FOMO Festival has been working hard at making a name for itself these past few years for having a lineup that is refreshingly different to every other festival taking place at around the same time. Constantly diverse, hip-hop focused and not using recycled acts, FOMO consistently raises the bar as far as fresh lineups go.
It should come as no surprise that 2020 was no exception, and the event’s Sydney leg really exemplified that.
The mood was high and energy was palpable as soon as the event kicked off. With up-and-comer Chillinit representing for Aussie hip-hop on the bill, his boundless ferocity helped warm the growing crowd up for the punk-rap fusion brought on by Rico Nasty, for her debut Sydney performance.
Her fans turned it out for her, as she screamed her way through tracks like ‘Hard’, ‘Roof’, ‘Trust Issues’, ‘Countin’ Up’ and seminal hit ‘Smack A Bitch.’ The air was humid and it was muggy, but it didn’t seem to bother her – wearing a top to bottom blue bodysuit and moving around the stage with as much expression and as much vigour as one has come to expect following her meteoric rise to stardom.
Soon after grime legend Giggs took to the stage with his storied catalogue, there was a relatively brief set from Meduza, whose set was bookended by two of 2019’s most defining bangers – ‘Lose Control’ and the all-conquering ‘Piece Of Your Heart’. In fact, once ‘Lose Control’ began to play, people began sprinting from all corners to immerse themselves as deep in the crowd as possible. It was like a mini stampede, and the late afternoon had really just begun.
Last minute addition to the bill – A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie – did his best to keep the hype up following Meduza’s set, with a DJ that toed the line on overbearing, and spat his way through bar after bar of some of the best cuts from 2018’s Hoodie SZN, including a touching moment of complete silence to honour his friend, Juice WRLD.
But the centrepiece of the festival was written in the stars long before it took place. After taking the Sydney Opera House by storm earlier in the week, Lizzo walked on to the Sydney FOMO stage to a thunderous applause from the biggest crowd of the day.
Donning a robe that said her name across the back of it, Lizzo wasted no opportunity to spread her message of self love and body positivity – “at a Lizzo concert, everybody is a thick bitch.” She also, once again, took a moment to acknowledge the bushfire crisis and, with the help of her plush koala Sydney, reminded punters that they can donate an extra dollar at the bar that will go directly to bushfire relief.
On top of that, the crowd prompted a chant of “be that bitch!” to the woman who claimed a DNA test told her that she was 100% that bitch, which meant that love completely consumed the festival. So, with no surprise, her closing performance of ‘Truth Hurts’ was opened with a crowd-only sing-a-long to the first verse and the energy didn’t die down once she left the stage.
French extraordinaire Madeon took to the stage with his forward thinking and boundary pushing production, with the most spectacular visual display of the entire festival. And, as the sun finally set, Brockhampton emerged for a chaotic and explosive performance donned in orange jumpsuits. Having been away for a little over a year, the fact that they were only recently here didn’t make the crowd any less excited.
As they threw themselves around the stage to tracks like ‘BLEACH’, ‘BOOGIE’ and ‘GOLD’, they were leaving the crowd no chance for them to catch their breath. That is, until their final song ‘NO HALO’, where they all stood in a line and gave the crowd a sombre, soothing closer to bring them down after a hyperactive performance.
FOMO 2020 proved that the people behind it remain ahead of the curve when it comes to bookings, and that the risks they take nearly always pay off.
We’ll just have to wait and see what they’ll pull out of their crystal ball in 2021.
Gallery: FOMO Festival – Parramatta Park, Sydney 11/1/20 – Photos: Dan Lynch/@danlynch