Future Music Festival @ Flemington Racecourse
There’s a reason Future Music is considered one of Melbourne’s biggest festivals – dance music’s grasp on Melbourne’s consciousness is undeniable and Future Entertainment have consistently delivered lineups that compete with those internationally. Future is a curiosity in that while it’s undoubtedly one of Melbourne’s biggest festivals in terms of numbers, it never felt like it – coordinating an event of this scale is no mean feat and that the festival was easy to navigate and never too crowded was a testament to the effort that went into organising the festival.
The sunny early afternoon was spent swinging between stages. I arrived at Flemington Racecourse in time to catch some of Chase and Status’ heavy-hitting set, sending the crowd into a frenzy with their stellar mix-up of drum and bass, dubstep and electro. Excellent, if a little unsuitable for such an early timeslot, so off to see Azari and III kicking out disco-tinged house jams at the Likes of You for a laidback hour. The perfect way to ease into the festival, and DFA’s stage was another festival highlight – located outside in the sunshine, it was the perfect place to kick back and become acquainted with some of the record label’s premier acts. Holy Ghost were an oddity on the Future lineup – as the two joked mid-set, the full band they’d brought along with them made them feel out of place amongst an overwhelming majority of DJs and producers with controllers, but their set was a welcome breath of fresh air. Euphoric electro-pop with lush live instrumentation – the duo from New York managed to pull off one of the festival’s highlight sets.
A short walk over to the Knife Party stage and the contrast in sounds couldn’t be more apparent. Flux Pavilion and Zane Lowe’s electro and dubstep aural assault had punters dancing in a frenzy. Heading over to check out Dubfire and Sven Vath revealed similar results – dark and dirty techno with just as much punch, with the crowd steadily building over the next few hours. And with a lineup packing as much punch as this year’s, it was inevitable that there’d be some heartbreaking clashes when it came to the end of the evening – and after much internal struggle, I made my way into the gathering crowd eagerly anticipating the beginning of Aphex Twin, a decision I don’t regret at all. I’d been particularly curious as to how the Future crowd would take to the enigmatic techno and IDM producer’s live set, and Richard D James’ warped sounds combined with the bordering on absurd visuals.
Flashing from the strangest of pop-culture references to cameras feeding images from the crowd onto the stage with James’ face superimposed over them. It might have been years since we last saw the inscrutable producer on our shores, but the veritable mindfuck that the crowd were presented with was more than enough to make up for it.
The massive crowds that Future Music Festival pulls each year is understandable – such a well-organised and diverse music festival is the perfect way to farewell the summer season with one last chance to let loose.
BY MIKI McLAY
LOVED: DFA’s stage setup, replete with glittering disco balls, fluoro and much shininess.
HATED: The crowded train home.
DRANK: Expensive pre-mixes.