On paper, it’s the perfect idea – Soundwave, the same festival team to have conquered the metal market and managed to bring the European feel Down Under with Harvest Festival, wading into the hip hop and dance festival arena. And although organisers for a mooted new festival, Rapture, have hit an early snag the idea may not have been thrown out altogether.
When the Herald Sun‘s Nui Te Koha reported that hip hop powerhouse Eminem would be touring Australia in early 2014, he also revealed that Soundwave were invited to help get things moving. Initially, it wasn’t known in which capacity they would be involved, but Soundwave promoter AJ Maddah has since explained that they were in talks with Em in relation to a new festival named Rapture.
When asked by a curious tweeter whether Soundwave were talking to Shady about a possible Soundwave Festival appearance, Maddah responded, “Nope. We were working on a festival w him called Rapture. Didn’t work out.” The scant information doesn’t make clear whether Rapture is still going ahead without Eminem, or whether it was the festival itself which “didn’t work out”.
There’s no way yet of knowing what the vibe of Rapture Festival would be but, given previous statements, it would seem a little out of character for Maddah to attempt a hip hop-based Australian festival. Just a few weeks ago, AJ commented via Twitter on the unstable market for hip hop tours in Australia, saying there were “too many dodgy promoters, too many dodgy agents, too many dodgy managers, too many dickhead artists” which has led to a series of cancelled festivals and tours:
“It’s plain larceny on the part of fake agents and managers selling acts they don’t have with money up front or promoters lying about acts and then not refunding; or “artists” that can’t be fucked getting on a flight or leaving hotel. It’s just 1 giant circle jerk of thieves and arseholes. And even when they do turn up, the ‘artist’ usually wants to do the absolute minimum fuck-all possible to fulfill contract.”
Regardless, any new project from the Soundwave team is a tantalising prospect, and they may be the ones to turn the poor quality of hip hop tours in Australia around. It is also possible that, a la Soundwave Revolution, organisers may opt to scrap plans altogether rather than compromise standards.
All this puts us back at square one as to who will be the hip hop act selected for SW14 after Maddah’s previous pick – the not strictly hip hop, Ice T-led Body Count – fell through.
UPDATE: It seems that the Rapture Festival concept has been around for quite a while now. Some web trawling on the part of Music Feeds yielded an interesting post on the Eminiem fan forum and self-described “Ultimate Eminem Fansite,” TRShady.com
The post dates back to early December 2011, in which a fan mentions seeing the concept for Rapture Festival in a video shown before an Eminem gig in Sydney, saying:
“Before he came on, this video played. The audio was pretty quiet…But what I took from it was that Eminem will be returning every year with some of the biggest names in hip-hop to put on a hip-hop festival called Rapture.”
Subsequent forum members confirmed what the original poster had seen, with the thread going cold immediately after. If there had indeed been a video promoting Rapture Festival shown to Aussie fans as early as 2011, it would mean that the idea had been in the pipeline for some time and it’s possible that Eminem’s people approached Maddah as the man who could get the idea off the ground.
@PaddianneKiley Nope. We were working on a festival w him called Rapture. Didn't work out.
— AJ (@iamnotshouting) September 1, 2013
(Via The Music)