There’s a brand new heavy music festival in town and this one is here to make a difference. The “game-changing” UsFest aims to address the issue of gender diversity on Aussie festival lineups by inspiring meaningful, positive change from the grassroots and will take over Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory on Saturday 6th April.
The festival’s first move towards its aim is its lineup, revealed in all its glory today. Co-headlined by pop-punk stars Yours Truly and Between You and Me, the inaugural event will feature at least 50 per cent of bands with at least one non-male identifying member and works to raise funds in support of Girls Rock Sydney.
The 2019 bill also features Brisbane punk quintet Stateside, Sydney grunge heroes The Dead Love, Sydney “screaming rap rock electro pop mutants” RedHook, local scene veterans Sienna Skies, purveyors of “rock with heart” Stellar Addiction, Sydney metal champs Arteries, Melbourne metalcore rising stars The Last Martyr and more.
Emmy Mack – of RedHook (and Music Feeds!) – partnered with Tiana Jarvis to create UsFest, and they’re both stoked to share the news today, in celebration of International Women’s Day and RedHook’s final day as triple j Unearthed feature artist.
Mack says, “The inspiration behind UsFest came from wanting to turn a negative situation into a positive one.”
“There’ve been a lot of important conversations happening around the issue of gender diversity on Aussie festival lineups in recent years. And the heavy scene – which has been overwhelmingly male-dominated throughout history – has come under particular scrutiny,” she said.
“It’s obviously a very complex, emotional topic, but there seems to be a fundamental disconnect in the way that both sides have been discussing it in relation to our scene, and it’s created a lot of ugliness and division within the community. Last year I was actually feeling really depressed about it all, so I decided to do something to try and change it.”
“With UsFest, I wanted to create something positive that brought us together instead of tearing us apart. I wanted to go beyond simply ‘calling out’ the problem to offer what might hopefully be the start of a solution – creating meaningful change at the grassroots level in the hope of starting to see things shift in the treetops.
I also want to add that, while UsFest may be a new kind of event for the punk, rock & metal scene, we’re proud to be part of a new paradigm of festivals in the wider Australian music community.”
Jarvis says, “We’ve been so floored by the incredible support from all corners! Also very heartened by the show of solidarity from the male artists on our lineup, not to mention all the higher-profile artists of all genders who’ve thrown their weight behind this important cause.”
See the full lineup and ticketing details below.
UsFest 2019 Lineup
Tickets on sale now
Between You and Me
The Dead Love
The Last Martyr
Down For Tomorrow
Big Music Bandits
Saturday, 6th April
Oxford Art Factory, Sydney