11 Things We’re Totally Keen For At UNIFY 2016
At the time of this article’s posting, there are exactly 66 days, 6 hours and 25 minutes until the second annual UNIFY Gathering officially opens its gates. The event is an especially unique one for Australians: an overnight camping festival with many individual focuses, but one in particular that stands prideful in the foreground – wall-shaking, blood-boiling, face-melting, pit-brewing, speaker-pounding heavy music. Headlined by home-grown heroes Parkway Drive, In Hearts Wake and Tonight Alive, UNIFY 2016 builds upon this year’s killer inauguration with an almost doubled capacity, a more varied line-up, a larger array of non-musical festivities, and so, so much more. Needless to say, we’re fucking keen! But for what, exactly? What makes UNIFY so much better than any other of the summer festivals coming up? Well…
THE ROAD TRIPS THERE AND BACK
If you’re making the trek straight from Melbourne, it’ll take you roughly two hours to drive into the Tarwin Meadows campsite. For us Sydneysiders not bothered to deal with hell Jetstar, though, we’ll be behind the wheel for an unfathomable ten hours… And that’s not including pit stops. Most punters will probably see that as motivation to hook up a plane ticket, but for us, that’s ten hours of cheesy road games, killer punk playlists, and shameless fast food. Sign. Us. Up. The trip home will likely revolve around ten hours of hungover road rage, but hey, if that’s what it costs to have the sickest weekend ever, so be it.
We don’t know what kind of magic the organisers pulled or what contracts they signed with the devil, but not a drop of rain nor a slack of thunder struck at this year’s festival. It was hot as shit and we all crisped up like rotisserie chickens, but somehow, none of us ended up soaked as per the Official Rules Of Australian Music Festivals. We’re not too sure how our luck will pan out next year, and we’re certainly not going to get our hopes up, so if/when it does rain, you’ll see us throwing down with the best (and muddiest). Mud moshes, for the uncultured amongst us, are simply regular mosh pits that make the most of the unsavoury conditions. Mud is splashed. Mud is thrown. If there is mud on the ground, there will be mud on your clothes. It’s dirty, it’s crass, and you regret it almost instantly… Basically, it’s just awesome.
SMALLER BANDS KILLING IT ON THE MAIN STAGE
Never underestimate the power of the little guys. Especially if those little guys consist of rapcore shredders Earth Caller, heavy metallers Electrik Dynamite, and now-UNFD signees Stories. They absolutely blew our minds this year, and were certainly worthy of riffing it out alongside such heavyweights as The Amity Affliction and Thy Art Is Murder. Next year, we can look forward to having our days started right with deathcore destroyers The Weight Of Silence, metalcore maniacs Void Of Vision, and pop-punk powerhouse Columbus smashing it out. Festivals like UNIFY give us an opportunity to suss out some acts we otherwise might not have even heard of, so we’re definitely keen to see who our new favourite bands are come January.
HUMAN FOOSBALL / LIFE-SIZED BOARD GAMES
There’s something special about the upsizing and downsizing of otherwise-mundane activities that suddenly makes them so much more appealing than they originally were. Everybody already knows that mini-golf is infinitely superior to regular golf, and as this year’s event laid out, massively oversized board games are also boundlessly more enjoyable than their countertop counterparts. We’re looking forward to destroying our mates at Gigantic Jenga and Connect Forty (and the punch-ups that are bound to follow), but what really intrigues us is the Human Foosball rink. How will it work? Is it just going to be a regular game of soccer? Will they strap us to poles and have us tumble around while other players guide us? Either way, we’re stoked! We’re also glad they aren’t hosting life-sized Monopoly games – there’s a mass-murder waiting to happen.
Look, festival bar staff, we get it. You have licensing costs to cover, kids to feed, Cruisers to water down. But unless we’re already trashed, there’s nothing even remotely tempting about spending $8 on a half-strength can of lukewarm cider. In a weird sort of way, the BYO nature of UNIFY gives the event a sense of freedom – this is our festival, and we can get fucked up to metalcore jams on our own terms. It’s also not a bad business idea – while profits are sure to be lost from bar sales, punters will spend the money they save hauling their own stubbies onto the grounds on things like band merch, which at the end of the day, rakes in far more dough than a 240ml’er does.
AND THEMED COCKTAILS
But we have a soft spot for shitty band puns, and will probably end up spending our entire budget drinking them in liquid form… Count us in for the Noah’s Ark: two of everything, please.
UNIFY is an overnight festival with on-site camping as one of its main attractors. The first day’s festivities officially end at 1:30am, and after a whole day of moshing, drinking, and soaking up the energy, the majority of us will probably wind up crawling off to our tents and crashing at the snap of a finger… And that, dear readers, is when the real fun begins. Prank wars, drinking games, and just generally lively “night vibes” will be in the air – it’s a sort of experience you can’t get at a festival like Soundwave, and will duly complement the otherwise riotous calamity the event will entail. Someone, somewhere is going to somehow make a campfire, too, so… bring marshmallows!
A MORE DIVERSE LINE-UP
This year’s festival gave us 17 bands that delivered breakdown, after breakdown, after breakdown. That’s not a bad thing – like a mother loves their child do we adore our circle pits and walls of death – but we’re looking forward to a little bit of variation at next year’s festival. In-between thrashing out to Stray From The Path and throwing down with In Hearts Wake, we’ll be getting our fists up to some Tonight Alive. Unusual placement? Definitely. But also awesome placement? Definitely. The Sunday line-up gives us a chance to bust out our best punk jumps as well, with Neck Deep and State Champs headlining that.
BUT ALSO, METALHEADS THROWING SHIT AT POP-PUNK BANDS
In no way whatsoever do we at BLUNT condone heckling or being violent towards bands – especially the smaller ones just trying to get their name out there. That being said, it’s bound to happen. When you put a crowd full of riled up metalheads (many of whom are going to be hungover beyond belief) in front of a band like Neck Deep or Columbus, you’re bound to see some metaphorical shit hit the allegorical fan. There will be water bottles, Fruity Lexia boxes, and all kinds of weird stuff ending up on that stage. We’re going to be disappointed in those of you that throw them, but we’re also going to chuck a laugh, because some of you just have an incredible aim.
At this point, it’s just a scientific fact that the best food in the world is that which comes out of a truck. What restaurants do perfectly, food trucks do even better. The food truck bay is a world of culture, scents and good vibes all in itself – it’s also a festival staple: overly priced, but overly delicious.
PARKWAY. FUCKING. DRIVE.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Parkway Drive’s recently-concluded Ire tour, it’s that the Byron Bay badarses still know how to get the energy pumping better than any other band in the country. Their arena shows are meteoric enough as it is – an eruption of smoke, lights and pyrotechnics flood the room like a tsunami as the five-piece tread around their stage in an almost synchronised fashion – so the mere thought of that being translated to an outdoor festival setting like UNIFY has our hands shaking in excitement. Not to mention the setlists, blending chant-along classics like “Carrion” and “Home Is For The Heartless” with Ire’s bonafide bangers like “Vice Grip” and “Crushed”. Let the circle pits begin!
For more info, head to unifygathering.com
UNIFY 2016: A Heavy Music Gathering
Sat Jan 16th & Sun Jan 17th – Tarwin Meadows, Gippsland