Thank you everyone so much for another beautiful edition of Earth Frequency !
EFF2017 was the 12th edition of the festival, and from our viewpoint, we feel it was the most fully articulated version of the vision we have been developing for a number of years, and the arrival point for Earth Frequency in to it’s new format as a transformational festival focused on creativity, self-expression, personal development, community building, sustainability, peace and love.
It truly is an honour to be able to deliver such an experience once a year, and it would not be possible without the support of many many people, from all the staff and volunteers, to the artists and vendors, to the party people who buy tickets to support. THANK YOU !
This post-event report is our formal wrap up of EFF2017, to provide some insight in to the successes, challenges and outcomes of the festival this year.
Production and Creative Program
There has been a lot of positive feedback on the production and creative program of the festival this year, and we think it’s been our best one to date. 4 fully produced stages, 30 international acts, 3 interstate acts, 3 workshop spaces, the family realm, a buzzing and vibrant markets area .. the picture felt very complete and established a template we are happy to continue with in future years.
The biggest topic from 2016 after some difficult local area feedback and a problematic methodology for monitoring sound was of course the sound levels, and we were very glad to have this issue resolved for this year with suitable volume levels across the event and a lot of positive feedback for the production. Thank you to everyone for your faith and understanding through this process. We were also happy to receive a very positive response to the operating times and although it is a big change to now close the big stages at midnight, this year definitely felt smoother with a wide range of low-key after-hours entertainment options, and overall the vibe of the event felt a lot more happy, healthy and connected with a higher level of synchronising everyone’s festival experience.
Highlights of this year's festival included the Desert Dwellers: Beyond show, with 20 Australian performers collaborating for a massive stage show spectacular, the Beardyman + JFB + Hugo the Poet improv set was massively entertaining, standout sets by Ace Ventura, Opiuo, The Herd, Nobody Home aka Minilogue and many others kept the positive vibes flowing. It was also very special to have our first kids parade and presentation at the welcoming ceremony, so big thanks to the Family Realm team for that contribution to the festival this year.
Perhaps the best aspect of this year’s festival was the sense that after a few years of trialling different approaches, we have now struck the right balance between local area sensitivities and the production values required for the festival experience, and the sense that we are exiting out of the negotiation phase and will have some sustainable parameters to work with in future.
A new and welcome addition to Earth Frequency this year was our collaboration with Grounded to create a week long permaculture retreat. Ivory’s Rock is a unique venue, not just for it’s amazing facilities and sustainability values, but it also has an organic farm on site which sells produce to the local community as Peak Organics. Over the past 6 months, Rupert Faust from Grounded negotiated with the farm and the venue and we were very happy to have a group of 10 people digging in for a week for some learning and action around the topic of permaculture, leaving a positive imprint on the venue and the minds of those attending.
This will be part of the direction of the festival in future and we will be exploring possibilities for other learning retreats in the days leading up to the festival so keep your ears open for more news on this in future.
Attendance and Finances
For the first time in 12 years, attendance to the festival dropped and this has caused some challenging outcomes. In total, we had approximately 2100 tickets sold, 2100 staff/crew/stalls/artists/volunteers/industries, and 200 youth tickets. While the total numbers on site were similar to last year - 4400 in total, there was a significant drop in festival ticket sales. When reflecting on this, we believe this is caused partially by the concerns around noise levels from 2016 which have been fully addressed, some external factors in the changing ecosystem of music festivals in Australia, and the heatwave in the days leading up to the festival.
The outcome is difficult but not dire. A number of contingencies had been put in place before the festival, and a number of strategies are being put in place to help the festival land gracefully so we can return in full strength in 2018. The most important one being a crowd funding campaign that has been set up which provides an opportunity for the Earth Frequency community to show it’s support and help us return in 2018. This is the first time in 12 years of publicly asking for help, and it is not something we take lightly, but after discussing the outcome of this year’s festival with a number of people, there was strong support for this, and so we hand it over to you, our awesome and supportive community, so show your support in whatever way you can. https://www.gofundme.com/supportearthfrequency
Overall we believe the future is bright and that the outcome this year is mostly related to blow back from some issues experienced last year, and that with another very positive edition of the festival completed, there will only be positive outcomes in 2018.
Local Community VIP Party
Earth Frequency once again invited over 40 local community leaders and key local residents to the festival to attend the welcoming ceremony. The festival was attended by the Mayor of Ipswich Paul Pisasale, the Mayor of Scenic Rim Greg Christensen, councillors Charlie Pisasale, Duncan McInnes, David Pahlke, and many other local community members. The festival was well received and future support for Earth Frequency was consolidated.
Local Charity Outcomes
Earth Frequency Festival once again provided a significant boost to the local economy of the Ipswich and Peak Crossing regions, with over 4000 visitors attending the festival and supporting local businesses. Furthermore, we continued with our commitment to supporting local charities with the following outcomes:
- Harrisville Lions Club raised $9200 from the sale of eski ice.
- The Fassifern Bombers raised approximately $4300 from their food stall.
- Through donations from the ticket sales portal by the EFF audience, $3430 was raised for the tree planting and wildlife care of Ivory’s Rock neighbouring property owned by Queensland Trust For Nature.
- The Flinder’s Peak Rural Fire Brigade raised over $7000.
- A new community group participant was Purga Friends who trialled a shuttle bus service from the more remote Red Camp. They covered costs and raised $670.
- Earth Frequency plans to continue with it’s community grant scheme and based on ticket sales amounts this year, the 1% contribution will be $5650.
Total direct fundraising outcomes for local community groups has once again been in excess of $30,000.
Medical and Safety
First Aid Treatment stats were up from 2016 however mostly with low level and heat related issues which is understandable considering the high temperature on the Saturday. Our medical team performed an excellent service and overall we feel that our audience behaved in a safe and healthy way, There was a very small number of substance related / overdose incidents which we are happy with overall, but we continue to urge our audience to be fully educated on harm minimisation topics, avoid unnecessary risks, party responsibly and care for each other.
One of the hot topics during the festival was the on site police presence, specifically during the day times. This is a complex issue, and so Earth Frequency management has written a response to the onsite police operation conducted by Tactical Crime Squad: https://www.earthfrequency.com.au/earth_frequency_director_responds_eff2...
Aside from the onsite operation, the usual road operation took place before, during and after the festival and overall we are pleased with the low statistics, but it is disappointing to still see 22 drug drivers charged over the course of the festival, considering that the Blow Me First self-testing service was available.
The Earth Frequency team are once again reaching out for feedback from our audience, if you have some positive or negative feedback to share about this year’s police presence at Earth Frequency, please email feedback [at] earthfrequency.com.au as we will consider all feedback in our future planning.
Local Area Issues
Overall we had a pleasing result from the festival this year with minimal impact on the local area, and a suitable balance of festival production and local area amenity being achieved, which we believe will now be sustainable in to the future. The most concerning incidents once again are from inconsiderate individuals sneaking in to the festival who park illegally, and in some cases, trespass through neighbouring properties and cause property damage. This is very selfish and inconsiderate behaviour and it degrades all the work we do establishing positive local area relations. Our feedback to council and police for next year is that additional police resources are required to support the local community outside the festival and support the perimeter of the festival.
Earth Frequency Future Direction
EFF2017 felt like a true coalescence of many years of work that has been put in to shaping Earth Frequency as a musically diverse, transformational festival that occupies a unique niche in the Australian festival ecology. It’s no easy feat to harmoniously weave such a diverse set of strands together in a meaningful and real way, from healthy living and sustainability, to varied electronic music genres, from young party people to families, and to mix our transient festival community with an established local community in a venue we hope to occupy for years to come. However this year it felt very much like this is all possible and happening right now.
EFF2017 for the most part succeeded on all fronts, and we’ve had positive feedback from newcomers and long time supporters alike. Beyond that, we feel that after some years of trialling, experimentation and negotiation, that a viable template has been created which can be relied on for years to come. This is all very exciting and the outlook is optimistic for the future.
At a time where there is a lot of interest, discussion and scrutiny over outdoor music festivals around Australia, it is a significant achievement to have won the support of the local community, council and politicians and the local media. Whatever the short term issues may be in the wake of EFF2017, the resounding message post-EFF2017 is a YES and we will return in 2018.
We can’t wait to share another epic edition of the festival with you, and until then, stay connected to the incredible energy that we create when we gather together, and keep putting that out in to the world in your daily life.
Thanks and love,
Paul Abad - Earth Frequency Festival Director.