Festival of the Sun is back in December and promises to be a not to be missed music event. We talk to Scott Mesiti about this year’s lineup.
> Now in its fifth year, FOTSUN 2009 is soon approaching. Tell us about this year’s event.
Yeah, 5 years is a long time. We are stoked with the support we have had … we took an idea and ran with it and we are still standing. This year is our biggest line up by far. We tried to get a mix of artists who will provide something for everyone. I know the big bands will go off, but I can’t wait for people to discover some of the exciting new talent they have not heard of.
We also had to make a pretty big change to the format by making FOTSUN over 18s only. There are a number of factors that brought us to this decision, and we certainly did not make it lightly. The good thing is, we are committed to bringing under 18s more and more awesome events throughout the year.
> So who is in the FOTSUN line up?
Spiderbait, Little Birdy, The Beautiful Girls, Children Collide, Urthboy, Pez, Philadelphia Grand Jury, Bob Log III, The Wilson Pickers, Grant Walmsley & The Agents Of Peace, Bonjah, Red Ink, Chris Pickering, Eliza Ellen, Purple Sneakers DJs + more to be announced …
> FOTSUN is an important part of the event calendar here in Port Macquarie. You have successfully ensured its continuation to 2018, but we hear you be making some changes in order to make it better?
Yes, we had our DA approved until 2018, which is amazing. This gives us some real certainty for our future and will allow us to plan on a much grander scale. By grander, I mean that we can plan long term to ensure our festivals keep offering a better experience each year and continue to attract great artists.
There are a few things about our event that make it special. It’s only 3,000 people, which makes it one of the most intimate settings on the festival circuit; it’s BYO, which makes it a dirt cheap holiday; and the location, Sundowner, is second to none. This is trademark FOTSUN – something we’ll do our very best to protect forever.
> Summer Harvest is the new under 20s event. Why was it important to create a separate event?
Summer Harvest came about for several reasons, but the main one is that this is the first step to giving local youth something to call their own. Sand Events gets to put on shows for over 18s throughout the whole year and we get constant feedback that the under 18s miss out. We wanted to change that, so we created Summer Harvest.
This year it’s indoors, but who knows where this event could end up. These events and ideas need to start somewhere and build a foundation to become something great, where people attending gain ownership and watch it grow. This year Sand Events took on Battle of the Bands for the same reasons. We simply want to be involved.
> So who is in the SH line up?
Little Birdy, Children Collide, Urthboy, Barrel House, Purple Sneakers DJ’s and The Pixiekills who won last month’s Battle of the Bands competition.
> Each year you dig up some great headline artists and also some unknowns and up and comings that otherwise wouldn’t come to Port Macquarie. This is great for our local music culture … why are you so passionate about it, and what are the benefits for our area?
It sounds corny, but I just love music … as with the whole Sand Events team. I have been playing in bands and going to festivals for as long as I can remember. Booking a festival line is not easy, but it’s rewarding. It’s great to see people rocking out to the headliners, but it’s even better to see them getting into bands they are seeing for the first time.
Our local music culture is growing at a rapid rate. We are chatting to local bands all the time and seeing them play as often as we can. We try to be involved with as many music projects as possible.
We do regular gigs for touring bands and get local acts to play with them as often as possible. We also started a label to help local bands develop and have started managing local band Barrel House as our first cab off the rank. On this same label we have also just signed UK band The Boxer Rebellion, who knocked Coldplay off the iTunes charts.
There are lots of good bands appearing and some great people locally who are equally as passionate. I hope within a few years we have a local scene that would rival Byron’s music scene … or at least we can use Byron as a good benchmark.
> Tell us about the benefits of the Festival from a tourism and economic point of view.
We get 70% – 80% of people coming to FOTSUN from out of town. This is great for tourism, as just before Christmas is a very slow period. We get great support from local businesses, who all benefit from having the extra influx of people in town.
Having Triple J, Southern Cross Ten and Focus as our media partners means we can get to a nation wide audience and attract a young vibrant demographic. We are also finding that people are staying much longer when they arrive for the festival … some stay for 4 and 5 days to enjoy all Port has to offer.
> Thank you Scott.
For more info visit www.fotsun.com