Freedom Time Winter

In recent years, Melbourne has cultivated its reputation for top-shelf day parties showcasing local and international selectors. As we get deeper into the calendar year, those scenes of sunshine and sweat become foggy memories. After completing its previous iteration on New Year’s Day, Freedom Time is set to adapt to a colder climate –courtesy of three sizable tents capable of keeping 5,000 attendees warm and dry while enjoying the likes of DJ Harvey, Kim Ann Foxman, and the debut of Wax’o Paradiso’s new Wax’o Dystopio guise.

Taking place across the grounds of Coburg Velodrome, the maiden winter incarnation of Freedom Time takes the strengths of the previous three summer-set editions while adapting its approach to lineup curation – as well as adjusting logistics to accommodate warmth. The impetus for the upcoming Freedom Time is the result of timing with a rare visit from its well-loved headline act. “We had the opportunity to present DJ Harvey, who is a very infrequent visitor to Australian shores, somewhere that isn’t just a nightclub in Melbourne. We thought, 'Why don't we put some tents up and do Freedom Time in winter?'” Explains festival co-organiser Edd Fisher.
While simply translating Freedom Time into a winter setting might seem like an easy win, Fisher has ensured no aspect is going in half-cooked. As part of Wax’o Paradiso, he’s fully embraced the darker aspects of the season. “Freedom Time's generally been quite a soulful music festival,” he reasons. “The way that we put this one up together was a bit different. Paradiso was going to be doing a new brand anyway for winter. We're called Wax'o Dystopio. Which is a party we're doing in Hobart, and we just thought there's normally Wax'o Paradiso involvement in Freedom Time, so we've flipped it to Wax'o Dystopio. One stage is presented by Wax'o Dystopio and that's with Kim Ann Foxman who is somebody as we chose as another act that we would like to present on our stage.”
With plenty of acts on the bill to embrace the darkness – including a third stage presented by Butter Sessions featuring more live experiments, techno and live electronica – the festival has also adapted to the actual darkness. “We've got a lot more investment in lighting both outside of the tents and inside,” Fisher says. “The stages have been designed by a creative studio called John Fish and it's pretty much just all light. Lighting and projections and tents are really the big differences that we've had. Also, the style of food we'll be doing. We'll be doing mulled wine and stuff like that, so there's a few more wintery food and drink options as well.”
Headliner DJ Harvey is well-known on Australian shores for putting on memorable sets. None so far have been more memorable than his appearance at Meredith Music Festival in 2010, in a moment that will be forever etched into the festival’s lore. Closing his set around sunrise, Harvey seemed to spontaneously decide to smash the shit out of the not exactly cheap equipment – including a Bozak rotary mixer belonging to a local DJ legend. As Fisher points out, there’s a bit of a reunion taking place at Freedom Time from key players involved in that moment of madness. “We have the main stage with DJ Harvey for three hours, and we've got Andee Frost who has has had a relationship with Harvey for a while. It's actually Andy Frost's mixer that Harvey smashed at Meredith. And so yeah. Frosty is doing the warm up for Harvey.”
While you can expect some magic from DJ Harvey and Andee Frost’s respective sets, DJ Harvey won’t be having his way with Frost’s equipment this time around. “We have other gear that we'll be using. The same stage manager who worked on that Meredith is going to be managing the stage. So it's kind of like the same team in a way, which is quite funny. It’s serendipity.”
Ultimately, Freedom Time will be arriving as a fully realised winter vision – filling the void in Melbourne's colder months for an outdoor festival with all the enclosure you could ask for. With a credible lineup in tow, it's set to liberate Melbourne from the cold with a selection of acts that'll be bringing some serious heat to the dancefloor.
By Rick Wickman

Freedom Time Winter will go down at the Coburg Velodrome on Saturday June 3. Tickets via eventbrite.com.au