Music

Harvest promise: No repeat of the “major cock-ups” of the 2011 festival

Tickets for the 2012 edition of the Harvest Festival go on sale next Thursday 28th June and although the festival has again delivered an impressive lineup that includes long awaited return visits from Beck and Sigur Ros many punters in Melbourne may be a little hesitant about buying their tickets and making another trip down to Werribee in November.

Despite the glorious sunshine and a stunning set from Portishead, the mention of last year’s Harvest festival debut in Melbourne is more likely to lead to a grumble about queues, drink tickets and queues for drink tickets than a fond memory of seeing TV On the Radio or dancing like a fool with Hypnotic Brass. FasterLouder’s festival review noted that the festival, for all it’s many positives, suffered from “a triple-crown of shoddy on-site logistics” – queues for food, drinks and toilets – created some issues to distract from the incredible music of the day.

Festival promoter and Twitter addict AJ Maddah made several comments about the logistical issues during the event promising to examine “the whole fucked up situation” and later admitted that “At the end of the day I take responsibility for any & all issues. Just expressing my frustration at the time. There were serious problems and they’ll need to be addressed.”

This year, the festival promoters promise, will be a very different story.

This morning FasterLouder spoke to festival co-promoter Declan Forde and asked how two experienced festival promoters allowed the amenities issues to occur in Melbourne. As an experienced festival campaigner with his hand in several festivals in Ireland including Electric Picnic, Forbidden Fruit, Body & Soul and Liss Ard, Forde explained “There’s not a whole lot I can say other than to promise that it won’t happen again. It’s a source of deep embarrassment and it most definitely won’t happen again. We’re very conscious that we’ll be forgiven once for mistakes but we won’t be forgiven again for something like that and the whole team is very, very conscious of that.”

“We feel that what we’re doing with Harvest is a little bit different from what’s gone on with other festivals in Australia. Not vastly different, but a little bit different. The Australian festival market is quite saturated with festivals that just offer a handful of music stages and a few toilets and bars – rather than an actual ‘festival’. We feel that Harvest is about the absolute experience for the punter from the moment they arrive on site to the moment they leave – and that’s what we’re trying to sell. That is meant to be reflected through the quality of the whole event. That means a beautiful experience through the nature of the sites, the décor on the sites which we add to enhance that, the quality of the food, the quality and range of drinks, and last – and most certainly not least – the quality and range of the bands and the quality of the production. Each of the three legs we were very happy with barring some major cock-ups at the Melbourne leg which will be easily remedied. They will be remedied this year.”

AJ Maddah has also declared, on Twitter of course, that “As for amenities, I have taken control of these personally and will be micro-managing every aspect.”

Following the issues in Melbourne last year the Harvest crew announced that everyone who attended Harvest in 2011 will be considered a ‘Foundation Member’ and as long as the event runs will have first right to tickets. Harvest has promised to release the details of the foundation member pre-sale in the next week.

Check out our live preview of Harvest 2012 here – set lists, live footage and what to expect when Beck, Grizzly Bear, Sigur Ros and more land on shores later this year.

Harvest Festival 2012:

Sunday 11th November – Werribee Park, Melbourne

Saturday 17th November – Parramatta Park, Sydney

Sunday 18th November – Riverstage, Brisbane

Tickets on sale Thursday 28th June at 9am.