Why Syd’s Future Music Fest Was Kinda Shit
Beautiful weather and a stellar line-up of artists isn’t all that it takes to make an enjoyable music festival experience, which just so happened to be something the Sydney organisers of FUTURE MUSIC Festival weren’t quite aware of.
Held on Randwick Racecourse and featuring a line-up including a mix of pop, rock and dance music, the festival attempts to give and be a lot to a lot of people. This is an all-encompassing model that appears to have worked, in essence, as the festival sold out the weekend before it was held. However, this was a not-so-surprising fact when attempting to move around the grounds. Actually, not only was it notably a full festival, but it was also quite painful to move around considering Randwick Racecourse – the festival’s site– probably isn’t the most ideal of locations to hold a music festival.
“Hey Luke!” I hear you ask, “Hey Luke, why are you so grumpy? You got to listen to great music all day, SO WHY SO GRUMPY?” (Ok, well now you’re yelling). Well true, I did get to listen to great music all day (well mostly at least, but more on that later) but a music festival has to consider more than just music, and by ‘more things’ I mostly mean human movement. Having a festival held on Randwick Racecourse means there are a lot of places people can’t stand and walk. Mostly, this refers to the grass that the horsies run on, which the organisers get around by building bridges over, and by allowing access to underground tunnels. While sure, it does make the stages considerable more spread out, but it is at the least a suitable way around such a hurdle. But as anyone who has been anywhere near Randwick Racecourse in the last year would know, it is a huge fucking construction site at the moment. This means there are a myriad of other places that are out of bounds, most notably the grand stands.
Now, while it may seem a little fickle to be all up in arms over not being able to access the grand stands, it is important to note that the grand stand area offers more than just seating and a view to the on-looking stage. The stands also offer a handful of other facilities include bathrooms, bars and food services. Removing these facilities had a significant trickle down effect, putting more pressure on the facilities that were sparingly scattered around the rest of the festival. What this ultimately meant was, what in previous years would have been a 10-20 minute wait for food, drinks and bathrooms, this year meant waits up to (and possibly exceeding) an hour. And for a festival that seems to attract more of the steroid munching, drug takers, waiting in lines with an increasingly aggressive and starved mob doesn’t make time the most enjoyable.
What did make the time enjoyable, and momentarily make you forget some of the major failings of the festival, was the music on offer.
A major draw of Future Music Festival for me was actually to see the performance of Azealia Banks. When she took the stage she exhibited as much attitude, brashness and confidence that her recordings (and social media use) suggest she exudes. However, the sound throughout this set was just not loud enough, which meant that throughout the set, we were also listening to the surrounding stages (who clearly were covered in the sound department.) This sound issue was actually something that plagued the Mazda 2 Mariachi stage through till about half way through A-Trak’s set. Thankfully, however, these sound issues were the end of any music related issues to be had with the event.
From here there were brilliant performances from Boys Noize, The Temper Trap (fuck that dude can sing) and Bloc Party.
Overall, the day was a fairly problematic experience, I have never believed Randwick Racecourse to be in any way ideal to hold a music festival. But what it does provide is lots of space for their many stages. Obviously the music is a major part to the festival, but as you can probably tell I, in no way, believe it to be all that needs to be addressed by the organisers.
To lift the experience something the organisers need to re-look at is all the other facilities that are needed to service more than just our ears. And hour waits for services elicits nothing but rage.
Words by Luke Letourneau