Future Music Festival @ Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne (11/03/07)

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Melbourne is renowned for being Australia’s big event city – from the Grand Prix to the Grand Final to the International Comedy Festival it’s clear that when Melbourne does something it really does it well. Musically, 2007 heralded the entry of yet another Big Melbourne Event – Future Music Festival. Born out of the ashes of the annual Two Tribes bash this festival promised to be one hell of a finish to the Victorian summer party season. I’d never been to a Two Tribes event as the thought of spending a night in the confines of the tennis centre left me cold – I had heard reports of the side rooms being merely corridors of the cavernous Rod Laver and Vodafone arenas and of there being a decided lack of atmosphere due to the unsuitability of the venue. Therefore I was extremely pleased to see that Future Music Festival was to be held at the Sydney Myer Music Bowl – Melbourne’s premier outdoor music venue. Already used for the phenomenally successful Summadayze party this inner city auditorium seemed like just the place to host an end of summer show down.

I arrived at the venue at around 2pm, there were expansive queues snaking their way around the outskirts of the bowl and I was told that this was due to an ‘incident’ inside the venue – later I found out that this was the stabbing incident that was so widely reported in the press. I, for one, saw no trouble at all during the day but I can’t help thinking that for these big events there should be a mandatory pat down for weapons when you enter the venue. Knives have no place at dance music events.

After a 10 minute wait in the queue I grabbed a timetable for the day and began to formulate my plan of attack. First up was DJ Falcon on the Mischief stage – a reasonable crowd had already built up and were grooving along to a wide variety of sounds from the French DJ. He was using Abelton to full effect as he teased the crowd with loops, vocal samples and very long mixes. It was a set big on big tunes with Falcon’s own ‘So Much Love To Give’ being amongst the highlights. I really enjoyed the set but it was ruined somewhat by Falcon pushing the system too hard – the sound really distorted as a result and this was only remedied towards the end of his set.

Over to the Global Underground stage which promised sets from the likes of Nick Warren, Fedde Le Grande and Sander Van Doorn. I checked out another French DJ – Joachim Garraud. The dancefloor was absolutely packed at a very sunny 3pm but I withstood the crush for 30 mins to dance to Garraud. He was excellent – nothing special tune wise, lots of crowd favourites. But he was a real wizard on the CDJs and he also had a party trick in the form of a keyboard which he played along, in perfect time, to tunes such as Mason’s Exceeder. A nice touch and something to gee up the crowd. I left the throbbing mass as Azzido Da Bass’ ‘Doom’s Night’ started ominously blaring out of the speakers.

Sydney Myer Music Bowl is of course mainly about THAT main stage. When you see 20,000 people on the hill in front of it with everyone going off it really is a sight to behold and I was glad to see the production was as good as you would expect from an event of this size and promoted by Future. The giant inflatable garden gnome was a highlight of the spectacle! I arrived at the main stage to catch the tailend of Tom Novy who appeared to have warmed the hordes up well. Next up was Felix Da Housecat and he soon unleashed a barrage of abrasive electro house onto the sunkissed thousands. I was intending to spend a while at the main stage later so I decided to check out Ian Carey at the Famous Stage.

Ian Carey is a prolific house producer who has had massive club hits like ‘Say What You Want’ and his remixes of tunes have graced dancefloors across the world. His sound is heavily influenced by the ‘Swedish Mafia’ and I was very much looking forward to seeing him for the first time. He played to an enthusiastic, young and stylish crowd (although maybe a bit too much Stevie clothing guys?) and by the end of his 90 mins had them in rapture. It was a good solid electro house set but nothing to blow you away – highlights were him dropping Pryda ‘Remember’ and the Eric Pryz remix of ‘Proper Education’. In this age of minimal, dark music this was a feelgood set that was perfect for its environment.

Over to the Mischief stage next to catch a bit of Infusion – they were good but the sound system wasn’t loud enough to really carry their sound effectively.

Back to the main stage where my most anticipated DJ of the day was about to start, Carl Cox. If there is one DJ that can rise to the challenge of playing music to rock 20,000 it is Cox. The ultimate party performer, the ultimate creator of atmosphere. You could feel the stage presence of the man all the way back at the top of the hill. His set was more serious that I was expecting and I think it lost some of the house focused One Love crowd that were gathered on the hill. But in the main, the crowd lapped it up and grooved along to some seriously nasty basslines and techno riffs. Cox did his usual thing of encouraging the crowd by getting on the mike and shouting ‘Come on Melbourne’ and such like. For some reason, he gets away with this – his infectious enthusiasm shines through and you can’t help but get swept along.

It was now 8pm and the sun had disappeared – Ferry Corsten was due to finish the main stage but before seeing him I decided to have another wander and I checked out 30 mins each of Xpress 2 and Nick Warren. Both were excellent, in fact Nick Warren played probably the best music I heard all day but with festivals this big and with this many Djs it’s impossible to see everyone you want for the entirety of their sets.

I headed back to the main stage for the final hour to catch Ferry Corsten. I used to be a massive trance head but have fallen out of love with the music recently and have only bought 2 trance tunes in the past 8 months. I was slightly trepidatious about seeing Ferry and wondered if he could rekindle my love of the genre. The front of the main stage had been rammed all day and as a result there was a lengthy and crushed wait to get down into the thick of it. The security were wisely holding people back to prevent people at the front and centre being crushed. However, by 9pm some people had left the venue so the security liberalised their policy and as a result I got right down to the business end of the bowl – the sound system down there really is amazing – crystal clear and very very loud! Ferry was on stage banging out some excellent trance, I absolutely loved his set and it was just what was required to finish off an event like this. Highlights of the set were when he played Out Of The Blue (ah, the memories!), A Life Less Ordinary and the encore of Rock Your Body Rock. He had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand and it was such an energetic and euphoric way to end the day. Needless to say, I don’t think I’m fully over trance just yet! The crowd showed their appreciation as the cheered wildly but sadly it was time to finish…

There were lots of acts at the event that I didn’t see that I would have liked to – Sander Van Doorn, Josh Wink and Sebastian Leger to name but three. But reports from friends and ITM users indicate that all acts rocked the place – I’ve never seen such unanimous praise for music at an event of this size before.

The inaugural Future Music Festival really was a fantastic event – the crowd were friendly, up for it and energetic, the organisation was excellent, the music was fabulous and mother nature also played her part by providing sunshine in abundance. I hope that this is the first of many to be held at the Bowl because this event has the real potential to rival, if not surpass, Summadayze as Melbourne’s premier dance event. The best dance music party I have been to in Australia thus far – well done to all concerned!


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Comment Added

lozajr said on the 26th Mar, 2007

Cheers to that, all my friends and I, some of which don't usually like the music played on the day, had the time of thier lives. But I think that I'll have to wait till next year after both Summadayze and Future '08 to make a decision on which is better,


EeGee said on the 27th Dec, 2007

FMF was my favourite festival of 07 for sure. Amazing talent and tunes. No hassles. Up for it crowd. 10/10!