Okay, so unless you spent August living in a cave with no Internet (better than living in this locked-down hellscape, honestly), you’ll know that in just a few short months, the UNIFY Gathering will make its long-awaited return to regional Victoria. Promising two full days and nights of thrashing tunes and nothing but good vibes, we have no doubts at all that UNIFY ’22 will be a fezzie experience for the history books.
As we anxiously await a sale on SPF 30+ and start dusting off our tents from UNIFY 2020, we caught up with the man behind the mayhem, Luke Logemann – who in addition to booking and promoting the Gathering, works as the general manager of recorded music at the UNIFIED Group – to get the official lowdown on some key bits and pieces everyone should know about UNIFY ’22.
Are there any plans in place, or under consideration, to safeguard UNIFY against any potential outbreak of COVID-19 (ie. requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test for entry, as Live Nation are implementing for events in the US and UK)?
We have been, and will continue to, work very closely with local and state government agencies to ensure UNIFY is safe for everyone onsite. Through this work, we have developed a COVID Safe Event Plan that will evolve with the most up-to-date information and recommendations from public health authorities leading up to the festival. As of right now, there is no public health guidelines requiring people to show proof of vaccination to attend an event. We do ask that our punters help protect themselves and our UNIFY community by following current government advice.
In the post you made to the Social Club, you mentioned a “special set” scheduled for 4:20pm on both days. Other than the obvious timing, what makes them special?
The idea is to have a longer set earlier in the day where we can put in album plays, final shows, reunions, etcetera. It’s actually a similar time slot that we had Behind Crimson Eyes, The Getaway Plan and House Vs Hurricane play in the past, and it felt like we could have given those acts an extra ten minutes. It’s not necessarily a headline-level set, just a place for us to program something a little different.
After the unplanned addition of a second stage paid off in 2020, it was mentioned that future UNIFY Gatherings would feature two stages as planned. That was obviously before the pandemic fucked up the original blueprint for UNIFY ’21, but is that still the plan for next year?
Unfortunately next year we won’t be able to have a second stage. It’s not specifically COVID-related, but we feel that we will have our work cut out for us just delivering this event during a pandemic. As such, we’ll introduce the second stage the year after, and instead jam-pack as much talent as possible into the one-stage setup we currently have.
It feels like every year marks an evolution to the setup in one way or another – how will the trend continue?
Rhett and Kat are the site geniuses who are always introducing things like “secret bars” and “silent discos”, and they generally surprise us when we rock up to the site with that stuff. I’d like to introduce more places where people can get and share information and awareness around climate change, the environment and other social issues – which isn’t the most glamorous thing I can tell you, but probably the most important.
It’s great to see the Gathering expand further into more diverse corners of alternative music. What drives that desire to keep stretching the boundaries of what “suits” UNIFY?
We just love so much music, and in particular Australian music. Every year we get a bit more confident and comfortable with introducing artists we love to the festival, even if they aren’t the traditional “heavy act”. UNIFY will always be a heavy music gathering, but the boundaries of what that constitutes will continue to evolve, and we will continue to bring in bands we think are awesome. The other cool thing is that I run a record label called Domestic La La with James Tidswell from Violent Soho, and it feels like we have artists from both the UNFD and DLL worlds, which is rad since neither label would exist without our two headliners, respectively.
As the definitive authority on all things UNIFY, what are your top three tips to making the most of the weekend, and three things you can’t forget to pack?
I’m a bit old and I’m probably not going to add much here. I think bring heaps of pairs of warm socks and a system where they stay completely dry so you can keep your feet warm all weekend. And bring a bunch of protein bars to keep you going. I’d also go the medicated mouthwash and water-flosser combo, because people with bad breath at festivals gross me out. Like I said, I’m not the best person for this!
Okay, here’s a hypothetical: five members from bands at UNIFY 2022 become instant best friends and decide to form a supergroup. Who would each member be in your ultimate UNIFY supergroup, and what ‘90s pop-punk classic are they busting out on the tent stage to open UNIFY 2023?
I’d like Mikaila from Yours Truly and Ahren from Amity on vocals and bass. They have two of my favourite voices, and I think they’d sound incredible together. Plini on the guitar just shredding away, Anna from Teen Jesus And The Jean Teasers on guitar and backup vocals, and Sam from Ocean Grove on the drums. The song I’m asking for is ‘The Decline’ by NOFX, which was released late 1999.
UNIFY Gathering 2022
The Amity Affliction
Dream On Dreamer
The Last Martyr
Teen Jesus & The Jean Teasers
+ More to be announced