When it dissolved in 2004, Livid Festival left as arguably the most influential and iconic festival in Australia. The final ’03 event boasted a bill topped by Linkin Park and The White Stripes. Now, with its 25th anniversary looming, founder Peter Walsh says it may be time to celebrate Livid’s impact.
“I’m very disappointed in how it finished because I would have liked to finish it on better terms,” Walsh told TheMusic.com.au. “Next year is the 25th year and that’s a milestone, maybe it’s worth a try of having a one-off anniversary just to celebrate the fact that it happened. Who knows?”
The State Library of Queensland is currently holding a Livid exhibition as part of its Live! Queensland program, and raking through the archives has sparked the return of old memories for Walsh, who said:
“It’s been really weird. It’s been a little bit emotional, like looking in a bubble back at yourself. It was a really different time – I think the festival thing now is quite ridiculous, but it was different back then.”
Walsh started Livid Festival in 1989, he and his then-partner borrowing money from the UQ Student Council and working the logistics, including the handing-out of tens of thousands of flyers, themselves, launching the festival into the then-virgin territory of the Australian festival market.
Despite incredulity from those involved as well as outsiders — including future Big Day Out founder Ken West — Livid was a success. But an increasingly saturated market and a lukewarm reception to Sydney and Melbourne expansion events saw the pioneer festival become defunct.
“Money was never the motivation for doing Livid, added Walsh. “It was about standing on the side of stage with Lou Reed singing Perfect Day with tears in my eyes, looking at the overflowing crowd all singing along and thinking, ‘I did this?’ It made you feel really good.”