The countdown is on until the first ever Download Festival Australia lineup is announced for the event’s expansion into Australia in 2018 (the website has officially gone live too – click here) and goddamn we are excited… well actually the whole metal community in the country is excited but having been burned before in the past following the demise of Soundwave Festival and Legion (which never saw the light of day) we are hesitant to get our hopes up until the Official Announcement is made. But that doesn’t mean we can’t generate conversation about what we want to appear at the festival or ways to make it work in the long run compared to previously attempted festival ideas, so here’s our Top 7 Things We Want At Download Festival Australia starting with…
7 – Camping
Let’s face it, one of the best things about going to a festival is the ability to not have to make the long arse trek back to your hotel in a completely different suburb whilst dragging your drunk metal head friend home the entire time, what would be a better experience for all is to camp on site. Australian’s love camping. It’s in our blood and you just have to look at how successful Unify is with their on-site camping. Obviously with Download being a much bigger name, a larger site would be needed to accomodate the potential sell out crowd… more on that later
6 – Genre Specific Stages
One of the best things that Soundwave did towards the end of it’s 12 year reign was split the venue up and have two dedicated main stages for different genres. Back in 2011 I remember seeing Slayer, Rob Zombie and Devildriver on their own dedicated Heavy Metal stage while bands like Iron Maiden, Queens of the Stone Age, 30 Seconds To Mars and Stone Sour headlined on the Main Stage. That idea worked so well because it kept the heavier music loving legends in their own area and the more mainstream music loving fans in theirs. Whilst I’m not suggesting we need to segregate the two, it just works out more conveniently for fans of specific genres to hang out in one larger area for the day as opposed to causing massive amounts of human traffic trying to hurry from one area to the other to see the next band on their list.
5 – No Metallica
I know what you’re thinking, “what the fuck is wrong with you, why wouldn’t you want Metallica?” Well, firstly calm your farm mate, this isn’t Stereosonic so ease up on the anger turbo. My theory for this is simple, the last time Metallica came to Australia was during their headlining slots on the Soundwave 2013 tour and even though these shows were great, they weren’t as enjoyable as the band’s last headlining tour in 2010 with multiple shows per city with extensive music from the back catalogue and dedicated plays of their latest album. We haven’t had a Hardwired… to Self Destruct Tour in Australia yet and the last thing we need is to have to wait around all day in the blazing sun (or heavens forbid, thundering storms) battling drunk idiots for a good spot only to not be able to enjoy the show as much as you would if you rocked up at 7pm, to an indoor venue with better sound and spacing options.
4 – Full Strength Beers & Cheap Water
Remember the days of Big Day Out when beers were about $9-$11 each which back then didn’t seem so bad, because they were FULL STRENGTH. While you can’t control everyone, there’s still plenty of good doing, fun loving attendees who don’t go out of their way to get maggot and try to fight people (once again, calm your farm Stereosonic fans) and what better way to watch one of your favourite bands, than to do it with a nice, chilled VB in hand OR if you’re not up for beers during the day, a water bottle that doesn’t cost most than a first home deposit. Seriously, how the fuck can anyone get away with charging over $2 for a bottle of water, especially at a music festival?
3 – No AJs
Whether you like to admit it or not, you owe some of your best music festival experiences to AJ Maddah for what he managed to achieve during his time running Soundwave from 2003-2015, however that was in the past and what he managed to do during that time is done and dusted. We need to move on with a new organiser without an ego who can use their abilities to produce a memorable music festival experience for almost everyone to enjoy (I mean that as in there will be bands you don’t like on the bill, so don’t go all keyboard warrior because all 20 of your favourite bands didn’t get announced). What was done in the past is done, lets start fresh and show our support for the new entity bringing the wonderful world of heavy music to our shores.
2 – One Location
There’s one key factor about the most successful Music Festivals around the world (including here in Australia) that works perfectly and it’s the single location idea for larger sized festivals. Splendour in the Grass sells out every year and is in prime location for the size of the event. Unify works well for the capacity it has and the area it is located. Coachella is fuckin massive, but it never leaves Indio, California. The whole idea of a touring festival circus in Australia is hard because we’re a fucking huge country and it’s hard to navigate your way across it as it becomes too costly and in doing so, unfortunately some states will end up missing out, especially those in Perth being so far away from the East Coast. So, have Download Festival Australia in a large area with plenty of roaming space so music clashing won’t be an issue with ample parking and designated camping areas. Byron Bay would be fantastic for this if there can be a way to schedule it between Blues Fest and Splendour so it’s not in the dead of winter, but not boiling heat of Summer.
1 – Multiple Day Event
After attending music festivals overseas I have come to the conclusion that the only way to get the most out of a large heavy music festival is to pace yourself over a couple of days, seeing as many bands as you can (where clashing doesn’t get in the way), featuring longer sets to maximise the band’s potential reach to new fans and to showcase the best of what they have over a longer period of time, and not smash out their biggest hits in a 20 minute. Escaping reality for a weekend with your best mates, getting the full experience of discovery and being stuck in a “metal awe” trance for hours sounds like one of the best ways to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. I LOVE the idea of Unify with 2 days and 1 big headliner each day, but imagine if we could go 2 huge headliners per day, a plethora of upcoming or smaller bands and a shitload of Australian talent proving they’re just as good as the international visitors. All up you would walk away fulfilled and get your body in shape to do it all over again the next year… and so on and so forth.
*Note this is the 2017 Download Fest UK Poster*
So there you have it, what do you think of the idea above? Anything we missed that NEEDS to be included? Hit us up and tell us what you think Download Fest Australia has to have before it sets foot down under. Announcement coming soon, we’ll have all the details here.
The site has gone live but nothing announced yet however a side page has suggested that Melbourne will host the Festival with links to the Official Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify pages supplied.