Welcome to Unify Gathering: everything you need to know before you go

Returning to the picturesque surrounds of South Gippsland for another sell-out instalment.

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Unify Gathering will once again bring together the best in heavy music from Australia and around the globe. Before you make the trek to Tarwin Lower, here’s everything you need to know about this year’s event – from who you’ll be hearing to what you’ll be eating, we’ve got you covered. See you in the pit.
A Dose of Nostalgia
We all love a good throwback, and this year’s lineup features a trio worth feeling old for. It’s been 15 years since The Amity Affliction started out playing basements in Gympie, Queensland and to celebrate they’ll be reaching deep into their back catalogue –vocalist Joel Birch has already confirmed ‘Severance’ is on the list. Byron Bay juggernauts Parkway Drive will be blowing out the candles on ten years since the release of a little album called Horizons – how old do you feel now? And speaking of anniversaries, did you know it’s also been a decade since we first heard Four Year Strong’s Rise or Die Trying? You’ll hear that one in full too. 
Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!
The heavy music scene in Australia has never been stronger, and Unify has managed to capture the breadth of it in one neat package. Tonight Alive will be taking to the stage on the day they release their new album Underworld so you know it’s going to be a celebration (they’ll also be taking over the secret Bush Bar earlier in the day – ssshh don’t tell anyone). After returning with their first new music since 2009, Behind Crimson Eyes will be along for the ride, so will Canberra lads Hands Like Houses who’ll be following up a huge 2017 that included two completely sold-out national tours.
International Heavyhitters
Not to be outdone, the overseas Unify contingent is pure class. In one of only two Australian sets, UK legends Architects are sure to tear things up – make sure you know the words to ‘Doomsday’, its Australian debut is going to be huge. Knocked Loose are set to deliver their signature brand of face-melting hardcore, as will the OC’s own Stick To Your Guns, while pop punk upstarts Knuckle Puck will share tracks from their latest album Shapeshifter.
The Next Generation
While you won’t be seeing too many fresh faces around the campground, the Unify stage will be chock full of them – bringing together the bands you should definitely be keeping an eye on. If you aren’t already acquainted with Polaris’ incredible debut The Mortal Coil then what are you waiting for? No strangers to the Unify stage (you might’ve caught them last year), they’re sure to carve it up. They’ll be joined by Perth five-piece Cursed Earth, the dreamy sounds of Young Lions, hardcore heavyhitters Outright, the eccentric Introvert, and Melbourne locals Belle Haven, whose second album You, Me and Everything In Between is a 2017 standout. If you don’t know this lot now, you soon will.
The Lighthouse
Whether you’re looking for a place to chill, get peer support, or access to resources from a range of service providers, The Lighthouse hubs will be there to support you 24/7 throughout your festival experience. The Lighthouse is Unify’s new social services and welfare initiative, bringing together Your Choice, Headspace, Dancewize, Girls Rock Melbourne and the introduction of the UNITY Crew.
Eat up
Is there anything more important at a camping festival than a great selection of food? We think not, which is why we’re pretty impressed by Unify’s offerings. The local Footy Club and Community Mens Club will be serving up the goods once again. You can also sink your teeth into pizzas courtesy of Happy Camper, bagels by Round The Way, authentic Texan BBQ from Smokehouse 720, and toasties by Toasta. That’s only the beginning, and with a heap of vegan and vegetarian options available you’re sure to be well-fed.
Stay Hydrated
Between the fire lineup and the Australian sun, the weekend can get pretty hot – so staying hydrated is a must. This year, Unify want to minimise their impact on the environment, and one way they’re doing this is by offering alternatives to buying single-use water bottles. Consider bringing your own water bottle, there are a stack of free water-fill stations located throughout the campsite and main arena. They’ll also be teaming up with We-Refill – they’ll have stations in the arena that give you access to unlimited chilled, filtered, or sparkling water – all you need is a bottle and a fiver, and you’re good to go all weekend long.
Leave No Trace
Why spend time setting up a tent, when Unify can sort out a little weekend home for you? KarTent are here to save the day with their biodegradeable and recyclable cardboard two-person tents. Not only does it save you time but it’s also great for the environment. Continuing their mission to leave no trace behind after this year’s festival, they’re also encouraging everyone to recycle – make sure you collect your black rubbish bag, as well as your clear bag for recycling your cans and bottles. Basically, be responsible, take everything with you, clean up your campsite, and help each other care for the environment.

Unify Gathering will take place in Tarwin Meadows from Friday January 12 until Sunday January 14.