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Australia’s music fans have a rabid reputation. They travel half way ’round the world to attend All Tomorrow Parties in England and America (in 2009 ATP finally hosted events in Brisbane, Sydney and Mount Buller). They have excellent media coverage through ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) television – particularly all-night, weekend music TV series “r a g e” – and the youth oriented Triple J radio station. Musicfeeds is perhaps the most internationally respected indie music site not from America. And come New Years – remember, down there summer vacation starts during advent and ends mid-February – there’s Big Day Out and its less mainstream counterpart, the Falls Festival (the 2010 becomes 2011 edition featured The National, Interpol, Public Enemy performing Fear of a Black Planet, Klaxons, The Rapture, Cold War Kids, Sleigh Bells, Peaches and, of course, the countries brightest new band, Tame Impala).
Now Australian music enthusiasts have something else to mark on their calendars. Announced today Harvest – A Civilised Gathering promises to be “a new dimension in music & arts” coming this November to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. With Portishead headlining, the line-up also boasts The National, The Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev (hey, how about a Lips/Rev collab – or a Flaming Dingus reunion?), Bright Eyes, The Walkmen and many more.
Wayne Coyne mused to Triple J’s The Doctor, “It sounds like a marvellous festival. We’re always looking for an excuse to come back down to Australia and you try and time where you can get as much bang for your buck as you can. We always put out the idea that if someone wants to try something new… we’ll take a chance and do something. So I’m glad that this festival has turned into such a potentially great show for the audience.”
Sat 12 Nov | Harvest Presents “The Gathering”, Werribee Park, Melbourne, VIC
Sun 13 Nov | Parramatta Park, Sydney, NSW
Sat 19 Nov | Botanical Gardens, Brisbane, QLD
Early bird tickets available Tuesday, July 26. General public tickets on sale Friday, July 29.
Harvest will mark Portishead’s first appearance in the country in 13 years. The Flaming Lips last toured there in 2009: Splendour In The Grass Festival – Byron Bay, Australia (July 26), Hordern Pavillion Sydney, Australia (July 28) and Festival Hall Melbourne, Australia (July 29). Watch highlights from those shows, plus their Triple J radio session and Wayne Coyne’s Australia MySpace Music playlist here (or watch Wayne’s Aussie favs here, along with his playlist as guest VJ for an all-night ‘r a g e’ broadcast taped on that trip – aired October 24, 2009).
I just returned from The Gathering / Harvest festival over at Werribee, Melbourne.
I strongly urge anyone considering attending to give it a miss. This was by far the worst live music festival I have ever been to in my nearly 36 years.
Let me explain from the beginning:
The horror started at the entry gate, where a crew of Indian students dressed as security guards, where performing bag and person searches on the arriving public.
Despite written promised to contrary by the event organisers, the security promptly took and binned our food container into the rubbish bin. This is a daylong event, but I guess the ploy is to force people to buy from the overpriced vendors inside.
I tried to protest this, and asked to speak to the students (or security guards, as the case might be) supervisor, as I knew for a fact that food was meant to be allowed. I was told to go through and wait on the other side for five minutes, while he radios his “boss”.
That was a lie, as I waited for over 45 minutes and no one came to speak with me. Trouble is, because organisers refuse to give a pass-out, I could not return outside to speak to the “security” again. What a convenient arrangement for a dodgy operator!
A little pissed off, but hopeful to enjoy the rest of the day, I gave up waiting & ventured deeper in. The first, and the main feature of this event was “The Line”. The line to the bathroom, at its peak, stretched hundreds of meters long and spanned near the entire event ground. It was so long and slow moving that large proportion of people were defecating and urinating outside, often in the thin bushes in plain view of other revellers. I guess not ordering sufficient number of cheap plastic toilets saved the Event bosses a few dollars. How much for human dignity of not pooping in front of strangers in the open?
The next major problem was getting food. While lines where a little shorter, they were agonisingly slow moving. And because the kiosks were positioned along the main footpath, it created a situation where you could not get from stage A to stage B without getting stuck in a maze of different lines of people.
I saved the worst problem for last: the “alcohol scam”. Yes, i think it was a deliberate scam by the organisers. In order to buy alcohol you are offered to exchange your real money for “coupons”, and then take these coupons and exchange them for booze at one of the bars. There were so many places to buy these coupons that there was no lines at all, the organisers where very keen to take your cash. But afterwards, when you find a bar, you realise that the longest and slowest line of people is the bar! And now you have a decision to make – either you spend next few hours in this line to try and get rid of the coupons, or give up in order to catch a few bands. But if you give up, and don’t cash in your coupons, and you lose all your money. It sure feels like a scam!
To conclude, some statistics:
Time spent waiting in lines: 4.5 hours++
Bands seen: 1
Songs heard: 3
Money spent: $252 + travel costs.
Would you pay 250 bucks to stand a line for 4 and a half hours?