Heralding a return to the glory days of largescale music festivals, local boutique music festival, Manifest, is aiming to bring some of that big-day-out magic back to the Perth music scene. Now in its sixth year, we talked with bookings manager, festival mastermind and local music legend Tom Mantle about the event’s success and what we can expect in 2020.
Susannah Wong: What was the story and thinking behind Manifest? How did it come about?
Tom Mantle: Back in my day*old man voice* we had BIG festivals that featured huge touring bands that we could go to. Big Day Out, Soundwave, V Fest etc., etc., etc. The feeling of a whole day of live music is something everyone should experience. Obviously, nowadays we don’t have these fests due to many reasons that would take too long to go into here, but I felt as these festivals all petered out, I wanted to fill that void. Also, these fests featured international touring bands. I wanted to recreate the festival experience on an intimate scale, keep the dream alive but showcase our very own local talent!
SW: What can we expect from this year’s Manifest?
TM: There were two-stage local band festivals before Manifest, but I like to think that Manifest popularised the local multi-stage fests that are now pretty common throughout the year here in Perth. I love that concept – however, ever evolving, I wanted to try something different. So instead of multiple stages I have moved the fest into Lucy’s Love Shack and am running the event from 7PM to 5AM! So, one stage over a longer time and into the AM! I am one of two promoters that have been given the opportunity to book Lucy’s for its whole night of operations and I am over the moon to have such a cool opportunity. Bands will play into the early AM and then the DJs will see out the night (morning) for festival goers who want to kick on large (like me!).
SW: What can we expect from the line-up? Do you have any personal favourites to watch out for?
TM: Headlining this year’s festival is XIII which is a supergroup made up of members of KARNIVOOL and GYROSCOPE, an absolutely killer group! Recently I ran a battle of the bands over at The Baltimore and the winner and runner up of the fest FIGUREHEAD and THE WEDGES join the line-up as part of the prize pool – sick bands and a great addition to the fest. Plus, shoutout to my boys in CRIMEA, the only band I manage directly that I don’t play in. Love those boys. But yeah, the whole line-up is just so tasty!
SW: What does this festival mean to the local music/arts industry?
TM: I started Big Tommo Presents because I often felt there was a lot of bands that didn’t get a red hot crack, I try to represent the greater Perth music community that may not get a look in in certain events, in saying that I can’t book everyone as much as I’d want to. Manifest has managed to last for SIX YEARS which is longer than most big festivals. It’s something special, something that I really believe in and a massive labour of love of mine. For the local music and arts community, it is something that is completely grass roots. We have NO major sponsors and aren’t beholding to anybody. It’s just a little music festival put together by a bloke who froths live music, bands, art and community vibe. I want people to come together and feel the love and joy that only a festival can manifest. (Get it?)
SW: Any funny and/or interesting anecdotes about the 2019 festival?
TM: Well, Gyroscope played as a cheeky surprise last year, that was something. You never know what you’re going to get at Manifest!
SW: Do you have any tips for festivalgoers?
TM: Get in early to make sure you see ALL the bands as they are all SICK, also rock up early to miss the queues. We don’t need to worry about sun cream, being that our festival is inside and at night, but drink plenty of water as it’s a long ass night! Look after each other and spread love.
Manifest 2020 comes to Lucy’s Love Shack on December 11.
Words by Susannah Wong