa’ which has become somewhat of a meme song online. There are a lot of acts on the bill who also performed at Splendour in the Grass this year, including Scotland’s Chvrches , Mallrat, Amy Shark (who are all also playing Field Day), Hilltop Hoods, Cub Sport, Ocean Alley, Jack River and Soccer Mommy. Other Australian festival favourites filling the bill include rapper Tkay Maizda and Britain’s Bishop Briggs. There are also a number of up and coming acts who will be playing their first major Australian festival, including 15-year-old Ruel and Odette, who released her debut album earlier in the year.

The Crowd: Falls is the longest running, and arguably, most popular NYE music festival in Australia. It’s widespread locations makes it accessible for basically everyone, whether you’re on the east or west coast or central Australia. Many people have criticised this years line up, making comments along the lines of “Where are the headliners?”, but these comments aren’t likely to have much of an impact on the crowds, with Lorne already sold out. Falls attracts a very similar audience to Splendour in the Grass, which isn’t surprising considering their both in partnership with Triple J and share a lot of smaller Australian and International acts across line ups. If you listen to Triple J and like the glitz and glamour and music festivals, Falls is for you.

Cost: Ticket prices vary dependent on your location, with the cheapest ticket being a one day pass for Fremantle, which is $149 + BF and the most expensive being a ‘Gimme Shelter’ ticket for Marion Bay at $409 + BF, which gives the holder a 3 day event ticket and access to a 2 man tent to share with another ticket holder. 3 day tickets for all locations (except Fremantle) are $349 + BF (does not include camping). Camping tickets can be bought from $109 + BF.

Tickets on Sale: Thursday 6 September 9am (Local times based on festival location) (NOW)

Beyond the Valley

When: December 28 2018 – January 1 2019

Where: Lardner Park, Victoria (approximately 2 hours east of Melbourne)

The Line up: This years line up is stacked with Australian heavyweights, including Tash Sultana and PNAU billed as headliners, as well as British favourites The Kooks, Bonobo and Duke Dumont also joining as headliners. Other acts on the bill include Ball Park Music, The Jungle Giants, DZ Deathrays, Alex Lahey and Safia, all of whom have just performed massive sets at Splendour in the Grass. Other Australian favourites who are sure to bring their own personal flair to the stage include Nicole Millar, who is still riding the high of the release of her debut album in June, Client Liason, who have just come off the back of their own festival, Expo Liaison and Vera Blue who is currently touring around Europe.

The Crowd: There is literally something for everyone when it comes to music at this festival. Whether you’re into indie rock, electronic dance or pop music, you can be sure to find your ‘people’ amongst the crowd. However this line up definitely has more of a ‘rock’ centric line up than the other festivals, so the crowd is likely to boast a heavier rock following, so if your a rock music fan, this is the place to be. BTV presents itself as a ’boutique’ music festival, bringing together world class acts from here and overseas. Being only a relatively new festival, only beginning in 2014, it’s safe to say that it hasn’t yet accumulated the cult following of other NYE festivals, however stacked line ups in the last few years have begun to change that and 2018’s line up is sure to draw a sold out crowd. 

Cost: A four day ticket will set you back $490 + BF, a three day $390 + BF, two day  $330 +BF and a one day NYE pass $180 + BF (all tickets include a general camping pass from the 28/12, 29/12, 30/12 and 31/12)

Tickets on Sale: Thursday 30 August 12pm AEST (NOW)

Field Day

When: January 1 2019

Where: The Domain, Sydney (NSW)

The Line up: Field Day has pulled together a huge line up for its one day bill, bringing together the best of rap, pop and EDM that is sure to sell out The Domain. Big names in the rap industry, Cardi B and trio Migos, have both listed as ‘east coast exclusives’, and they are joined by other big names including Duke Dumont, Bonobo (who are both also playing BTV and Origin Fields), Chvrches, Rufus Du Sol and Amy Shark, who all bring a variety of genres to the stage. Closer to home, Brisbane’s own rapper Mallrat will make her Field Day debut, which will be following appearances at Splendour in the Grass, Yours & Owls and Groovin’ the Moo, as well as Sydney duo Flight Facilities who are currently touring the country off the back of their latest single ‘All Your Love’. Other highlights of the line up include Britain’s Bishop Briggs and Australian producer Alive Ivy.

The Crowd: Being only a one day festival in amongst the sea of festivals over the New Year’s period, Field Day is the perfect festival for a first-time festival goer or for those who actually want to remember their NYE. Because of this, it is likely to draw a much younger crowd that have less money to spend and so are forced to settle for a one day festival experience. Having said that, the heavy rap influenced line up is sure to draw a particular kind of crowd, so if you’re more into pop or indie music, it might be best to have a look at other festivals like BTV or Falls

Cost: First release tickets (which all sold out in the presale) $162 + BF, second release $172 + BF and third release $182 + BF, while a VIP ticket (which comes with some pretty cool benefits) will set you back $257 + BF

Tickets on Sale: Thursday 30 August 12pm AEST (NOW)

Lost Paradise

When: December 28 2018 – January 1 2019

Where: Glenworth Valley, New South Wales (about an hour north of Sydney)

The Line up: This years headliners come in the form of The Kooks, Tash Sultana (who are both also making appearances at BTV and Origin Fields), American rapper Joey Bada$$ and British rapper M.I.A. Australian favourites PNAU, Dune Rats, Ball Park Music, who all performed smashing sets at Splendour in the Grass earlier this year, have a high place on the bill, along with other favourites, Vera Blue and Winston Surfshirt. With 3 stages of music but only one really showcasing live music, the line up of artists performing DJ sets is extensive. Top billed DJs include Bicep, Kink, Flava D and Loods. Lost Paradise is also more than just a music festival, with ‘experiences’ including yoga, informative talks and workshops in everything from magic to belly dancing.

The Crowd: Lost Paradise is definitely a festival for the EDM lovers, with 2 stages primarily dedicated to dance and electronic music. If you prefer live bands, solo singers and stage diving rockers, Lost Paradise isn’t the festival for you (have a look at BTV or Falls instead!). Having said that, the wide range of experiences available over the weekend, including yoga (of literally every variety – even laughter), dance workshops and psychics provide even the most introverted of festival attendees with something to fill their days.

Cost: 4-Day second release tickets, including camping (first release have sold out) will set you back $399 + BF. If you miss out on second release, a third release is $419 + BF.

Tickets on Sale: NOW

Origin Fields

When: December 30 – 31 2018

Where: Langley Park, Perth (WA)

The Line up: Given its somewhat remote location, this line up is packed. Being the first NYE festival to drop its line up, it set the bar, and it set it high. After 11 years as one-day ‘Origin NYE’, the change of location and the extension over two days has allowed the festival to grow and to bring in more big name international artists. The bill is headed by rap superstars Cardi B, who has been hurled into stardom over the last 12 months and Migos (who are both also playing Field Day as their only other Australian appearance), Canadian crooner Khalid, who made his Splendour in the Grass debut earlier in the year, Duke Dumont and Bonobo, who both have their New Years calendars booked with appearances at BTV and Field Day and Australian favourite Tash Sultana, who has been celebrating immense international success and will no doubt be riding the high of the release of her debut album in August. Other acts who will be spending their New Years in Perth include Australian veterans PNAU, British rockers The Kooks, producer Hayden James, Canberra’s Safia and Australian rockers Pendulum.

The Crowd: Origin Fields obviously has the disadvantage of its location, however the strength of its line up is sure to attract a sold out crowd. Sharing a lot of its line up with Sydney’s Field Day means that it is likely to attract a similar crowd demographic, albeit a bit older who have a bit more ‘life’ experience and are willing to make the trek to Perth (and the money to do so), and the festival is sure to be a hit with locals. It is likely that attending Origin Fields may come down to accessibility, with much of the crowd likely to come from the west of Australia.

Cost: A two day pass is $319 + BF, a VIP two day pass jumps to $399 + BF and a Platinum Experience two day pass will set you back a whopping $799 +BF (which includes catering, inclusive alcohol, a merchandise gift and complimentary WiFi)

Tickets on Sale: NOW

Now go! It’s time to choose your place of residence for this NYE. But be quick, tickets to all festivals are selling fast and will sell out.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

 

 

 

 

 

The Most Splendid of Splendour

The golden weekend on Australia’s festival calendar has come and gone for another year. That’s right, Splendour in the Grass has once again lit up the North Byron Parklands in the best way possible. There was glitter, there was rainbows, there was (arguably too much) skin and most importantly, there was music. Not just music, but fantastic live music played by some incredible Australian and International acts that really brought their all and absolutely killed it in every aspect. So without further ado, here are my 5 favourite acts that I was lucky enough to catch over the weekend.

5. The Jungle Giants

At first I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get to The Jungle Giants set because of clashes on other stages with other acts I wanted to see, but boy am I glad I did. They drew easily the largest crowd I saw in the GW McLennan tent all weekend, and being in the centre of it was definitely an experience. This set was the closest I got to being in a mosh pit all weekend, but what made it so great was the fact that everyone was just there to have a good time and jam out to some awesome live music. Even in the centre of the mosh, people were nice and looking out for everyone around them. On top of this, as a band, they were just genuinely happy to be playing so high up on the bill for such a grateful audience. And of course, the music was pretty bloody great too.

4. The Wombats

I like The Wombats but I wouldn’t really call myself a fan. However, after their Sunday night set, I would very much like to change that. They really brought the whole show; they had the moves, they had the visuals and most importantly the definitely had the sound. Honestly, if you were to take away the huge crowd, it would sound just like a CD being played to you, but better (obviously). Again, they were also genuinely happy and grateful to be playing the festival, something which I think can be lost on international acts such as them, but they did not give their set anything less than they’re best. no doubt picking up a few new fans along the way.

3. Mallrat

I was super keen for this set, and all of my expectations were exceeded. You know a set is going to be good when she takes her jacket off after one song because it was getting too hot from dancing and then brings out 3 drag queens as dancers 3 songs in. Honestly, you would be hard pressed to find a fault in this whole set. Again, I was fairly close to the mosh for this set, and everyone was just having so much fun because Mallrat was having her own fun on stage, that it was impossible to not join in. The whole tent was jumping for the entire 45 minute set, something which I think is an exciting indication of what is to come in the future of Mallrat.

2. Cub Sport

After witnessing Cub Sport’s set on Friday night, there is no doubt in my mind that they should be given an ARIA IMMEDIATELY. Cub Sport was always an act that I was excited to see, but their performance superseded all of my expectations in the best way possible. Tim Nelson looked like a literal god when he first entered the stage, and he held the audience in the palm of his hand for the entirety of the 45 minute set. Every single song had its only little surprises which were gratefully accepted by the audience. The finale song of ‘Come On Mess Me Up‘ was a moment which I believe will be talked about for years by every one present.

1. Lorde

I’m gonna be honest. Lorde’s headlining set was one of the primary reasons why I wanted to go to Splendour in the first place. And my lord(e) she did not disappoint. In her opening speech, she spoke about how the Friday night of Splendour is traditionally a very ‘dancy’ night. And let me tell you, both the ‘mosh’ and Lorde and her dancers danced their hearts out for the entirety of her hour fifteen set. Her set had everything; she played a lot of songs from both her newest album Melodrama and her first album Pure Heroine (including some lesser known surprises like ‘Ribs’ and ‘Hard Feelings’), she had the audience dancing in ‘Homemade Dynamite’ and ‘Green Light’, crying in ‘Liability’ and was joined by a choir of 30 000 people with their arms around each other for a rendition of Powderfinger’s ‘My Happiness’ (which was arguably one of the highlights of the weekend). Lorde proved once and for all that in a male and rock music dominated industry, there will always be room for a pop princess on the stages of festivals.

Well there you have it, my recap of Splendour in the Grass 2018 in 5 acts. For a playlist including some of the top songs from these artists, listen below

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

An Analysis of Australian Music Festivals in 2018 (By Someone Who is Completely Unqualified To Do So)

As someone who has never actually been to a music festival (soon to be rectified in July), I like to think I know I fair bit about them. I mean, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the ‘basics’ of every single Australian music festival on the festival calendar. I’m serious, just go and have a look through the Instagram tags and you’ll learn everything there is to know about them.

Music Festival Starter Pack

But sadly, in recent years, music festivals have become less about the actual music and more about the promotion and marketing opportunities that the festivals create. What you wear has become more important than what band is playing next and the photos you take are more important than the friends you make. You don’t need to go to the festivals anymore because your entire Instagram and Facebook feed will be filled with images from every single moment of the festival within 24 hours. Yet tickets for said festivals are getting harder and harder to come by.

Why?

Because music festivals have become increasingly about perpetuating a persons’ brand across all media platforms. Say a girl wears a skirt from a ’boutique’ brand to a festival. She’ll (no doubt) take photos, post a couple of them to her Instagram, most likely tagging the brand and hashtagging the festival. This then leads down two different paths. The brand may take notice and potentially repost the girls’ photo of her wearing their clothing, which gives the girl positive exposure (and in this social media age, who doesn’t like that?) and the brand also gets exposure to a whole new market (being the girls Instagram following) by being tagged in the original image. Because she also hashtagged the image with the festival, thousands of other people will see the image, increasing both the brand and the girls’ following. Plus, its inevitable that her followers and friends will find themselves suffering from a case of FOMO (fear of missing out). A similar pattern can occur across all media platforms including Facebook and YouTube.

This increase in the need for people to share their lives on social media, specifically when it comes to music festivals, has also led to an increase in transmedia advertising for brands generally linked to music festivals. And this trend shows no sign of slowing, whether this is a good or bad thing, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x