Don’t get your hopes up for Harvest sideshows, says promoter

Tickets for Harvest festival are on sale now for Harvest Foundation Members and go on sale to the general public on Thursday morning, but if you’re thinking of holding off buying a ticket in the hopes of seeing a sideshow there’s a message from the promoters – “Don’t get your hopes up”.

Although there will be a handful of sideshows in Perth and Adelaide, Harvest promoters AJ Maddah and Declan Forde have told fans that sideshows are very unlikely to be held in the festival cities Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Maddah has already confirmed that there will be sideshows for Beck and Mike Patton’s Mondo Cane, but those gigs will be held in cities that miss out on the festival tour. Mondo Cane is expected to announce sideshows in Perth and Adelaide, while Beck’s solitary sideshow will most likely be in Adelaide. Recent tweets from Maddah also reveal that Sigur Ros sideshows are only happening in Adelaide and Perth and that Cake will probably only play a sideshow in Adelaide.

Maddah has told fans on Twitter that Harvest will “try and keep sideshows out of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne til Festival is established”. Festival co-promoter Forde has told FL that “hopefully soon Harvest will be in the position that if the festivals are selling out we could look at putting on sideshows” but it’s not exactly a priority for the Harvest team. Drawing on his experience running events in Ireland, Forde says that most fans don’t “feel cheated when they go to see their favourite band at a festival… I don’t think that’s a widespread feeling that people have.”

“Sideshows are really a uniquely Australian thing to be honest,” Forde reasons. “Any festival (for example Electric Picnic in Ireland, Reading, Rock Am Ring in Germany, or Coachella in the States) usually has a certain amount of exclusivity within a few hours of the site for a few months around it. So if you want to go see the band you have to go to the festival.”

Forde was keen to note that Harvest is committed to presenting the bands with the best possible staging and production. He hopes that the quality of the Harvest experience makes seeing your favourite band at the festival as good as, if not superior, to a sideshow. “I would like to think that if we can make the festival experience better in terms of the setting and the production values then people won’t look so earnestly at sideshows, ” he told FL. “I don’t think many who saw Portishead at any of the three legs last year would had preferred to have seen them in an indoor venue. You think of any of the other Australian festivals – would you have been given the same experience of Portishead at any of them? We’re trying to do something where we’re creating a much more enjoyable festival.”

The second lineup announcement is also set to make Harvest even more enjoyable (or lead to a series of timetable clashes) with Maddah revealing that the second round of announcements for the festival “will be a mix of international and local… [with] an artist or 2 you may have heard of!”. Last year the second announcement added TV on the Radio, Mogwai, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Kevin Devine and Seekae to the festival’s lineup.