The news most heavy music loving legends have been waiting for finally arrived yesterday morning with the first ever Download Festival Australia announcing their lineup for eager fans who were keen to jump on the idea straight away…. or so it seemed. As expected the hoards of unimpressed keyboard warriors and narcissistic whingers dampened the announcement with their opinions of:
“Why is my favourite underground Norwegian folk grindcore band with three videos and 25 streams on YouTube not on the lineup?” or “Why is Good Charlotte on there, they’re not even metal?” and “There’s only a few bands on the list I want to see anyway, not worth the money!!!”
Well, technically you’re wrong there…
Think of it this way, we have a stack of variety coming our way in March 2018. The first LARGE SCALE Heavy Music Festival since 2015 when the final Soundwave Festival wrapped up. A mixed bag of something that’ll please the mass of 25,000 potential punters who’ll be running about Flemington Racecourse with 4 stages to visit, so yep, you won’t have to sit through Good Charlotte if you don’t want to. No one is forcing you.
As for your mediocre, obscure band that no one has heard of yet? The only way you’ll be seeing them is if you either fly to their hometown and catch a show there, which if my calculations are correct, could cost you 3 to 4 times more than what it’ll cost you to support a local event, right here in your own backyard which MAY bring your band in future years if enough support is gathered.
And last but certainly not least, for those saying there’s only a few bands on the list you want to see
To those saying they only wanna see 4 or so bands at @DownloadFestAU. $42.50 x 4 = $170. Thats a pretty cheap amount to pay to see international bands + more you might discover on the day. The atmosphere is great. You meet new people. You enjoy yourself. STFU #DLMELB2018
— Browny (@brownypaul) November 8, 2017
You’re forgetting about the fun day that a Live Music Festival can bring. I have met so many new mates, colleagues here at Wall of Sound and industry contacts through attending these events over the years and some of the best memories associated with heavy bands came from Big Day Out/Soundwave/Sounds of Spring/Splendour etc but the thing is no matter if I had 20 bands to see or only 5, you prepare yourself and your mates for one hell of a fucking day out seeing as many bands as you can and even coming across ones you didn’t think you’d ever see/enjoy.
But thats my opinion, I also grabbed some industry professionals to see what they think about this godforsaken “sense of entitlement” Australia is facing:
Tim Price – The Faction/Collision Course: “We could go around and around about who should and shouldn’t be on a festival lineup but that’s the lineup we are getting! If Australia wants this festival and others in the future to continue and grow and become more diverse…. this is the lineup we have to get behind. There is a bunch of stuff there for most – from Good Charlotte to Amon Amarth to Issues to Bad Cop/Bad Cop to Gojira to Trophy Eyes”.
“The bands you want and more diversity (please!) on future lineups depends on people turning out to this one. Turn up or stump up to bring your own festival to Australia. It takes a lot of money and moving parts to make this happen. I have nothing but respect for festival and tour promoters just trying to bring out bands that people want. Let’s better the Australian Heavy Music scene by ensuring it’s future – at the large festival level and at the local show level. Get behind it!”
Sabian Lynch – Alpha Wolf/Download Festival Performer: “We should be stoked and so grateful to see that there’s still people out there who want to keep giving to the heavy music community, after seeing the downfall of BDO and Soundwave things definitely looked very grim but now we’ve got Unify growing stronger every year and now Download, hopefully we can all give back, make it a success and keep it an annual event”.
“Obviously this lineup isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it’s a complete mixed bag, I personally love it as there’s some of my all time favourite bands. I feel as though even if you only like a handful of bands, the ticket price is still worth it and it’ll be an amazing day for all who come out, if we can show the support for the first Download and make it a success, it’ll give us more of a chance to see it return for years to come and to grow bigger.”
“I was actually on a first date when I got the news [about playing Download] and the girl I was seeing noticed me light up and excused me to go and call everyone, unlucky enough though it was past everyone’s bed times and everyone was passed out so I had to wait until the morning to share the excitement. We’re all super excited and amazed to think we were worthy enough to make the cut when there’s so many talented acts getting around lately, cannot wait for the day to come, the nerves are setting in already!
John Howarth – Nuclear Blast Australia/Major PR Specialist
“We live in a microwave society. Everyone wants something fast and if it’s not what they want they ditch it. Growing up you got overly excited about music and gigs you were just happy to get a tour. Now if it’s not what they like, the flame it, they turn it into a negative rather than embrace it. They have platforms to spew their narcissistic views and in the meantime all they do is run down the people working the hardest to deliver. [Download is] Massive! Iconic brand. I feel this bill while very solid, is a testing ground to see what can be achieved going forward. Start safe – then dream big. We have a great new festival, a great brand name, some major bands and straight out because of the amount of time, money and effort that has gone into this. A lot of people don’t realise just how hard it is.”
Higgo – Distortion/Heavy Metal Legend: “The way I look at it is, we’re not owed anything, and we’ve been given an opportunity. We get to show the world that Australia loves heavy music and produces some of the best of it. This can only get bigger and better each year, so I’m stoked that we have a platform again. Plus, Amon Amarth are insane live.”
Limp Bizkit cop a bad wrap from almost anyone who hears their name, but do you remember how powerful their set was at Soundwave 2012? Honestly, they completely blew me away with how good they were and if I listened to all the hype and negativity surrounding them prior, I would have missed out on that
With this being Download’s first outing to Australia, you have to take into consideration that it hasn’t been done here before, unlike the international versions which have been running for well and truly over a decade. Plus if you also think about how expensive it is to bring all these bands to the country and get all the equipment needed to run it, it’s a costly exercise… could you afford to lose that much money? If we back this and show our support for what it is, who knows, we could have bigger named headliners within the next year or two. And if the festival gets the support it needs, we’ll be able to get those side shows that are guaranteed to come down with it. If you take notice at the poster, it indicated this will be KoЯn‘s only Australian show, BUT it doesn’t say that about the rest of the bands on the bill… But in order for that to actually happen first, we need to get behind this now.
There’s a lot of comparisons going on between what made Soundwave great and why it outshines this attempt, but to be honest, the whinging has always been around, even as Soundwave made it’s ascent from a small, single state show to the touring, country wide force it became. But event that wasn’t enough to please everyone as former General Manager Chris O’Brien pointed out:
Soundwave started off as a single stage event in Perth and grew organically. As the event grew so did peoples expectations and we could never keep up with it in the end. Any Festival will be compared to it at its peak unfortunately which is unfair.
— Chriswhatavibe (@chriswhatavibe) November 9, 2017
For the past two and a half years we’ve seen your cries and pleads for something like this to come our way, rumour after rumour of it happening then falling short and not to mention the fall of Legion before it even started. We have the potential to fill the void in our heavy music loving lives by growing and nurturing this event and it all starts with us, the punters, to trust the promoter’s plans.
So enough with the bullshit crying, just because it’s not DarrenFest or Sarahwave 2018 with all the bands you wanted aka your own personal Spotify Playlist Fest, doesn’t mean you’re not going to have a killer time out checking out some bands you might have listened to growing up or discovering a new wave of bands you’re yet to come across. At least it’s something, really impressive that we can attempt to appreciate for what it’s worth. And if you’re still not going, good, no need to bring others down who are keen to give it a go and help see it succeed in years to come. Just don’t try to claim the glory when the lineup is finally up to your standard.
Download Festival Melbourne
March 24th @ Flemington Racecourse, Melb VIC