CW: mention of homophobic language and sexual assault.
I think that there is nothing better for a music lover than festival season.
You’ve got all day music, good (albeit expensive) food and a group of people who are all there for the same reason, to share the experience of listening to music.
I ventured into Origin Fields 2019/20 at the ever-glamourous Wellington Square, camera bag in tow and ready for the day ahead. I was met by many others who were also making the fateful pilgrimage to the hallowed site, travelling on foot, rideshare, party bus or regular bus.
Making my way through the dart smoke and a flurry of leopard print, I couldn’t tell if was moving back a decade in fashion or had found myself in the midst of a wildlife documentary. I still shuddered at seeing the brave women of titty-twenty sitting on the ground wearing the ever-persistent trend of crotchless pants. You go, girls.
Already with a mouthful of dust, my eyes met a small baggie on the ground just outside and I mentally saluted the brave adventurer who had the bravery to take their drugs right outside the Red Frogs tent.
For two days I ventured around the grounds of Origin treading down a boulevard of broken sunglasses, with tampons covertly hidden in Smirnoff premix cans and used condoms.
The first act I saw were Rich Valentine, a local hip hop group who over this past year or so have been making Tsunami waves in the scene. They were nothing short of fantastic and I can’t wait for more people to see these boys.
Other musical highlights of the festival included Shoreline Mafia, YBN Cordae, Ella Mai, IAMDDB, Blackbear, Mallrat, The Veronicas, Hobo Johnson and Cub Sport.
Special mention of course goes to local acts Sushi x Vaunn, winners of the Origin Performers competition, who delivered a really stellar set, the crowd was beyond supportive and it was incredible to see.
And then of course we had Tyler.
His control of a practically bare stage with simple lighting and costuming was beyond outstanding. A festival highlight for sure and massive shout out for getting him over here, especially seeing as he was banned from the country not all that long ago.
But here’s an idea.
If you’re going to go see a festival where Tyler, the Creator is performing, don’t yell out homophobic slurs while he’s playing.
When I was debriefing with a fellow photographer on his experiences of Tyler’s set, he simply said to me, “this crowd didn’t deserve him…. I heard people calling him a f****t for not playing his old stuff”.
I’ve done photography at a few festivals now, and every year I keep seeing and hearing the same thing. With a few tragedies happening in the last 20 years or so, I think organisers have some idea of what they can do from an organisational and security standpoint to improve this. But it takes two to make a good festival.
I think the bottom line is that it just isn’t fair for people who want to have a good time. I would hope that no one goes out of their way to make other people uncomfortable at a gig. I get it, when you’re intoxicated and riding on the tsunami of a good time it can be hard to be one hundred percent aware of yourself. However, it doesn’t take much to check in with yourself and with other people.
People come to shows for different reasons and funnily enough one of those reasons but just be to have a good and exciting time. And I can bet no one goes to a festival to hear unacceptable slurs.
Don’t yell at an artist to “show us ya dick”.
Don’t get angry at me when I politely say I can’t take your photo with my camera.
Don’t grope me over the barrier when I’m doing my job.
Don’t push and shove people so they get hurt.
Don’t persistently harass an artist for a photo when they’re trying to hang out and listen to an act side of stage.
Festivals are meant to be a fun and safe time for music. Not for making people uncomfortable and ruining someone’s day. For the remaining summer of gigs and festivals, please just check yourself before you wreck a lot more than yourself. And your mates for that matter, too.
Words and Photography by Sophie Minissale