Just three days after the dust (literally) settled on this year’s sold-out UNIFY Gathering, organisers have already confirmed that the heavy music festival will return for round 3 in 2017.
Not only that, it’ll be “bigger and better” than ever.
Luke Logemann from Team Unify has issued a statement, talking up the festival’s success so far and using it as evidence that #heavymusicisaliveandwell, despite popular misconceptions wrought by the demise of Soundwave and recent postponement of the admirable-but-ambitious crowdfunded Legion music festival.
He also confirmed that UNIFY Gathering 2017 is officially locked in, and that while organisers will aim to up the ante once again, they won’t be going overboard.
“[UNIFY 2017] will naturally be bigger and better than last year, with the key word here being ‘naturally’,” he explained. “We’ll grow it slightly, and we’ll improve and tweak the things we need to, but we won’t be trying to expand it beyond what it needs to be.
“This is an event based on people being comfortable and feeling safe and feeling rewarded for being part of a community. We want UNIFY to exist for 20, 30, 40 years and beyond, and we won’t be exposing this event to the kind of risk that could stop that happening.
“We have plenty of plans in the works, but we’ll only make announcements when we have 100% locked everything in and know what we are doing. We will continue to listen to your feedback and we’ll continue to improve every aspect of the experience until it’s absolutely perfect.”
Following the disheartening cancellation of Soundwave late last year, many punters looked to UNIFY as a shining beacon of hope, with some expecting it to launch a bid to fill the huge hole that SW left in the Aussie festival scene. But, according to Logemann, that won’t be happening any time soon.
“I’ve been asked probably a hundred times now whether we will try and replace Soundwave and fill that space,” he revealed. “We all loved Soundwave and I personally attended at least two cities every year the festival was on – it was one of the highlights of my year.
“But thats not what this event is supposed to be. Obviously via our various business ventures in the heavy music space (UNFD, 24 Hundred, UNIFY) we have a wealth of experience, and we will be exploring how to use that to cater for heavy music festival fans all around the country.
“But for now, UNIFY will remain what it is – a professionally run community experience in country Victoria by the fans and for the fans.”
While Logemann concedes that nobody’s perfect, he believes that the overwhelmingly positive feedback from everyone involved with UNIFY 2016 proves that the music and festival business can be something where “no one has to lose”.
“[Festivals] can be something that is done with the right attitude and ethics, and it can be something that maintains integrity and improves as years go by,” he said.
“In our first year, we sold 3000 tickets in 3 hours. We could have sold more, but we didn’t want to bite off more than we could chew. Thats been the… model since forever – we grow slowly and we do things with attention to detail and make sure we can achieve what we set out to achieve. We would never take for granted having 3000 people’s lives in our hands.”
He continued: “Our second year, we grew just a little more – another 2000 people, and another few bands. We took suggestions from punters and staff, and applied them all for year two for improvement.”
Logemann is hopeful about the future of heavy music in Australia, but left us with one final message which he hopes that others in the industry will take on board:
“The festivals that have shut down here aren’t an indication of the fans not showing support or complaining too much. The fans were always there, and they deserve to not be scrutinised for what they choose to attend. This has been an industry problem first and foremost.”
We look forward to hearing more about what UNIFY Gathering 2017 has to offer.
In the meantime, you can check out our review of the 2016 event here and have a gander at some of the photos below.
Gallery: Unify Gathering 2016 / Pics by Darren Tan