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música/TUMBALONG – The Making Of

Written by Amelia Schmidt on September 26, 2011

música/TUMBALONG is a music festival that’s going to show Sydney something different. Set in the iconic Tumbalong Park, the epicentre of Darling Harbour, this festival will fill the iconic location with a selection of the best electronic music from around the globe, including SBTRKT, Ghostpoet and Baths. With a strong vision and a killer line-up, música/TUMBALONG is a welcome addition to the festival circuit.

MF: When did música form? Who masterminded it?

música: música was founded in 2001 by Kane Bligh as a means of pursuing his interests in music and underground culture. He kicked it off with a series of parties across Australia, New Zealand and Brazil, which featured underground house, live music and electronica.

MF: Why Tumbalong Park?

música: The música philosophy is all about putting on forward-thinking events in unique locations. The venue is simply beautiful. The trees, the water, the lush grass, and it’s also a space that has never been used for an event such as this – Tumbalong has of course hosted jazz events but nothing that has an indie and electronic vibe. Tumbalong has it all, and it’s in the heart of our great city.

MF: Do you think Sydneysiders see Darling Harbour as a tourist place rather than a place they’d like to hang out in? Do you feel like música is working to change that perception?

música: We don’t feel we’re trying to change anyone’s perception, Tumbalong is just a unique location that has never been used for such an event, and that’s a real shame. It’s very centrally located, easily accessible by public transport yet almost smack bang in the centre of Sydney. It’s a haven amongst a concrete jungle, and right next to the amazing Chinese Gardens!

MF: How did you decide on the line-up?

música: We thought our hometown might enjoy an event which didn’t play host to the same line-ups which were being recycled around other events. We’ve definitely taken a risk in booking a line-up with only breaking artists, but we’ve received great feedback so far and are really proud of it.

For example, we booked SBTRKT before his album blew up or his singles hit the radio. Baths is an artist we’ve had on our radar for a while – his glitched-out one-man show is awe-inspiring. Lunice is someone we’ve been keeping our eye on since we saw his stellar performance at Sonar a few years back. The sheer mystery behind Tiger & Woods meant that we HAD to book them.

As for Ghostpoet, we were lucky enough to receive an advance copy of his record and it blew us away, coupled with some footage of his early live shows – it was a no-brainer. Electric Wire Hustle are one of our favourite low-fi Kiwi artists; as soon as we found out they were wanting to play the event, pen was put to paper. Locally, it was hard to go past Mitzi and Bon Chat Bon Rat, although not household names (yet!) they produce some quality music and slotted in really well with the internationals. Our master of ceremonies is Simon Caldwell, who needs no introduction. He’ll keep the beat going from start to finish.

It’s important to note that all international artists are EXCLUSIVE to música, this is the only chance to see these acts in Sydney and they will all be playing full sets!

MF: Was it hard to get the event happening and off the ground?

música: Obviously there’s a lot involved and many a stakeholder to keep happy. We won’t bore you with it all, but some aspects include securing the venue, DA applications, booking the artists, gaining council approval, liaising with police and licensing, securing vendors, creating infrastructure, security, staffing, ticketing, marketing – seriously we haven’t even touched the sides. Actually just writing all of that down exhausted us!

It’s been a hectic 6 months but we wouldn’t have it any other way. In a few weeks time we will see the vision become a reality. We’re most of all looking forward to seeing the smiles on the faces of a few thousand happy punters, that’s what it’s all about.

MF: Are there any other events planned in the near future?

música: We will be holding two boutique outdoor events every year. Even though we’re so close to show day, we’re already working towards our next event, which will be held in April 2012. We’ve currently got our ears to the ground trying to discover those fresh acts who will break in the first half of next year.

MF: What kind of food and drink can we expect?

música: We have quite a selection, including authentic Italian Woodfire Pizza, Spanish Cuisine, Thai Cuisine, Italian BBQ, American Style Hot Dogs, Gourmet Healthy Burgers, 100% Certified Organic Turkish Gozleme, Gelato, Fair-trade Coffee and we’re also offering vegetarian and gluten-free options!

MF: Any chance we’ll see música events in other cities?

música: Sure, if we secure the right unique locations. We’ve been scouting up and down the East Coast and have found a few spaces that we’re interested in exploring. We’ve also made a few trips across the pond.

MF: What are you most looking forward to at música/TUMBALONG?

música: The artists, the audience and the location. We have no doubt it’s going to be something special and hope that you’ll be sharing this with us at our inaugural event.

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